It's raining in New York. It's cold. I'm wearing a cardigan, and downing a Pumpkin Creme Brulee latte from Dunkin' Donuts. Autumn can be beautiful, but it's not today. That's why I chose these two specific bands for today's A-Sides post. Vacationer not only has a sunny band name, but their music instantly can brighten the darkest day and make you visualize downing a drink with a tiny umbrella by a Caribbean pool bar. Scars on 45 don't produce as sunny sounds, but their deeply felt musicianship and lyrics serve as sort of an umbrella when you're looking California, but feeling Minnesota. Let's dive in with a double dose of each band below.
Vacationer is an American Nu-Hula band based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, NY, composed of Kenny Vasoli, Matthew Young, Ryan Zimmaro, Michael Mullin and Greg Altman. But again, their sounds seem to destined for sunsets. Their recent release Relief took off like a hot-air balloon during high wind advisories last summer, and their feel great lead single "The Wild Life" scored considerable alt-rock station play and rightfully so. Like so much of their music, it merges a bunch of genres into a blender and gets better results than the Sneaky Chef.
Vacationer have been on the road in support of their new album for months, and have played with St. Lucia (mmmm...St. Lucia), and are also headlining shows. You should really see them to celebrate all they bring to the table. Earlier this month, Vasoli sat down for an interview filmed by Yale Goodman exclusively for A-Sides at The Liberty NYC. A day later, he and his band performed two tracks at The Studio at Webster Hall which were captured by Goodman for this guy (I'm pointing to myself. Oh wait, I'm typing.) Watch it unfold below, and enjoy the vacation from rain, pumpkin spices and depressing fall weather (on the East Coast anyway).
"The Wild Side"
British alt-rock band Scars on 45 have been doing their thing since 2007, and the chemistry just illuminates when you see them perform. At the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains earlier this month, the band performed two tracks and sat down for a chat, and the rapport between the members was so obvious during the performance and the interview. Formed in Bradford, Yorkshire, the band (singer/songwriter Danny Bemrose, keyboardist David Nowakowski, vocalist Aimee Driver and drummer Chris Durling) released their self-titled debut in 2012 to a boatload of fanfare. They played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and were chosen as a VH1 You Oughta Know Artist. That's all well and good, but for my money -- and mind you I have very little -- it's their sophomore album, Safety In Numbers, that truly sets them apart from so many artists attempting to do what they do. In any event, watch a pair of tracks below and the interview. And, I'll add this: Madonna's classic "Crazy for You" is now my second favorite song with that title. Boom.
"Crazy for You"
The "8:59" Interview
A-Sides' Sing Away Cancer Challenge is asking musicians and all walks of life to create a short video of themselves singing any popular song's chorus but with anti-cancer and/or cure-geared inspiring lyrics. All I ask is for you to donate to a cancer-related charity of your choice, tag your video "#singawaycancer" and denote on your donation somewhere "sing away cancer." It's so important to know if this would-be viral campaign will work, and it's so not important if you can carry a tune or not. There are so many worth causes to donate to.
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Courtney Love, Air Supply, Birdy, Sleigh Bells, Aretha Franklin, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Echosmith, Charli XCX, Pharrell Williams, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr. and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.