Music Monday >> Finish Ticket – “Color”

The Bay Area’s own Finish Ticket is set to release their new EP, When Night Becomes Day, to digital retailers on Friday, September 4. You can listen to When Night Becomes Day in full on Soundcloud.

The band is hitting the road with twenty one pilots and Echosmith on the Blurryface Tour this fall. On November 5, Finish Ticket returns home to headline the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. For more info on tour dates, check out www.finishticket.com.

Check out (and follow!) my #MusicMonday playlist on Spotify HERE.

Q & A with Almost Honest’s Drew Orepeza

San Jose native Drew Orepeza, lead singer of Almost Honest, didn’t always know that music would be his chosen path.

“I always liked to sing. I sang in high school (Pioneer). I didn’t do anything formal, but I would sing at parties,” he said. “I sang at a rally once for fun.”

Even though both of his parents are musically inclined, it wasn’t until after Orepeza graduated from San Jose State University, where he received a degree in Business, that he felt like music was perhaps the right direction for him.

“I was at one of those points in my life where I wanted to do something different. I was a personal trainer, and I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing,” he explained. “So, I decided to drop everything and move to LA when I was 20. So, I started music when I was 20-21. I was a late bloomer, a late starter.”

It was also around this time that Orepeza was introduced to his Almost Honest band-mate, Justin Florence.

“[Justin’s] brother was a radio DJ, and I had cut a demo. I gave it to [him] to listen to; I wanted his critique. It wasn’t very good at that point. He thought there was promise, and he said, ‘My brother is a guitarist. He just got out of a project and he’s looking for something different.’ So he introduced us, and we met at his house one night, and we just jammed. It just kind of clicked.”

Flash-forward to the present, Almost Honest is currently gearing up to release their debut record this early this summer.

This past April, in between flying back and forth to LA to put the finishing touches on Almost Honest’s record, Orepeza and I had an opportunity to sit down one night in Downtown San Jose to talk music, the band, and what to expect from their first record, which Orepeza said, “sounds nothing like what you’ve heard that we’ve done before.”

What artists had an influence on your music?

Growing up, I listened to a lot of 70’s rock. James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, and a lot of classic rock. I think for me, what kind of got me into music was more of the indie scene stuff. An artist named Ernie Halter, Tony Lucca, and some LA guys. I started listening to them around the time I started writing. They kind of inspired me to pick up a guitar and start writing. So, it was more of the indie-folk kind of rock stuff that really got me to where I am with my writing.

How long had you and Justin been playing together before you started playing shows?

After about two months of just trying to throw some songs together, we had a song or two, and we played covers. We had a 6-song set. We played a coffee shop probably like two months after we had met. It was like 12 people. It was like a little coffee shop, but it was fun. I’ll never forget it.

We were really green, but people were like if you guys stick with it, you guys have something special.

Continue reading Q & A with Almost Honest’s Drew Orepeza

Meet Jessie Frye

Jessie Frye describes her music as “Oscar Wilde climbing into a piano and drinking lots of espresso,” whereas I would describe the Texas native’s music as a refreshing addition to today’s music scene that is reminiscent of The Cranberries mixed in with PJ Harvey and Liz Phair, along with a dash of Sara Bareilles for good measure.

Frye’s first step into the musical world was when she was eight years old and started taking voice lessons. At around the age of 11 or 12, she began piano lessons. For Frye, it was right after she started playing piano that she realized that she was meant to be a creator and make music.

While growing up in Dallas, Texas, Frye listened to the music that that would shape her as an artist, including acts such as The Cure, Tori Amos, Michael Jackson and the pre-rapping days of Madonna. Also, as a huge fan of literature, she counts Oscar Wilde as a huge creative influence. She credits him, saying, “His outlook and his passion and his philosophy really inspired the core beliefs that I have about art.”

In 2008, Frye released her debut EP, The Delve, which she describes as having that “DIY charm,” and that “it’s very innocent, it’s very organic and raw.”

At age 22, the now Denton-based Frye is fresh off her third turn of performing at SXSW and is gearing up to release her second EP, Fireworks Child, this week.

Last month, I spoke with Frye over the phone to talk about performing live, her new EP, Fireworks Child, and her goals for the future. So, without further ado, meet Jessie Frye.

Around what age did you start writing music?

Well, like 11 years old. But, they were horrible, obviously. I feel like you have to feel things out and write some really private bad stuff before you start writing the good stuff. I know good is relative, but when you’re 11, your songwriting probably isn’t as polished as when you’re 20 or something like that.

As you progressed into writing songs that you would go on to perform, where was the inspiration coming from? 

Experiences. I always try to think when I’m writing songs, I think a lot of people think, well, this is about love or this is about a relationship, but for me I try to describe it. Not so much that it’s storytelling, but it’s abstract at the same time, so you take whatever you want from it; like using metaphors, not using blatant sentences in your lyrics. To me, lyrics are a really, really important thing, and no matter how good the music is, I can’t listen to it if your lyrics are dumb. You know, I just can’t do it. I spend a lot more time on lyric writing than I spend on actually arranging the music.

Continue reading Meet Jessie Frye

Music Video: Anoop Desai – “All Is Fair (Crazy Love)”

So I am late to the party with this one, but Anoop Desai from the eighth season of American Idol recently released a music video for his single “All Is Fair (Crazy Love).”

Check it out below!

I am diggin’ this song!

What do y’all think?

Music Review >> Darren Criss – ‘Human’

Darren Criss made a huge impact during his first singing appearance as Blaine on Glee in episode 2×6, “Never Been Kissed.” As a fan of Glee, I definitely took notice of his presence, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

The Glee version of Katy Perry’s hit “Teenage Dream,” which features Criss on lead vocals, hit number one on iTunes selling 214,000 copies during it’s first week according to Entertainment Weekly.

Criss independently released his acoustic EP Human this past summer. In five tracks, the singer-songwriter proves that he is the real deal.

Human touches on the basic emotions that we all experience throughout our lives, like love, heartbreak, and jealousy. Criss’ voice exhibits sincerity and passion in each of the songs on his EP.

One of the songs, “Not Alone,” which Criss performed live at the Trevor Project benefit earlier this month, showcases his vocal range from his larger drawn out notes to his falsetto. The chorus also happens to be quite catchy. I promise that you will be singing-a-long by the end of the song. Also, there’s a feeling of truthfulness in the lyrics, which serves almost as a reminder that we’re all capable of these emotions that make us inevitably human.

Production-wise, one can only imagine what Criss could accomplish if he had the time to record a full-length studio album with a full band. For recording the EP at home, the overall sound is pretty good. It’s nice to hear Criss’ raw vocals that are not glossed over by studio magic.

Listeners can experience soul-filled songs from a very talented Criss, who demonstrates great potential with his EP.

For more information on Darren Criss, check out his official website.

Definite Downloads: “Not Alone” and “Jealousy”

Originally posted on BlogCritics.

Follow me on Twitter! @KirsCoachman