Top 7 Reasons I’m Glad Crash Kings Are Back

When Crash Kings released their self-titled album back in 2009, they quickly became one of my favorite LA bands. Their unique sound and set-up made them stand out and catchy singles like “Mountain Man” and “You Got Me” helped propel them to mainstream success and the band started touring across the country and making a name for themselves. Then, somehow, they started drifting off the radar. Now, it has been some time, but the band is
back with both a fantastic new album (
Dark of the Daylight) and renewed sense of purpose. Crash Kings stormed through a rockin’ set Wednesday night at The Troubadour, introducing their new tunes and playing old favorites to a delighted audience. Seeing the band again reminded me of how much I love them and their music, and I came up with a list of Top 7 Reasons I’m Glad Crash Kings Are Back…

The Clavinet

Who needs a guitar (Crash Kings don’t have one) when you have this key-based
instrument? One of the hallmarks of a Crash Kings tune, the clavinet allows the band to take that guitar sound to a new level and it’s not something I’ve seen anyone else attempt. For this new album and tour, singer Tony Beliveau has expanded the number of keys onstage, surrounding himself by a piano, a clavinet, a standard keyboard, and another “noise” board that also seems to be run by keys.  The Clavinet, however, will always be the one to mesmerize and draw whispers from the crowd.

I have a new CD
for my car

Some fans
might be surprised by what they hear from Dark of Daylight as it’s a slight departure from the band’s debut. The new songs rock a little harder and have a bit more texture, bringing in new, more synthetic sounds and more complex production. However, at the end of the day, Crash Kings are a rock band and in the show, the transition between old and new
tunes is seamless. The first single off the album, “Hot Fire”, is an instant classic, elevating the audience to maximum levels of enthusiasm.  My other new favorite, “Open Door” is a
sway-inducing piano heavy sing-along. The whole album is one that can be listened to on repeat, each song offering something exciting and unique. Seriously, it’s about time I found a new car-worthy CD!

3.       Mike Beliveau renews faith in the bass guitar

Crash Kings bassist, Mike Beliveau, is a remarkable example of how a bass can really be used to augment a song beyond the standard, keeping a back line. This guy makes bass-solos exciting! Last night, he took out a slide and used it on his instrument to get this sound that made me feel like there was a violin (or maybe cello) in the room. Plus, with singer Tony in a bit of a keyboard cage, Mike is left to fill the stage and he does, proving that a bassist doesn’t have to be relegated to a corner bobbing their heads.

4.        More Piano Rock!

Piano rock might be my favorite of all genres. There is not enough exciting, solid rock music coming out these days, let along compelling tunes from this sub-genre. Crash Kings are masters at infusing my favorite instrument into a solid rock song. It’s the kind of music that makes the heart swell AND the head bob.

“Old new” music finally

There are a
couple songs on the album that I’ve heard before but have basically forgotten because they were never recorded and released. The band started playing “All Along” and I nearly squealed with the pleasure of re-visiting this song I hadn’t heard in years. That part of the song when the instruments pause and Tony’s voice breaks into the chorus…well, I’d forgotten what a breath-taking moment that was. I also had faint memories of a song that ended up being called “White Wolf” that is the perfect combination of beauty and drama and will just take you places.

“14 Arms” live

As a huge
fan of Crash Kings’ first album, it is an extreme pleasure to hear these songs once again performed on the stage. At The Troubadour we got the hit singles as well as songs like “1985” “It’s Only Wednesday” (fitting for the day), “Saving Grace” and “14 Arms” which happens to be the first Crash Kings song I ever heard and hence my “gateway” into Crash Kings fandom.

Crash Kings fans
are amazing people

I was
surprised by the number of people I knew who came out for the show. Talking with one of my friends, she said something about their being a number of awesome people she’s met because of Crash Kings. Looking around the room during the show, I couldn’t have imagined a better crowd; enthusiastic w/o being pushy, friendly w/o being drunk, and the kind of people who simply love good music. If you make it out to a Crash Kings show, do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to the people standing next to you. Instant friend.

Speaking of the tour, here are the dates. Be sure to get our early or stay late for the equally awesome Nico Vega!

July 11 — San Diego, Calif. — The Griffin

July 12 — LasVegas, Nev. — Hard Rock Café – Vegas Strip

July 13 — Salt Lake City, Utah — Bar Deluxe

July 14 — Denver, Col. — Bluebird Theater

July 16 — Kansas City, Ks. — Riot Room

July 18 — Dallas, Texas — The Door

July 19 — Austin, Texas — Stubb’s Jr.

July 20 — Houston, Texas — The Studio @ Warehouse Live

July 22 — Orlando, Fla. — The Social

July 23 — Jacksonville, Fla. — Jack Rabbits

July 25 — Atlanta, Ga. — Vinyl

July 26 — Columbia, S.C. — New Brookland Tavern

July 28 — Baltimore, Md. — Ram’s Head Live

July 31 — New York, N.Y. — Bowery Ballroom

Aug. 1 — West Chester, Penn. — The Note

Aug. 2 — Columbus, Ohio — The Basement

Aug. 5 — Nashville, TN — Exit/In

Aug. 6 — St. Louis, Mo. — Old Rock House

Aug. 8 — Chicago, Ill. — Abbey Pub

Aug. 10 —Cleveland, Ohio — Wendy Park

Aug. 11 — Pittsburgh, Penn. — Altar Bar

Aug. 13 — Syracuse, N.Y. — Westcott Theatre

Aug. 14 — Poughkeepsie, N.Y. — The Loft

Aug 16 — Cambridge, MA — The Sinclair

~ Kristen


Watch This + Tour Announcement: Imagine Dragons

One of my favorite bands from the KROQ Acoustic XMas extravaganza (pictures here and here) was definitely Imagine Dragons. It’s very gratifying to see one of you favorite “local bands” hit it so big.

There were a few big announcements this week from the Imagine Dragons camp. First, it was announced that the band’s debut album, Night Visions, has gone platinum. This was followed by the unveiling of the band’s video for “Radioactive”. Trust me, you’ll want to watch this…there is a killer teddy bear involved.

Finally, the first Imagine Dragons headlining tour! They’ve chosen some solid opening acts like Atlas Genius and Nico Vega. Here are the dates and venues:

FEB8  Marquee TheatreTempe/Phoenix, AZBuy Tickets
FEB9 The JointLas Vegas, NVBuy Tickets
FEB11 House of BluesDallas, TXBuy Tickets
FEB12 House of BluesHouston, TXBuy Tickets
FEB14 TabernacleAtlanta, GABuy Tickets
FEB16 The Orange PeelAsheville, NC, United StatesBuy Tickets
FEB18 Electric FactoryPhiladelphia, PABuy Tickets
FEB22 FillmoreSilver Spring, MDBuy Tickets
FEB23 Roseland BallroomNew York, NYBuy Tickets
FEB25 House of BluesBoston, MABuy Tickets
FEB27  Sound Academy, Toronto, ONBuy Tickets
FEB28 Egyptian RoomIndianapolis, IN, United StatesBuy Tickets
MAR2 The RaveMilwaukee, WIBuy Tickets
MAR4 House of Blues- ChicagoChicago, IL, United StatesBuy Tickets
MAR5 House of Blues- ChicagoChicago, IL, United StatesBuy Tickets
MAR6 The PageantSaint Louis, MO, United StatesBuy Tickets
MAR8 Varsity TheaterMinneapolis, MNBuy Tickets
MAR9 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, BC Buy Tickets
MAR11 Starlite RoomEdmonton, AB, CANBuy Tickets
MAR12 MacEwan Ballroom Calgary, AB Buy Tickets
MAR14 Commodore BallroomVancouver, BC, CanadaBuy Tickets
MAR15 Roseland TheaterPortland, ORBuy Tickets
MAR16 Warfield TheatreSan Francisco, CABuy Tickets
MAR18 House of BluesSan Diego, CABuy Tickets
MAR20 Wiltern TheatreLos Angeles, CABuy Tickets
MAR22 The ComplexSalt Lake City, UTBuy Tickets
~ Kristen

Fierce Creatures Tour!

While Fresno’s Fierce Creatures aren’t yet coming back to San Diego (March 11th) they are currently on tour! With their tour almost half over, they’ve been having a blast up in Northern Cali, Oregon, and now Washington.

Perhaps my favorite part of their tour is the poster…


How could you not love that? Makes me flash back to my childhood. Sigh.

Oh and keep some ears out. They have some new music to release coming in June. Much love to those Creatures!

Growing: Ivan and Alyosha

While I’ve only seen this band but once, they certainly captured my attention at SXSW. I suppose it’s only fitting that I receive a press announcement about them via email as well as a song premiere post on Facebook from Paste Magazine on the same day. Clearly, they are meant to have my attention today. I don’t really mind 🙂

I’m happy to report that this little band is doing quite well for itself after just an EP release. I’ve been slightly keeping up with them via Facebook but Missing Piece Group says it so much better,

“2011 saw Seattle folk-pop band Ivan & Alyosha play more than 150 shows in support of their EP Fathers Be Kind, highlighted by tours with Brandi Carlile, Aimee Mann, and Hey Rosetta! The EP has been recognized on Amazon’s Best Music of 2011 Thus Far, with that EP’s “I Was Born to Love Her” ranked at #4 on their Songs You May Have Missed round-up. This echoed the earlier inclusion of Fathers on NPR’s Best of the Year (So Far) list.”


Quite impressive! They are currently recording their debut album and will be on tour in March and April through May with Rosie Thomas. I hope to catch them here in SD and again at SXSW. Are they playing in your area?

Upcoming Tour Dates:


2 – Pullman, WA: Belltower Concert House
3 – Portland, OR: Bunk Bar
5 – Los Angeles, CA: The Echo
6 – San Diego, CA: Soda Bar
7 – Tucson, AZ: Plush
8 – Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Sol Live
11 – San Antonio, TX: The Big Spill Festival
13 – 18 – Austin, TX: SXSW Music Conference
21 – Lincoln, NE: Bourbon Theatre
22 – Denver, CO: Hi-Dive


25 – Portland, OR: Mississippi Studios
27 – San Francisco, CA: Hotel Utah
28 – Visalia, CA: The Cellar Door
29 – Los Angeles, CA: Hotel Cafe
30 – La Jolla, CA: The Loft at UCSD


1 – Phoenix, AZ: Rhythm Room
4 – Dallas, TX: LaGrange
5 – Austin, TX: Lamberts
6 – Tulsa, OK: Fassler Hall
8 – Denver, CO: Soiled Dove Underground
9 – Salt Lake City, UT: The State Room
11 – Seattle, WA – The Neptune

Twin Atlantic: new single, contest, and US tour dates!

This morning I was casually listening to a live internet chat with two of the members from Scottish alt rock band, Twin Atlantic. Sam (vocals) and Ross (bass) spend some time answering random questions from fans and then played a couple of tunes from their record, Free. One of the songs played was “Make a Beast of Myself” which, incidentally, is one of my favorites from the album and their newest single.  The band just released a video for this song. What’s more is that if you watch this video and can find and click on the hidden link, you’re entered into a contest to win a guitar that was used by Sam in the “Time For You To Stand Up” music video.

I think this idea for a contest is genius! Even if you don’t win the guitar, you can still get a free song download.

Here’s the video. The hint for the contest is that Sam likes to paint…


Even more exciting than the potential to win a guitar, is the guarantee to see these gents live during their upcoming US tour with AWOLNATION (another band that made my SXSW ’11 mix).  They come to LA in a little over a month! November 3rd at The Music Box.



Finally, in case you were wondering, my favorite question asked during the chat session: “What is your favorite Biffy Clyro song?”

Answer: Ross: “Bubbles” (off Only Revolutions)
Sam: “Eradicate The Doubt” (off  The Vertigo of Bliss)

There is no such thing as too much Biffy in one’s life…:)


~ Kristen

Free Download: Joe Firstman’s New Song!



Joe Firstman has a new record coming out September 6th. The title of the new CD is Swear It Was A Dream and the cover art is picture above. I know quite a few people (myself included) who will be very excited about this. Go here for a sneak peak of one of the new tunes, “Who’s Turnin Your Light Out?”. The first 200 people to ask can get a free download! So. GO!

Joe always seems to be out on the road. He’s got several dates this fall across the country:


Just stumbled across this video on Joe’s website. Funny, his answer to the question “what is your favorite thing about playing music?” is just about the same as my answer to why I like going to so many shows…no wonder I like this guy so much!


~ Kristen

Must Download: Dead Sara’s “Weatherman”

In anticipation of their album coming out this fall, LA rock quartet Dead Sara have released their first single, one of my favorite DS tunes, “Weatherman”. Dead Sara is one of the best bands coming out of LA right now (in my opinion). Go download their song and see for yourself. Blast it through the speakers and I dare you to resist the urge to rock out.


Now that you’re craving more, go join their email list to get another song from the forthcoming album for free!

Finally, since your interest has been piqued, go see them LIVE as they open for Bush on a portion of their fall tour. If you’re in LA, Dead Sara  has several upcoming gigs, including playing the SSMF on the 19th at The Roxy with Buckcherry.





~ Kristen