State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Joey Kadish

Introducing: The Parsnip Revolt

ABOUT THE PARSNIP REVOLT

Striving for perfection can be a detailed and hard-earned journey. The biggest critic of any musical group is usually the group itself. The Parsnip Revolt is that very scenario in motion—many times starting a project from scratch in an effort to steer it into the proper lane. With their new EP, A Sunshine Report, The Parsnip Revolt has found their own open highway to successful longevity. This is the story of an American rock band and their solidarity through seemingly insurmountable creative struggles. The story of a band that has dodged common pitfalls to challenge the status quo of Philly’s alternative rock clique and win a place in the city’s culture.

Their new release represents the band’s continued commitment to their craft, their sound and most importantly, their fans. The Parsnip Revolt is rooted in melodic alternative rock, utilizing the compositional punch of Geremiah Giampa, Jake Williams, Brian Fin and Tom Mellon in sonically diverse ways, well beyond the reach of most bands. Whether you see them live or purchase a copy of A Sunshine Report, you’ll become a quick and cherished member of the family and, in the end, part of the revolt against mediocrity.

 

INTERVIEW

How would you and the other members of The Parsnip Revolt describe your musical backgrounds?

We’ve all come from a fairly diverse and different background of music than each other. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, since we’ve been able to pull together those influences and come up with a sound that is ours.

How did you all meet and become a band?

The band started in 2006 as an acoustic three piece kind of in the vein of Damien Rice. After a couple of months, we found guitarist Jake Williams through a Craigslist ad and immediately recruited band. As the songwriting grew away from mellow acoustic, so did the line-up of the group (in fact, the line-up has changed several times over the years). In 2008, Brian Fin answered a Craigslist ad and was added on bass and a year later Tom Mellon joined on drums. Since the end of last year, our friend Matt Ensminger has been playing with us live, singing harmonies, percussion, guitar, and keys.

How would you describe your overall sound as a band?

We have a hard time answering that question, but we have been told that we’re kind of a hodgepodge of U2, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, and Pearl Jam.

What are your biggest influences, musically and otherwise?

Lyrically, I’m influenced by my own experiences or the struggles my family or friends might be having at the time. Musically, as a band, we’re all over the place. Although, I think because we’re all somewhat close in age, the rock and rap music from the early part of the 90’s might be our common thread.

What has been your most enjoyable live performance as a band?

The CD release party for A Sunshine Report was our most favorite show to date. We came out and played a newly focused sound to a sold out crowd at World Café Live in Philadelphia. It was truly a rewarding night.

Describe your planning, writing, and recording process, particularly with A Sunshine Report.

A Sunshine Report was two difficult years in the making. Since the beginning, we’ve always home recorded and self-produced all of our songs. In 2010, we had a batch of songs that we wrote and recorded over a year’s time. No matter what we did or how many times we overdubbed or remixed, we thought the songs just sounded blah and we couldn’t fix that.

Our self-esteem and musical worth was in the toilet after that period. Regardless, we kept rehearsing every week and would play out when we could; just trying put the album past us. During that time, we were introduced to producer Derek Chafin who had learned of our tale of woe. Derek had the right words, personality, and therapist skills to immediately win us over.

A month later, we began the challenge of pre-production with Derek as he helped us deconstruct our songs and re-imagine them in a more focused light. We spent the next year with Derek recording songs in his barn in Newtown Square, PA. In the middle of that, we ran out of funding to complete the album, so we threw a Hail Mary and launched a Kickstarter campaign. The outpouring of support from friends, family, and fans, blew us away. In thirty days, we successfully raised over four thousand dollars to finish the album. 2012 was truly a rebirth for us musically and personally and on January 8th 2013, A Sunshine Report was finally released to the world.

If you had to choose your favorite song on the album, what would it be and why?

“Mountain of Blame” is lyrically my favorite because the subject matter is very close to me, but overall I think “Never an End” takes the cake.  We just get better and better musically conveying the words of the song.

What do you see in the future for yourself as a band, in terms of goals?

We’re focusing on trying to play outside of the Philadelphia area and promoting as hard as we can to gain new listeners. We just signed a deal with a publishing company in an effort to get music placed in TV shows, movies, etc.  We’re hoping that type of exposure will help us expand our touring area.

If you could collaborate with any artist and/or producer, who would it be?

In a heartbeat, we would work with Derek Chafin again.

What’s next?

We’re going to be playing shows up and down the eastern seaboard and as far west as Chicago trying to promote the album. During that, we’ll be writing news songs for the next album.

 

The Album

The Parsnip Revolt released their debut album this past January, and if it’s any indication of what lies ahead for the band, big things are sure to come.  What we’ve got hear is rock album through and through, with vocals semi-resembling the likes of Max Bemis from Say Anything (though not as exaggerated) and a sound that evokes the best of Oasis.

Highlights are “Let It Go”, which has an upbeat, classic sound that complements the group perfectly, and “Never an End”, which is tailor-made for a melancholy montage in a TV drama, (picture a sad teen staring out of a window into the rain). “Keep It All” is a testament to aforementioned Oasis comparison, with a hazy guitar rift that belongs at any smoke-filled outdoor festival. With seven more tracks on the album, there’s plenty to offer any avid fan of rock and if your interest is peaked, it can be purchased on iTunes or BandCamp.

The Parsnip Revolt will be playing Saturday, March 9 at the World Live Cafe in Philadelphia and Friday, March 22 at Kelly’s Logan House in Wilmington, Del.

New Video Round Up: JT, Lana, and More

Music fans and single people everywhere rejoice: the week so far has brought us some videos to both visually please and distract from all this lovey-dovey crap.  Here are some highlights:

 

Justin Timberlake – “Suit & Tie (Feat. Jay Z)”

While critics and fans alike remain polarized about whether JT’s comeback single is a hit or miss, the video for the track shows the “Mirrors” crooner doing what he does best: entertaining.

 

Lana Del Rey: “Burning Desire”

While not officially a single, ‘Del Rey’ has released a music video for this bonus track, lifted from the re-release of her debut album, Born to Die: Paradise Edition. And it’s not so much a video as it is a promotion for Jaguar. While the vid evokes the same old-Hollywood feel as JT’s, it is far less interesting.

 

Cher Lloyd: “With Ur Love”

New country, new campaign.  Ms. Lloyd is on a mission to follow the U.S. success of her single, “Want U Back” and her next attempt comes in the form of a new video for this previously released track, sans Mike Posner. The vid evokes a fairytale-ish theme and Cher looks stunning, despite those awful tattoos of hers.

 

Rihanna: “Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko)”

If you live under a rock, you probably havent’ seen this video, which was released a few days ago.  The concept is pretty simple, BUT IT’S RIHANNA IN A BATHTUB.

 

Paramore: “Now”

Here’s another video that was released a few days ago, which may in fact be the best of the bunch. The band is as grungy and edgy as ever and in this vid, manages to turn 4 and a half minutes of combat into a smokey, colorful, etherial affair.

EDIT: This is by far the best. Amazing song. Amazing video. Sophia Bush.

Passion Pit: “Carried Away”

Any new vids you want us to see? Let us know @stateinthereal

The Justin Timberlake Album Now Has Artwork and a Tracklist

JT has just unveiled the coverart for his upcoming album, The 20/20 Experience, which features the “Suit & Tie” crooner having some sort of visit to the eye doctor. Literal artwork aside, Timberlake also released the tracklist for the album, which includes just 10 new songs:

1.  Pusher Love Girl
2.  Suit & Tie
3.  Don’t Hold the Wall
4.  Strawberry Bubblegum
5.  Tunnel Vision
6.  Spaceship Coupe
7.  That Girl
8.  Let the Groove Get In
9.  Mirrors
10.  Blue Ocean Floor

Here’s hoping none of those are interludes.

Vampire Weekend Announces New Album and Tour

Yesterday brought some exciting news: Vampire Weekend announced that they have completed and will release their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, this May through XL Recordings and will commence on a Spring tour to coincide with the new LP!  The news came from their Facebook, where they also released the tracklisting for the album, due in stores May 7.  Check it out below:

1 ) Obvious Bicycle
2 ) Unbelievers
3 ) Step
4 ) Diane Young
5 ) Don’t Lie
6 ) Hannah Hunt
7 ) Everlasting Arms
8 ) Finger Back
9 ) Worship You
10 ) Ya Hey
11 ) Hudson
12 ) Young Lion

It’s been almost three years since the release of their sophomore album, Contra, and in a recent interview with Q Magazine, Ezra Koenig, the band’s lead singer, described the album as, “darker and more organic,” saying it would be the end of a trilogy.  While no announcement of a single has been made, the band did perform a new song “Unbelievers” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but as of now no videos of the performance are available.

The tour kicks off April 12 and there is an exclusive fan pre-sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., local venue time.  Here are the tour dates:

APRIL 12TH, 2013 THE CHELSEA BALLROOM AT THE COSMOPOLITAN,

LAS VEGAS
ON SALE SOON
APRIL 14TH, 2013 COACHELLA,

INDIO
APRIL 16TH, 2013 FREEBORN HALL AT UC DAVIS,

DAVIS
ON SALE SOON
APRIL 17TH, 2013 FOX THEATER,

OAKLAND
ON SALE SOON
APRIL 21ST, 2013 COACHELLA,

INDIO
MAY 8TH, 2013 THE TROXY,

LONDON
ON SALE SOON
MAY 10TH, 2013 CASINO DE PARIS,

PARIS
ON SALE SOON
MAY 15TH, 2013 AGGANIS ARENA,

BOSTON
ON SALE SOON
MAY 16TH, 2013 SONY CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS,

TORONTO
ON SALE SOON
MAY 17TH, 2013 THE FILLMORE DETROIT,

DETROIT
ON SALE SOON
MAY 19TH, 2013 MIDLAND THEATER,

KANSAS CITY
ON SALE SOON
MAY 20TH, 2013 RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATER,

MORRISON
ON SALE SOON
MAY 21ST, 2013 RED BUTTE GARDEN AMPHITHEATRE,

SALT LAKE CITY
ON SALE SOON
MAY 23RD, 2013 KELLER AUDITORIUM,

PORTLAND
ON SALE SOON

Tyler Sherritt to perform at Levels

Singer/songwriter, DJ and producer Tyler Sherritt will be playing a show this Saturday, February 2 at Levels Nightclub. Sherritt, from New York, has some impressive show credentials, including opening for Armin Van Buuren on New Years Eve and for Dash Berlin in their recent show in Philadelphia.

Never heard of him?  Here’s a vid of him at Santos House Party in NYC:

What’s great about Sherritt is that he actually sings over his own tracks, (those are his vocals in the vid). This is sure to add something extra to the upcoming rave at Levels, a smaller setting than most EDM shows. Here’s another clip of him performing, this time at Cielo in NYC:

The show starts at 10 p.m. and is open to all ages 18+. For more Tyler Sherritt, check out his SoundCloud and Twitter.

Justin Timberlake Premieres New Single + Download

Seven long years have passed since JT’s last opus, FutureSex/LoveSounds, and it seemed as though our favorite member of ‘N Sync has left the music world forever in favor of the big screen. But the wait is over and Justin is back with new song “Suit & Tie” featuring JAY Z.  Just days after a vague video announcement of his return went viral, Justin premiered the single, which will be lifted off of his upcoming album The 20/20 Experience.  Have a listen (and download while it’s available) below:

Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (Feat. Jay-Z).mp3

The song starts off with a repetitive intro and quickly changes pace into an upbeat, toe-tappy track.  It infuses pop and R&B seamlessly and in a way that sets this apart from typical radio-friendly tracks. JAY Z slows things down during his feature and showcases his rap skills, as per usual. The song seems like it will be a grower, but still peaks our interest as to what else Justin has planned for the new year.

The track is out now and is also available for purchase here, if you’re into that sort of thing.