Premature Review: Nico Vega

December 19, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under New in Music

In a landscape bursting with electro-pop-rock fusions, 80s inspired dance music, and bubble gum pop, sometimes you just want to hear some rock; straight up.

Enter Nico Vega, LA rock trio on the MySpace Record Label, burning up the underground and about to drop their self titled debut LP January 27th.

If you’re looking for a healthy dose of good ole rock n’ roll, the album, Nico Vega, is one of the best servings I’ve heard in a very long time. Incorporating elements of soul, folk and electronic sounds, the album is sure to satiate your hunger for fresh rock music.

The album opener, “Burn Burn,” is cyclonic and dramatic, with vox, Aja Volkman, riding the rapid staccato of guitar, with a throaty cadence. “Million Years” is a funky femme fatal track with Aja channeling an ancient mistress, declaring “I’ve been around for a million years, no matter how hard you try, you can’t f*ck with this!”

While Aja may deny infusing any political messages into their overall vision for the band, songs like the martial “Living Underground,” the almost militant “Beast” and the soulful “Rabbit in the Bag” indicate otherwise. However, there are also, fun funky tracks like “So So Fresh” as well as devilishly sexy songs like “Blood Machine.”

I was also surprised to find a several songs from the EP remixed and included on the full length album. Which brings me to my one criticism; the transitions from the electronic guitar heavy songs to the acoustic, folksy tracks was a bit disjointed. “Gravity” and “Wooden Dolls” are fantastic songs, but they seemed misplaced. It was quite apparent that this album was not intended to have any particular concept, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, Nico Vega is definitely going to make a strong debut. This band reminds me that girl rockers rule and that rock is still alive and well.

For more information on Nico Vega and tour dates, visit Nico Vega MySpace.

Image via Big Hassle

It’s Official, I Love the Ting Tings

October 13, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under The Ting Tings

This morning while making the commute to my day job, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the up-and-coming UK indie duo The Ting Tings were visiting my boys on the Kevin & Bean morning show.

I talked previously about how The Ting Tings were growing on me and today’s radio interview sealed the deal for me. Their story of being signed and dropped from their label, starting out with another band, becoming fragmented and then performing in Islington Mill was quite intriguing.

So what was it that won me over? The pair did live studio performances of “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and “That’s Not My Name” and I was impressed with the crystalline quality of vocalist Katie voice. It was absolutely beautiful and sounded even better than on recordings.

The Ting Tings are playing the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles tonight after which they’ll continue on to Las Vegas and other US tour destinations. Visit their MySpace page for more tour details.

Image via The Ting Tings MySpace

Up-And-Coming: Lykke Li

July 28, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under New Artists

I have to thank my friend Jacob Nicolas for introducing me to Lykke Li a while back. I checked out the video and put her on my list of artists to watch.

Sure enough, shortly thereafter, Lykke Li was burning up the blogosphere as a breaking independent Swedish pop-rocker. With a light, almost ethereal but powerful voice, quirky dance moves, and infectious spunky tunes, it was impossible not to like Lykki Li. From humble indie all-star videos in a bathroom Lykke Li’s “I’m Good I’m Gone” became an underground hit.

Lykke Li’s album, Youth Novels is available now. She is scheduled to tour in the fall, check out her website for more information.

Artist Profile: Nico Vega

June 30, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under New in Music

I discovered Nico Vega earlier this year (hat tip Jacob Nicolas) and upon first listen, and was immediately enchanted by the rockin’ infections rhythms and the soulful throaty voice of band vocalist Aja Volkman. With only one EP and a few singles to their name (and a full LP due in the fall), Nico Vega are the underground band to watch for 2008.

The trio – vocalist Aja, guitarist Rich and drummer Dan – draws inspiration from a lost friend for whom the band is named, using a fusion of rock, folk and soul music as a medium to deliver a message of love and brotherhood.

Nico Vega represents a modern day saint. A warrior that has led us to a more fulfilling, lighter way of being. She represents people and unity. She fights for all of us and teaches us to fight for each other. She is an idea that has evolved into a message and she fuels us in our bellies. She is the person we are all capable of being, but she holds the bar high above our head so that we must reach to be better human beings. We all have honesty inside of us, we all know how to love, we are all made of the same flesh, and we are all stuck here together. Nico Vega reminds us that we can learn to fuse these ideas together and grow more solid as a unit of man. Alone we are lost, we fail, we grieve, we search, we struggle, we feel small. Together we are solid, found, loved, and powerful. We are our own greatest natural resource. [source]

What I really like about this band is that their recorded music sounds great, but to see them live is an experience. Aja, Rich and Dan are truly three friends making music together; doing it first for the love of music, then each other and if it comes, fame is nice. In music videos (check out “Wooden Dolls”), you can sort of get a taste of the deeply growling voice projected by Volkman, however, you get a true sense of her personality, the camaraderie she shares with her band mates and the full glory of her magnificent voice in intimate settings such as their recent show at the Viper Room in Hollywood last week.

It may be true that bands are made up of more than just a singer, but Aja Volkman demonstrates the allure of a strong, sexy and charismatic person to front any band.

Photo by: Alex Pranger

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