Category Archives: LA Music Critic Awards

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 13

Welcome to April.  We had three snow events yesterday to remind us that Mother Nature is still in charge.  Looking forward to warmer weather and our annual trip down to Los Angeles.  Hope to catch some great indie music while we’re in town June 14-27, as well as the eighth annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.  In the meantime, let’s check out some of the latest news and releases by and from indie artists.

ALICE WALLACE MAKES SEMI-FINAL ROUND

LA Music Critic Award winner Alice Wallace has achieved the semi-final round in the annual Songwriter Serenade competition in Moravia, Texas.  She is one of 15 who will compete on May 6 for a chance at $7,000 in prize money.  The contestants will each play two songs at the morning showcase.  Seven of those contestants will then play one additional song after lunch before the afternoon awards show.  The winner will then open a concert featuring Susan Gibson, Carrie Rodriguez and Walt Wilkins that night at the Bugle Boy in La Grange, Texas.  We will keep you updated on Wallace as she attempts to win the competition.  Tickets for the competition are available online, and for the Bugle Boy concert here.

SEE DEBUTS NEW MUSIC VIDEO

Blue Élan Records artist See has released a music video for her song “Green Line Killer,” from her upcoming debut EP Ties.  Check out this multi-talented young artist and pre-order your copy today.

THE SHOW PONIES DEBUT NEW VIDEO ON FEATURING EVERYBODY

Rising Americana band The Show Ponies have released the second video from their critically acclaimed album How it all Goes Down through Featuring Everybody.   Check out the video and see why critics and fans alike are clamoring for more from these future Grammy winners.

KING WASHINGTON RELEASES MUSIC VIDEOS

LA-based band King Washington recently signed with The End Records and will be releasing their album Potential on May 19.  In the meantime, they have released a music video for their song “My Reflection” as well as their new single “Superman.”  Check them out below and let us know what you think about the future of one of LA’s premier bands.

JERAD FINCK RELEASES LYRIC VIDEO FOR ‘TAKE ME WITH YOU’

Jerad Finck continues his torrid climb to the top of the pop charts with the release of his latest lyric video.  We think you’ll agree that this indie artist is definitely on his way and will soon become a household name.

That’s it for this week.  Catch you next week, same bat time, same bat channel.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Allison Iraheta

Over the past few years, we have had the chance to see quite a few of our indie music friends take the national stage on American Idol and The Voice, including Brooke White, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, and Justin Hopkins, to name a few.  However, this is the first time that we have become friends with an artist who has gone indie after appearing on one of those shows.  Thanks to Patrick O’Heffernan for introducing us.

We had a delightful time interviewing Allison Iraheta, who appeared on season 8 of American Idol and was originally signed to Jive Records.  Many of her greatest achievements, though, have been accomplished after she became an indie artist.  Iraheta was the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Female Artist for the first half of 2016, primarily on the strength of her band’s single, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”  Iraheta and Halo Circus also finished second in the Fan Favorite category.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AI:  Since I was six years old when I got my first gig at an opening for a department store.  I sang a ranchera song.  I was also a big fan of Selena, but unlike her, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and primarily spoke Spanish, being the child of Salvadorian parents.  We were surrounded by a true cultural mix of music.  I loved the emotion behind rancheras music, which in turn became the inspiration for our current music.  I recently turned 24.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

AI:  My first big influence was Linda Ronstadt, especially her album “Canciones de mi Padre.”  My dad also turned me on to Paul Williams.  Other artists that inspired me included Amy Winehouse, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead  This definitely led to our music being very diverse.  We didn’t have to be stuck with one sound but were able to show a myriad of colors.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

AI:  I didn’t really have much of a choice.  As you know, I was signed to Jive Records just as the old music business began to fall apart.  There were lots of job upheavals and a change in the rules, affecting the whole industry.  I was actually dropped by Jive in the middle of my tour and found out about it via Twitter.  I was only 18, but decided to finish out the tour.  It was in shock, having gone from nothing to successful and then back again.  Once I got back from tour, I didn’t know where I was musically, and felt lost, not sure what to do anymore.  I did a few demos to make money and was very close to giving up on the industry.  I felt betrayed and injured and was not yet aware of the DIY side of the industry.  However, I don’t hold any resentments and am still friends with some of those same industry people.

I met Matthew (Hager) when I was doing a demo for a song he was pitching to Carrie Underwood.  We started writing together and I returned to my roots to find inspiration.  Everything we were doing sounded like it needed to be done by a band, which led to the formation of Halo Circus in 2013.  The support we have received is what has propelled us to where we are now, and new opportunities are happening all the time.  Everyone in the band is a veteran musician.  Matthew was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.  Brian Stead was and is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma.  In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC before leaving Halo Circus.  She was replaced by Stead’s friend, Matteo Eyia.  

Magic happens in this band.  It happened when we were writing, when we were recording, and when we were failing.  The only thing that mattered was keeping it honest and getting it right, whatever that meant. We may be inconvenient, but we continue to attract believers.

IVB:  Do you want to go back to being a mainstream artist?

AI:  There is a balance to moving on from the previous level of exposure to the creative freedom we have now.  We believe we can return to that level, but on our own terms.  We are doing it through the back channel and believe that is a better way for us to return.  We love what is happening in the indie scene.

Last February, we shocked the music industry when we announced in Billboard Magazine that we would be embarking on the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a large scale.  With the help of our fans and Road Nation, the program that allowed this format, we reached full funding just nine weeks later, and confirmed a tour of 30 cities.

IVB:  What are your future plans? 

AI:  We are definitely going back on tour in the not too distant future.  We would love to revisit some of the places where we played on our last tour.  We have some new stuff on the horizon and are so proud of those who have supported us from the beginning.  There will be surprises and thank you’s and fun stuff for everyone.

IVB:   Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

AI.  During the tour we were scheduled to play a show in Orlando during Hurricane Matthew.  We played the show despite the weather.  When we got to the venue under very gray clouds, there were about 30 of our fans waiting for us with signs proclaiming “End of the World” show.  We lost our AirBnB reservation for the night due to the storm, and had no place to stay after the show.  Consequently, we started heading out of Orlando, but couldn’t find anyplace open that had gas or water.  We did finally find some gas, and just kept driving until we found a hotel where we could stay.  It was a scary time and we saw cars driving on the wrong side of the road, trying to get away from the storm.

IVB:  What is the significance of the rabbit?

AI:  It represented humans for me during the writing of our first album Bunny.  I seemed to notice them everywhere.  The totem for bunny meant prey, with their fluffy tails for hawks to see, but they are also very cute, adorable and fast.  I came to the conclusion that the prettier you are, the more different you are, the more likely you are to become prey.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

AI:  I have a Facebook page with a link to the band’s website.  I also use Twitter and Instagram, and of course we have a channel on YouTube, all of which our fans can subscribe to or follow.

Announcement of LA Music Critic Award winners for second half of 2016

If we haven’t said this enough, 2016 was a banner year for indie music.  Indie artists were recognized for Grammy nominations and wins, as well as crashing into the Billboard Top 40 charts.  In addition, 2017 is looking like a continuation of this indie tide.

Save the date of June 21, 2017 for the first LIVE awards show celebrating the best of the LA Music Critic Awards, to be held in Los Angeles.  We’ll have performances by some of your favorites as well as give out awards reflecting the best of the best.  More details will be available as the event is finalized.

Back to the present, where we are so thrilled to finally be able to announce to  you the winners of the second half of 2016 for the LA Music Critic Awards.

Here we go . . .

Best EP Female: Katie Costello (From the Vault), Amie Miriello (Seeya When I Seeya), Gina Sicilia (Sunset Avenue)

Best EP Male:  McDougall (Reaching for Some Light), Year of Suns (Songs for Silence)

Best EP Band:  Stereo Off (EP III), The Spider Accomplice (LA:  The Abduction), JERK (Jerk)

Best CD Female:  Camille Bloom (Pieces of Me), Lauren Adams (Somewhere Else), Sonia Rao (Meet Them at the Door), Janey Street (Janey Street), Cindy Alexander (Deep Waters), Kari Kimmel (Poppyfields)

Best CD Male:  Sharif (Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles), Bobbo Byrnes (Motel Americana), Patrick Joseph (Hindsight), Josh Farrow (Trouble Walks With Me), Michael Hornbuckle (Soul Repo)

Best CD Band: Streets of Laredo (Wild), Spiritual Rez (Setting in the West), The Congress (The Game), Spelling Reform (No One’s Ever Changed), Daddy Issues (Handle It)

Best Christmas Single:  Shannon Hurley ft. Brandon Schott (“Fairytale of New York”), Cindy Alexander (“Christmas Song”), Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”), Kaylee Keller (“Christmas in Your Arms”)

Best Video (Holiday):  Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Redhead Express (“Away in a Manger”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”)

Best Video (cover):  No Small Children (“Ghostbusters”), Redhead Express (“Chocolate on my Tongue”), Redhead Express (“Clean”)

Best Video (live):  Patrick Joseph (“Piece of Your Love”), India Carney (“You”), Mitch Hayes (“All Fall Down”), The Congress (“Oh Babe”)

Best Video (lyric):  Jess Penner (“Together”), War and Pierce (“On and On”), Mikey Wax (“Helium”)

Best Video (official) Female:   Lucy Woodward (“Live Live Live”), Alexis Keegan (“Empty Heart”), Camille Bloom (“Pieces of Me”), Caitlin Eadie (“Don’t Want to Be”), Alyssa Jacey (“I Want it to Rain”), Shannon Hurley (“Heartbeat on the Radio”), Katie Garibaldi (“Delightful”)

Best Video (official) Male:   Jon Mullane (“Born Beautiful”), Dan Franklin (“Live to Dream Again”), Brian Travis (“Shipwreck”)

Best Video (official) Band:   The Spider Accomplice (“You Still Lie”), The Show Ponies (“The Time it Takes”), Spiritual Rez ft. Hirie (“Together Always”), The Congress (“Home Again”), Roots of Creation (“Struggle”), Sleep Machine (“Animal High”)

Best Video (Collaboration):  Earwig and Lydia Loveless (“Wasted on You”)

Best Rock Band:  The Spider Accomplice, Daddy Issues, Pollen Rx, Sleep Machine

Best Pop Band:  Lovers and Poets, Foxtraxx, The Congress, Ray and Remora, No Nets

Best Country/Americana Band:  Elouise Deep Water, The Show Ponies, Riddle and the Stars, Honey County

Best Reggae Band:  Roots of Creation, Spiritual Rez

Best Pop/Rock Male Artist: Patrick Joseph, Year of Suns, McDougall, Mikey Wax

Best Pop/Rock Female Artist:  Jess Penner, Katie Costello, Cindy Alexander, Janey Street, Camille Bloom

Best Blues Artist:  Peach & the Almost Blues Band, The King Brothers, Papermoon Gypsys, Michael Hornbuckle

Best Country/Americana Artist:  Alice Wallace, Lauren Adams, Brian Travis, Katie Garibaldi, Mitch Hayes

Best Jazz Artist:  Lucy Woodward, Nancy Sanchez

Rising Star:  Juliana Wilson, Meresha, Kaylee Keller, Rachel Brett

Fan Favorite:  Once again the fans were very vocal in support of their favorite artist.  Early indications were that it would be a landslide for Eloise Black Water, but she and her band were overtaken by the rabid fans of Janey Street and Papermoon Gypsys.  Cindy Alexander fans even made a dark horse attempt, but they were unable to overcome the previous three.  When the dust cleared, Papermoon Gypsys rose to the top, followed by Janey Street, Eloise Black Water and Cindy Alexander.  Other artists nominated included Michael Hornbuckle, Mitch Hayes, Peach, Daddy Issues, and Jon Mullane.

Icon Award:  This award did not draw much attention this year, so it was left to the committee to pick a winner.  Looking back on the past few years, one name kept coming to the top for their ardent support of their clients, their clear presence in the world, their drive and their diligence to their craft.  This year’s Icon Award winner is Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR.

Most Supportive PR Firm:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Most Supportive Indie Label:  Blue Élan Records

Most Impressive Crowdfunding Campaign:  Clare Means

Best Use of Patreon Platform:  Marina V

Most Likely to go Mainstream:  Jerad Finck

Most Deserving of Indie Music Hall of Fame:  Janey Street