Artist of the day: Dom Kennedy

Raised in the inner city of Los Angeles, Dom Kennedy has done a rare thing: in less than a decade he’s built a strong independent career. After a handful of successful mix tapes and world tours, Interscope Records attempted to sign him in 2013 but he chose to remain independent.

This summer he released his 3rd full studio album, By Dom Kennedy.

Artist of the day: Casey Veggies

From Inglewood, California, Casey Veggies released his first mix tape when he was 14. Before graduating high school he was already collaborating with YG (Def Jam) and founded his own company, Peas and Carrots Intl.

His debut album, Live & Grow, is scheduled for release this September.

Artist of the day: Dead Sara

Apologies for the Vevo link with ads.

Dead Sara is fronted by two talented young women, singer Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley. The band is an electrifying four-piece whose supercharged music is propelled by Medley’s exhilarating, monster guitar riffs and Armstrong’s powerful, wailing vocals.

Their latest album, Pleasure To Meet You, released earlier this year to rave reviews by die-hard rock fans.

Artist of the day: Kevin Lavitt

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Kevin Lavitt has just released a new video for his track “The Deep End” off his recent EP, Planets. You might remember reading our rave review of Planets and it’s Sun Ra-esque ambiance. We also did a fun interview with Kevin earlier this year.

He creates these dream-like sonic realms with his productions. And this video for “The Deep End” is just as gorgeous.

Artist of the day: Autumn In June

Based in South Central LA, Autumn In June first appeared on the scene in late 2014. He flows between indie-pop, hip-hop, disco, and electronica throughout his music. His latest single, “HEROin KIDZ”, features rich melodies, hip-hop beats and raw, meaningful lyrics that shine a light on some of life’s darkest realities.

Artist of the day: Namie Amuro

Namie Amuro is one of the longest surviving pop female acts in Japan. She’s been hard at work for over 2 decades, surviving the ups and downs of popularity. Earlier this year she released her 12th studio album, Genic, after leaving the management agency that’s been representing her for 22 years.

This fall she embarks on a Namie Amuro Livegenic 2015-2016 Tour to promote the album.

Interview: Tasman Jude

Tasman Jude band photoI don’t remember how Tasman Jude hit my radar. I think Christine had sent me a video of theirs to check out, which led me to doing more research on them.

They’re a reggae outfit from the plains of Canada. Despite their place of origin, they quickly grew into a world-touring band. Their first album, Green, debuted at #1 on the iTunes reggae charts, and they’re about to release their second album, Gold.

I caught up with founder Caleb Hart for a quick interview.

Nick: You guys are from the plains of Alberta, Canada. What drew you to make reggae music?

Caleb: Although the band started in Grande Prairie, I grew up in Tobago, an Island in the Caribbean. So Reggae has always heavily influenced me. It’s been my favourite genre since I was a little boy.

N: You guys tour extensively. How do you cope? What’s your best strategy for staying sane on the road?

C: Our best strategy is probably to be honest with each other. The less hidden frustrations, the better. Over 400 shows in less than 2.5 years isn’t easy but when we get up on stage and play for the fam, that share in the love we have… There is no greater joy.

N: You talk about your fans being like family. Can you describe what you mean?

C: The term ‘fans’ is short for the word ‘fanatics’… There is no way to fill a gas tank with the excitement of a fanatic. However, family is there for you through thick and thin. We have been through a lot in our short time as a band, and from day one, our supporters have been right there with us. Family is harder to break; more difficult to negatively persuade. Our transparency to the people that support us and their honest love for us is what keeps us going.

N: Your debut album, Green, opened at #1 on the iTunes reggae charts, which is very impressive. It was designed as part of a trilogy that highlights three sides of reggae and island music. Can you talk more about this? What does the Green album highlight?

C: The album debuting #1 was an incredible accomplishment. Never would I have dreamed that an album I co-wrote and co-produced would pass the likes of Bob Marley’s ‘Legend‘ album. Green was always intended to be a grass-roots type of album that would incorporate our most authentic and stripped back sound. It stays true to the origins of Reggae, both in topics and sound.

N: On the same topic, what does Gold highlight? What can we expect from your upcoming record?

C: Gold is set to be released this fall (autumn) and will add other Island styles to our sound. The entire point of the trilogy is to express ourselves as individuals and a band – Not being limited to one sound, while not losing focus on the reason that the family has fallen in love with us. Our single “Palm Trees” is a taste to get the family ready for an album that will take them to the Beach.

N: What’s your favorite song from the 1960s or 1970s?

C: I’d have to be a beautiful cliché and say Bob Marley – “No Woman No Cry”

Artist of the day: K.Flay

Anyone who reads this blog knows that we are huge fans of K.Flay. We first discovered her when making playlists years ago for one of the various incarnations of the vt. She was doing underground stuff then, playing in basements and dive bars and spitting this incredible lyric flow.

Then she signed with a major label and produced an incredible wealth of songs — “We Hate Everyone” was a standout, especially with its killer music video.

Then she split with her label and starting making music on her own. She’s got a solid touring operation already in place, and she puts on a mean live show. Earlier this year she released a new album of post-hip-hop indie electronica rock, pushing into new sonic territory that suits her well.

“Can’t Sleep” comes from her new album, Life As A Dog.