Sounds Under Radio

A Rock Band Masquerading As An Unsigned Indie

Sounds Under Radio

'I don't know who these Sounds Under Radio folk are trying to fool, but that is a big-time rock 'n' roll band masquerading as some unsigned indie-emo whatsits' ~Entertainment Weekly

I first heard this band months back after a random late night viewing of the CW show, The Vampire Diaries...needless to say this Austin-based Britrock-esque trio had me hooked from the first listen.

Members of Sounds Under Radio, Lang Freeman, Bradley Oliver, Sonny Sanchez and Doug Wilson, first hooked up as a band back in 2005.

Three years later, following complicated label politics at Epic Records (cause it happens), the band regained their independence and self-released their debut album Cinematica, followed by two long years of heavy 'playing everywhere and anywhere we can' national touring in support of the release.

In the last few years the band has also found a great string of successes in film and TV with music features in Spider Man 3 (Sony Pictures), The Wolfman (Universal Pictures), and most recently in the CW's "The Vampire Diaries". The band also just wrapped up a string of national tour dates this past fall in support of The Vampire Diaries Original Soundtrack.

So bottom line this latest buzz band has been getting a lot of attention and that's only going to get even bigger since their single 'Sing' [from their upcoming album 'Where My Communist Heart Meets My Capitalist Mind' (out on May 3rd)] will be featured on promos for that little show called American Idol.

Just as their album title implies, this record hinges on politics but not the one consumed with domestic and international affairs. This is a record about the constant war between the mind and the heart in that thing called 'human relationships'...complicated as they always seem to be.

Their single 'Sing' is brilliant as it is catchy, memorable and beautiful.  And I admit that I've had on repeat a lot. Like a lot, a lot. I'm OK with a full out admission that 'Sing' has become my latest musical obsession. 

The boys from Sounds Under Radio, totally channel their inner Coldplay/Travis/Keane/Muse vibe on the song and that makes me love it that much more. Do I dare say it's on it's way to being up there with my all time favourite song, The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony'? It just might well be. At the moment it's most definitely on my 'stranded on an island and I have to listen these songs over and over again' playlist.

The video for 'Sing' (directed by Jeff Ray) is equally as fab - showing us that despite all the uncertainty in the world as of late, there is still beauty all around us...or as the band describes it, "[It's] a way of showing that even though humanity has scarred the world and witnessed atrocities, there is still beauty all around us flourishing in nature and within our hearts. This song is a plea for everyone to love the music within ourselves and be a part of the beauty that makes our world.”

If you love that whole Brit sound/vibe then get to know 'Sounds Under Radio'...love them you will. I promise. I'm hooked. Totally and completely.

Follow Sounds Under Radio on Twitter: @SURtweet


Dancing Kites

Women Giving Back

Dancing Kites

In 2009 a group of women on various life or career paths, most grandmothers, but not all, discussed the possibility of doing something unusual to raise a lot of money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

They were all members of the Grammas to Ambuyas ‘grandmother’ group in Ottawa, one of over 240 grandmothers to grandmothers groups across Canada. The group supports grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa at the grass roots level. African grandmothers are facing the task of raising and caring for grandchildren orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Not content with baking cookies, holding garage sales, or other tried and true methods of fundraising, they decided to take on something bigger - something much bigger than they had ever done before. And so began the adventure of making a children’s CD.

Two years and hundreds of e-mails later the Grammas to Ambuyas finally rounded the huge learning curve on the road that lead them to making “Dancing Kites”, a compilation CD of Canadian children’s music.

Seventeen well known Canadian children’s artists, including some talented newcomers were approached, and they all donated their songs royalty free to help the Grammas to Ambuyas make the CD...“This was an amazing show of generosity that we are all tremendously grateful for...", said Glynis Doorbar the CD Coordinator.

Even use of the CDs cover artwork was donated by a well known Yukon artist, Ted Harrison.

Many hours were spent listening to over 25 CDs sent from the various artists. Members in the group are well experienced on what kind of music children might like. There are teachers, school principles, mothers and grandmothers, musicians, actors and homemakers. Finally, back in September 2010, during an after work pizza supper, the Grammas to Ambuyas picked out a good balance between fun and familiar, active and lively, and quiet reflective songs.

Performing Artists on the CD are: Marnie Grey; Razzmatazz; Chris McKhool; Jack Grunsky; The Funky Mamas; Judy & David; JC Sulzenko; Charlotte Diamond; Chris Patterson; Raffi; Norman Foote; Maggie ‘G’; Valdy; The Kerplunks; Splash ‘N Boots; H’Sao and Suzanne Campagne; and Connie Kaldor.

The Dancing Kites CD is available by mail or download until November 2011.
In Ottawa, you can purchase the CD by contacting Ian Boyd at Compact Music in the Glebe.

Proceeds from the CD go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation which helps out with food,housing, education/schooling, medicines and grief counselling. 


Fitz and The Tantrums

Proof That There's Hope For Good Music

Fitz and The Tantrums

“Sometimes, the Music Gods just give it to you" ~Fitz

You know those songs that are so infectious that they instantly make you want to dance no matter where you are? (And cue me in the egg/yogurt/cheese aisle at Loblaws last week when this band came on over the speakers...yeah I was so close to starting a flash mob of spontaneous dancing but I digress).

Fitz and The Tantrums is bringing the soul back to music...and it's so so good. Fitz and the Tantrums makes you believe there really is hope for music after all.

The L.A band, headed up by Michael Fitzpatrick, is a throwback to music of times gone by and their distinctive exploding soulful-rhythm-pop sounds will get you moving (think old Motown records, American Bandstand and dancehalls)...and their live performances are getting rave review after rave review.

In just a year or so, soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums went from the living room to the main stage. The recipe for meteoric success? Six killer musicians, five dapper suits, irresistible songs, some serendipity, one vintage organ.

Yes the vintage organ...that's where the inspiration all began. “I got a call from my ex-girlfriend,” Fitz explains, “And she said, ‘My neighbour is moving out in a hurry and has to sell everything. And, he has this organ…” Fitz describes the find like the discovery of a compass, or that treasure map in Goonies, which undoubtedly leads to adventure. Not one to say no, Fitz called some piano movers, cashed in some favors, and seven hours later, the organ went from the curb to his living room. That night, Fitz stationed himself in front of that vintage instrument and wrote his first soul inspired track.

The first introduction to the band was the killer five song EP (2009), Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1. For Fitz the release of that album was all about finally finding his voice and being true to himself. “I’ve always been a singer,” Fitz says, “but with so much music, I felt that I was trying to push a square peg through a round hole. I was being not true to myself, and it never felt right until I wrote that song, and I sang like that. I thought, this feels so real, so natural.” The sound was a burst of swingers and floor-stompers, mixed with a dose of energy of those long forgotten songs.

The song that first made heads turn was the track “Breaking the Chains of Love" - the vibe of the song had a familiar sound but it was entirely unique at the same time.

It's that sound that grabbed the attention of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Levine was getting a tattoo in New York when the tattoo artist told him he had to hear this new band he had discovered. After that one encounter, Levine personally invited Fitz and the Tantrums to join their tour.

The new single by Fitz and the Tantrums is 'Moneygrabber' off their new album Pickin' Up The Pieces (now on iTunes)...

Catch Fitz and The Tantrums later this evening on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Follow Fitz and the Tantrums on Twitter: @FitzAndTantrums