Tag Archives: new music


Ryan Star put out a new EP on August 5th, 2013 as you know from my last post here. I made it to NYC to see 2 of 4 shows (phenomenal) that he put on over a four night span at some great venues (Joe’s Pub, Rockwood, Pianos & Mercury Lounge). Here is my unconventional way of summarizing my thoughts on Animals:

A – Anomalous is what this ep is to fans who only know 11:59, this deviation from what they likely expected as follow-up hopefully gives them a face-palm as they pledge their allegiance to the rstar army. The smack right in the head isn’t because they prefer 11:59 over Animals, it’s because they knew Ryan had passion and they knew Ryan had talent, the ‘doh’ moment is because they now hear it on a new level and feel it in their gut they way those of us feel it who had been on the rstar train a nano-second or a decade pre-11:59. Welcome aboard.
N – Nostalgia is the vibe that the new rstar ep has – all while being current and honest and so very real.
I – Intensity is what Ryan brings to every damn live show I’ve seen. It builds and builds and explodes, the shows, the songs (give bullet a listen) and then spooges all over the audience and they squeal with delight.
M – Marketable is what we long-haul rstar/stage fans don’t give a fucking shit about and glad that Ryan is on the path that reads ‘here I am love me or fuck off’ and if there was an E in animal I’d use the words enlightenment or epiphany. He didn’t need them, nor did we fans, but in some ways the world needs them because to see real artistry we need to see truth, the stark shaven head of it all which isn’t always pretty, but almost always beautiful.
A – Authenticity in who we are and what we give to the world means more than pleasing the masses. It’s hard as a people-pleaser myself to not get caught up in what everyone else wants from you, the struggle to remain steadfast (mostly to yourself) when you are pulled in every direction. I feel that steadfast authenticity in Animals, especially in f*ck’n up & my life with you.
L – and on a Light-hearted note – everyone should LIKE this post, Beat & Lyric on Facebook and of course Ryan Star. Just do it now.
S – Seat – in a recent interview Ryan talks of not enough seats at the party. You feel the on-edge, the I’m right here, let me come in vibe he speaks of with everything he’s done to date. Who the hell wants a seat at a party anyways? Keep moving, touch everything and everyone (in a non-creepy way of course) and put yourself out there. Seats are for subway rides and road-trips, not parties and Ryan I’d save you seat on my train and/or in my car – I’d even give you shotgun as long as you promised to keep making the music you want to make.

Not a conventional review of new music, but for me it’s real.



Animals EP by Ryan Star on iTunes – get it now https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/animals-ep/id677958252



What kind of fan would I be…..


If I didn’t blog the release of Ryan Star’s new music? The Animals EP is set to release on August 5, 2013. Pre-order available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/animals-ep/id677958252

I’ve been slacking on blogging and I apologize.

Ryan uploaded what I gather will be the next single “Impossible” to YouTube for a full listen click below!

And a Billboard article to boot! http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/4439958/ryan-star-impossible-exclusive-single-premiere

So here we go again – new music, new hair do (or lack there of on Ryan’s part) and a new trip to NYC in August for the ‘release shows’. Unfortunately this time around Betty can’t attend. An RStar virgin is in for a treat – she’s going to have to bite the ‘bullet’ and enter a ‘world I used to know’ and hope that I am not ‘f*ckn up’ the train schedule to get is in the city on time for the shows, those schedules are ‘impossible’ to decipher and clearly ‘my life with you’ blog readers is important so I promise to blog more.

Enough with the CHEESE….now go listen and pre-order….and if you are going to Joe’s Pub or the Rockwood please introduce yourself. I’m Lila and my sidekick this time will be a tall blonde.


Hump Day Six!!!!

What better day than a hump day for sharing music!!!!!!!!!! I will not post the humpdee song, Betty would but I draw the line, in the sand, and on the pavement. My Shazam is full of tags and I narrowed it down to ones that a current, 2012 and newer because pre-2012 aren’t really finds are they? Six is a good number, so here they are….

1) Kitten – an LA band http://www.kittentheband.com/music with ‘Cut it Out’

2) The Neighbourhood – another California Band http://thenbhd.com/letitgo/ (sidenote: I love that they have a ‘u’ in their name) with ‘Female Robbery’ – also check out ‘Sweater Weather’ and ‘Let it Go’

3) Robert DeLong – the one-man electro band from LA with ‘Global Concepts’ http://robertdelong.com/ from his appearance on Letterman.

4) Paramore – http://www.paramore.net/ with ‘Now’, don’t judge me, I like it.

5) Imagine Dragons – http://www.imaginedragonsmusic.com/default.aspx#!news Las Vegas based and catchy as hell, again don’t judge me! with ‘Radioactive’

6) The Lighthouse & The Whaler – http://thelighthouseandthewhaler.com/ and Ohio melodic folk band with ‘Venice’

And there are six songs for you to give a listen. Feedback? Am I out to lunch here or what?


A Monster Birthday

IMG-20121214-02651I’m a little bit older today.

Okay, okay.  As much as I like to imagine myself still 25, the fact is a decade has passed since I last saw that number on my (no doubt Santa-inspired) birthday cake.  I can handle being 35 today.  I just like to consider myself… more experienced.

As it is with a birthday so close to Christmas, I often lament the onslaught of Merry Birthday.  For you other Decemberist birthday people, you know what I mean.  Your presents are wrapped in the merriest of Christmas paper, your cakes often resemble a fat man in a red suit and, worse, you get the dreaded “combo” gift.  Does this sound familiar:  “Oh, this is your birthday-Christmas gift!”?

So this year, I gave myself the gift of music.  I invited a couple of my favourite musical cohorts along for the ride, battled Toronto traffic (thankful for those with better GPS’ in their blackberries than I have), managed to find elusive Toronto parking after navigating a myriad of one-way streets, hit a nifty little bar near Lee’s Palace (Hey Lucy on Bloor – featured above, my Lucy martini – perfect nod to my littlest beat.. and try the pizza at this place!!) for pre-show drinks and nosh and then spent my night having my eardrums damaged just a little bit more.

It was loud. It rocked. It was a Monster of a birthday.

Show Deets:

Monster Truck and Special Guests (more on that later). Edge Jingle Bell Concert Series ~ Lee’s Palace.

Let’s start with a bit of venue gushing.  I love Lee’s Palace.  The place is dark, a bit dank, small enough to see everything, big enough to withstand the rock that poured off the stage.  This is how you are supposed to see a band.  No huge stadium, no $50 rounds of giant beers, no giant light show and theatrics.  It is simply great music, played loud, where you can see the nuances of the band on the stage in front of you.  Where you buy merchandise from pals of the band (and who show great appreciation when you do).  Where you can be standing and waiting for the headliner only to turn and see the opening act having a beer behind you as you smile and nod to acknowledge the great set they had just performed.

In between opening acts and the main attraction, the game of “spot the hipster” was once again played.  Only this time we had a literal smorgasbord of bearded goodness to take in.  An eclectic mixed crowd – it was difficult to discern between vapid hipster and the real deal.  It soon became a ranking of the best beard (I’m not even sure who won this) and the best look alike (Jerry Garcia and his inner-jacket-porn took this, but the aged Dee Snider-bad-perm guy was a definite contender).

But let’s get to the real reason we were there:  music.

Usually opening acts at Lee’s are insights to upcoming music that is hit and miss with greatness.  Sometimes you score, sometimes you just shake your head and use the time to wrestle your way upstairs to the washrooms (note: avoid at all costs).  Seeing as this was a combined birthday night out (ahem, Pete, this one is for you), it seemed only appropriate that the opening act was a band that my birthday-buddy wanted to see live.  Indian Handcrafts.  You likely haven’t heard of them.  I suspect you will.  Soon.
IMG-20121214-02653Two guys walk on to a stage.  Sounds like the start of a joke, right?  And then they proceed to blow your eardrums out.  Just two guys and a lot of beautiful, loud sounds.  One guitar, half a drum set, both vocalists (a drummer and he can sing??) and I stood agape.  Who are these guys?  I suspect I received something of a “I know, right?!” kind of look from the one who already knew this band.  Which means that the rest  shared grins.  You know – those smiles given with the people you’re with when you know you are hearing something that just may end up being huge.  That moment when it occurs to you that you will soon be saying, “Yeah, I saw these guys ages ago” when everyone else starts freaking out about them.

Indian Handcrafts (http://indianhandcrafts.net/) sound bigger than they are – a true Festivus-worthy feat of strength.  A duo, comprised of Brandyn James Aiken (drums, vocals) and Daniel Brandon Allen (guitars, vocals) out of Barrie (so I’ve read…).  It is loud, but it’s not sloppy-loud.  The music is filled with stellar riffs, some seriously sick drum action, fun, frivolity and is so reminiscent of a grinding grunge sound that I almost got nostalgic.  This is how music is fun – it’s loud, it’s humourous, it is compelling to watch and it makes you grin so big while your head nods along and you want more.  Needless to say, I have now dowloaded their recent album, “Disobedience for Losers” and spent the better part of my weekend recommending that friends give them a listen.  I want to know more.  Apparently this band will be touring in 2013 with the likes of Billy Talent (ugh, sorry guys, but everyone here knows my innate hatred of Billy Talent) and Sum41.  Well played, guys.

IMG-20121215-02662The Main Event:  When I heard that 102.1 The Edge was doing a Jingle Bell concert series, I was intrigued to see Monster Truck on the list.  Even better was that they were at Lee’s.  The thing is, this is a concert I knew I had to attend.  Growing up, rock like this was what I was first a part of.  Banging heads, ringing ears, in your face, long-haired kind of rock.  What I have discovered about this band is that you either know them, or you don’t.  So the response to finding out that I was going to the show was varied.  From the bubble-gum-pop crowd (and my Mom), I got looks of confusion.  “You’re going to see monster trucks??”.  From those that know local rock, I got looks of “What? Really? How?”  Small venue, big sounds.  My birthday doesn’t get much better than this.

Jon Harvey (Bass & Lead vocals), Jeremy Widerman (Guitar & Vocals), Brandon Bliss (Organ & Vocals) and Steve Kiely (Drums & Vocals): what they provide is just what the band name implies:  a monster rock sound.  The music is tight, featuring favourites from their EPs and new stuff they are currently putting together in the studio.  Monster Truck has a classic rock sound mixed with some 90s grungy influence.  It’s loud, your head dips lower on each nod and ending their encore with Righteous Smoke was the best set decision I’ve seen (er.. heard?).  Actually, starting out with Seven Seas Blues, moving into a mix of newer and older songs and finishing out with their current hit all seemed highly appropriate.  Most of all, it made me anxious to see what they pull out on their album when it’s released.


And can I mention that Jon Harvey is waaay taller than I ever suspected?! Although, I will give Jeremy (guitar/vocals) huge kudos for stage presence.  The entire group meshes well together.  Their sound is tight (when music sounds exactly as it does recorded, it’s always a great thing) and you lose yourself in a solid set.  There are no bells and whistles.  No stage theatrics.  It is just really great rock music.  And it rocked.

There it is.  I’m 35. And I got rocked for my birthday.  Perfection.

As always, many thanks to those that joined me for our birthday night out.  In overview, this has been a stellar concert year for me, which has been shared with excellent company and great memories.  I could not have asked for better musical cohorts.  Or a better night.  Even the guy peeing on the wall of the alley back to the truck (p.s. Don’t Fuck With the Truck!) did little to dampen the spirits.  Such incredibly loud fun!  Thanks guys!!

As for our readers, since gifts are a given on birthdays, consider this mine for you.  Go check out Indian Handcrafts.  Right now.  And if you have a chance, go see either them or Monster Truck live in 2013.  Put on something tight and black, let your hair down and rock a show.  For now, I’ll leave you with something to listen to.  Turn it up.  Loud.

Indian Handcrafts –  Bruce Lee

Monster Truck – Righteous Smoke (an obvious choice, I know, but a fucking good one nonetheless)


New Music in the ‘hood: The Neighbourhood

The other night, I was hanging out with the Little Beats (who both started school this week, a Top 10 list for later on – Back to School Music: Songs to Learn By) when I was alerted to a radio discussion of new music.  Because dinner was being prepped and I was being all domesticated, I had missed the gist of what was said.  Luckily, I have extremely reliable and clever musical friends who share my penchant for new sounds and they filled me in (kudos to those that deserve it.. thank you… that is two in a row.. I’m officially impressed).

You all know how I love new tunes.  Intense moments of Googling followed.  Who were these mysterious new crooners?  All I had was a name:  The Neighbourhood.

I caught the discussion of the song “Sweater Weather” and investigated further to find “Female Robbery”.  I was on a mission. But I couldn’t find more.

What?  Nary a Wiki page, a bio, a wordy website?  Who are these guys?!

This is what I found:

Sweater Weather

Female Robbery

My thoughts?  They intrigue me.  The music is good. Crooning with a smattering of R&B.  It’s light, but not. It’s kind of indie-folk-rock-hop.  It’s a mesh of bits of everything, but it’s not overkill and insipid.  I called them a bit Arctic Monkeys mixed with Foster the People mixed with The Weeknd (but peppier).  If I was going to label them.

Points of Interest:

– Note the spelling of their name.  Perhaps why no one in the US has really stood up to notice.  Perhaps why they released initially in the UK, as opposed to the US (this is where I make the declarative statement that the UK is far more hip than the US in terms of new music).

– All that is really known about the band is that they are based out of LA, released two singles in the UK (with much love for both).  The lead singer is a former child actor named Jesse James Rutherford (go IMDB him..).  They’ve only released an EP, entitled “I’m Sorry” and people are intrigued because..well, that’s all we know about them.  Is this music marketing smarts (building buzz by not saying anything), or are these guys just really low-key and not attention whores?  Whichever the motivation, it is serving to make people focus on the music which is, well, really good.  It’s clever, and I like clever.  I’m holding out hope they keep it up.

– I shared with another pal of mine – the ever-picky Bros.  He is withholding his verdict, although I am pointing out that the band has been likened to The Weeknd, and I’ll point out that he said that The Weeknd was a band that his snobby side accepted DESPITE their commercial success.  Could this be another?  Time will tell.

– The videos are stellar.  In fact, they are part of what I immediately was attracted to with the music.   They are visually stunning.  Music for the eyes and ears, it seems.

– I prefer Female Robbery over Sweater Weather.  What about you guys?

So there you have it.  New music for a Saturday night.  My prediction:  They’ll live up to the hype.  Expect to hear more from them in mainstream media once the snow flies.

Go Like The Neighbourhood: http://www.facebook.com/TheNeighbourhood

Go Follow The Neighbourhood: http://twitter.com/thenbhd

Check out their site (p.s. Love the branding! I want a black t-shirt!) and get the EP: http://www.thenbhd.com/

Happy Listening!

The Business of Being Hesta Prynn

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

A few months ago, Lila and I heard that Hesta Prynn put out the call to her fans to come up with words to describe her. Having met her on our NYC “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” whirlwind adventure, Lila and I took up her challenge, brownosed by turning our words into a bit of art and ended up landing an interview.


The main word chosen for this little project was “Propulsive”. The power to propel. It had a lot of meaning – how both Lila and I have claimed that Hesta’s music makes us run harder, how her music moves us, how when we met her she was like a force. And then we realized just how much velocity this girl has.

Hesta Prynn is an entity. And she knows it. In an industry that is often fickle-minded and self-indulgent, Julie Potash, is a smart and savvy business woman. She is building the Hesta Prynn brand. She recognizes the business behind music, the changes in the music industry and combines creativity with something that many artists rely on big companies to provide them: business smarts.

This was not the interview we expected.

Most people who know me know that I have a decided interest in how the music industry is run. I have a bit of a predisposed skepticism of the need of big record labels and traditional musical marketing methods. I mean, when you work more than a decade in marketing and advertising, you tend to have a healthy skepticism of all mass marketing tactics and the driving force behind them. So I, obviously, was elated to talk to an artist that….well, she gets it. According to her, “I’m like Hesta Prynn, the whole business entity; not just Hesta Prynn – musician.”

And what is more, Julie manages to intertwine business sense with some good old-fashioned idealism without it seeming trite or canned. She’s just real. She wants people to like her music, but more than that, she wants people to share it.

So, when her EP drops today, along with her new video, it’s not going to be in a traditional way. According to Julie, it’s going to be done “more grassroots.” This isn’t a full length record. “In this day and age, I wonder; I explore the idea… if putting an album of music is a dated way to do this. As opposed to, let’s say, putting out an EP quarterly?”

“I started in this business pretty young doing Northern State; it kind of got really big. We did the more traditional things for a hot minute. Then things started to change in the industry at the same time things started to change in the band. By the time I’d done that for a number of years, I was ready to try some other things. Just like any other profession. It was a natural progression.”

Instead of just writing music, putting it out and touring to support it, Hesta Prynn is diverse. She Djs (notably opening the Roxette show on September 2nd, more on that in a bit). She writes for other artists. She creates art and mixes it all together to be a force. Propulsive, indeed.

It isn’t any wonder that she has had the fortune to work with the likes of DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys). And she shows immense gratitude to the lessons learned from those she has either collaborated with or learned from.

These people shaped who I am and the fact that they’ve been generous to me, as an artist, I sometimes can’t really believe that it happened.”

And if you want a prime example of exactly how awesome her collaborations have been, ask her the story of Clown from Slipknot. A story I can’t even begin to do justice here in writing. To get a taste of it, go YouTube Hesta’s “Seven Sisters” video and just watch. Watch and appreciate the sheer creativity that is shared and know that one day, should you have the luck to meet her, that you can ask her to tell the story behind the video. That Clown is a Hesta Prynn fan kind of blew our minds. I think it initially blew hers as well. That we got to hear about the creation of the video, the insights delivered by a metal icon and shared a bit of what Julie was able to experience with him was a highlight. I know, I know.. it’s like teasing by not sharing the entire story here. But trust us, it’s something best heard in person. In the very least, go check out the song and video.. it’s one of our all-time favourites.

But, the EP and video release – the driving force of why we wanted to talk to Julie. What could we expect? Of course, both the music and the video are shared below. And we had to ask if there was a certain satisfaction in pulling all of this together on “her own” (of course, Julie has surrounded herself with a team, but this isn’t big label relase-ish.. this is all her own.).

We Could Fall in Love on iTunes NOW!!!

“If you look at my videos, they are so much better than anything I’ve ever done. Everything is better now, but I have pay it out of my pocket. And that is a little stressful, but I’m running my own business. It’s about investing in your own. I don’t know if it’s more rewarding, but you can do it better (than relying on a label).”

“I’m really doing this one really grass roots. One of the songs is produced by DJ A. One is produced by Teen Wolf. I’m basically going to do it all myself. So we’ll see what happens. And see how much attention it gets. I hope that people that have always supported me, will pass it on to their friends. I’m counting on my community.”

Immediately after the release comes her September 2nd show, opening for Roxette at the Beacon Theatre.

A 45-minute set that she has promised will be a mix of showcasing just who Hesta Prynn is. This show marks the largest she has ever done. She’ll spin, she’ll sing and we’re certain she is going to propel the crowd. It’s her goal. This set isn’t about her, in the typical “look at me” stage artist. It’s about the audience. And she makes that claim without an ounce of false modesty or faked humility. She just really wants people to enjoy her work.

“It’s a really big show for me, the biggest I’ve ever done. I’m doing a DJ set and I’ll sing a couple songs and a video installation and show people what I’ve been doing, what I can do, what my interests are. I would never just show up and play records for 45 minutes, I craft it.  I’m creating it, I’m definitely over-thinking it, for sure. But that is exactly what I was told to do, how to do it. When you’re performing and for people who don’t necessarily know you, you are constantly marketing yourself; selling yourself.  When it comes to performing, my real dream, my real 100-percent-honest-to-god, I want every single person, not just one person, I want EVERY person there at one point in that show to say, “Oh shit, that’s my jam.” If you can make 3500 people say at least once, “that’s my jam”, you know what you’re doing. I literally may die trying.”

And this is why Lila and I are such fans.

I won’t get into this long and overdone concept of “girl-power” and feminist attitude. But just as Julie has shown great appreciation of those she has been able to collaborate with in her life, she shares that by equally giving back to her fans. Sure, we write this blog and review music, but we’ve been long-standing fans of Hesta Prynn that were afforded a greater insight into a woman who, frankly, we both exclaimed we would happily just hang with. For no other reason than… Hesta Prynn is just awesome. She is exactly what she sets out to be. She may not know what your jam is, but she is pretty sure she is going to hit it. She recognizes that Hesta Prynn is the “most outgoing, my most sure, my freshest dopest most awesome version of myself… in my most inspired moments.” And I’m pretty sure everyone has a bit of that in themselves. Their most confident.

She doesn’t expect to be the biggest star at the party. I will never expect her to try be the diva of the ball. What I expect of this EP is just solidly great music that is fun and inspired. Something to share with those I know will appreciate it. Nothing contrived , nothing fake.

So, as we leave you with our sharing of one of our favourite artists here at Beat & Lyric, let us impart the biggest thing we learned from Julie during this process. Her parting moral, if you will:

I think that it’s hard to be your real self in this world. I feel like having another name or persona and a look I think it helps you – I mean, I have to step up to be that. If I’m going to go and perform, I have to show up already knowing this time is going to be good. I really have built this thing that I have. I do feel that when I step into the Hesta Prynn thing, I’m ready to have fun. And I’ll be the coolest girl at the party and I’ll be friends with you. I won’t be the coolest girl and I’m not nice. I’ll be the coolest girl at the party, I’ll be friends with you and I’ll be like ‘get in my car and let’s go.”

Well played, Hesta Prynn. We are more than ready to take a spin with you.

~Betty Beat (with Lila Lyric)


Follow Hesta Prynn on Twitter

Like Hesta Prynn on Facebook

Check out the official Hesta Prynn webpage  www.hestaprynn.com

Saturday’s Shazam Six

Saturdays I rise early and head to the gym. The air temperature has dropped in the last day and created some wicked fog for my sunrise drive. Inspired to get off my butt and blog for you!

I use Shazam on my iPhone. It’s a great tool not just for finding out ‘who the hell sings that’ but to make lists of songs you don’t want to forget about. I can glance at my stereo while driving and see the name of an artist or the title of the song….but do you think I’d remember the next time I was sitting in front of a computer to check on on the net? No, I only remember useless information and crazy obscure pop culture references. So I use Shazam to list artists and songs I want to jump into deeper and explore.

Today’s Six contains a high concentration from the East Coast of the USA. Three of these bands are Brooklyn based, a fourth is based in NYC, only one from across the pond and the sixth from Portland. This was not intentional, just sifting through the songs on Shazam and these are all new(er) to me and worth mentioning here. Brooklyn is the clearly the Mecca for ultra-cool indie music…..at least statistically speaking from a Beat & Lyric point-of-view.

My Saturday Shazam Six:

1) The one and only band not hailing from the US in today’s list. The xx, a London band that jumped on my radar in the last month. They’ve been around since 2009 and are set to release their second studio album on September 11. Here is ‘Chained’. Also check out ‘Island’ from their first album, it’s dope.

2) The other band not hailing from the greater NYC area is The Chromatics. I may have blogged this one before, but it’s worth repeating. This Portland Oregon band have been around since 2001. Their fourth studio album “Kill for Love” was released in March of this year. Here they are doing Neil Young’s ‘Into the Black”

3) Jumping across the coast we have DIIV from Brooklyn. I don’t know much about this band other than a quick glance at Wikipedia. I only Shazamed this song this morning! If you know them, or do any research on them let me know….I’m feeling lazy. Here is “Doused” from their current album ‘Oshin’

4) The White Rabbits are based in Brooklyn, but originally hail from Missouri (I wonder when they made their pilgrimage?). The song here “Temporary” is from their 3rd studio album “Milk Famous” which was released in March of this year.

5) The Walkmen (not to be confused with Canadian band The Walkmen) were given a shout out this month on the blog as the were the opening act for Florence and the Machine. The band has members based in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia. They’ve been kicking around the scene awhile, since 2000. This is the title song from their May 2012 release (and their 7th studio album) ‘Heaven”

6) My final Shazam Six for today is Dirty Projectors. Might I add that I love this band name. Again with Brooklyn. They have been around since 2002, and any band that has the courage to release an album (as quoted from wiki) ‘The album is an attempt by band leader Dave Longstreth to remember and reinterpret the entire Black Flag album Damaged after not hearing it for almost 15 years.’ gets a nod from me. Here is “Gun Has No Trigger’ from their July 2012 release “Swing Lo Magellan”

So there is my six. I’d love to know your thoughts on these six. Hopefully you discovered something new today 🙂


%d bloggers like this: