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

She Plays Live: Girl in a Coma at the Knitting Factory

December 8, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under Events, Girl in a Coma

There was a charged but mellow atmosphere in the Knitting Factory’s front stage Friday night. The crowd buzzed as Girl in a Coma began preparing the stage for their set. They had been standing near the back of the room during the previous performance, meeting and greeting fans who subsequently pressed their way to the front of the stage.

After introducing themselves, Girl in a Coma launched high energy number, immediately engaging the audience. A lovely cacophony of sound poured from the speakers, tempered by the honey smooth voice of Nina Diaz.

Her voice may have been honey, but it was barely distinguishable from the other instruments. It almost seemed like a waste of such a great voice, drowning it out with the dissonant cords. However, the heavy, cyclical guitar chords in the punkier songs compelled the audience to jump and dance about, while and the more blue grass influenced numbers made them sing and sway.

The only problem is that there wasn’t a single song where Nina’s words were coherent. She has this sort of mush mouthed style of drawing her words out deliberately and slurring them all together. Think Cyndi Lauper meets Bob Dylan. When you could hear Diaz’ voice above the instruments, it rang clear with a rich twang and raw emotion.

It was this rapture, with which Diaz performs that held it all together. The animation in her face, the naked, throaty, smoldering substance in her voice, and the energy of her delivery captured the audience from beginning to end; making for very entertaining set.

Visit their official website to find out where Girl in a Coma is headed next.

Girl in a Coma: “Their Cell”

November 25, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  
Filed under Girl in a Coma

A while back I wrote about the Texas trio Girl in a Coma. Hopefully you’ve been keeping an eye on them because in a rock landscape dominated by men and posers *cough Katy Perry cough* these girls are a refreshing return to rock roots.

Today Girl in a Coma has released an official video for “Their Sell,” the latest single from their debut album Both Before I’m Gone. Shot in a haunted prison, the video has the feeling of a slick 1980s coming of age movie. Its lovely and offers an apropos backdrop for the rather melancholy melody and lyrics.

And a lovely melody it is; uncanny and teetering on the edge of punk. Vox, Nina Diaz, slowly and deliberately slurs together the words in such a alluring manner. As the song goes on, the instrumentation grows more dissonant, but the focus is definitely Diaz’ beautiful voice. Befitting Cindy Lauper comparisons aside, Diaz has one of the richest voices of the current batch of up-and-coming rockers and Girl in a Coma is deserving of their impending break out.

Check out the video after the jump. It’s perfect for a lazy, mellow, yellow sort of day.

Image courtesy of Shore Fire Media.

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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