HITS Daily Double
“Have you heard that bands don't have to rely on major labels anymore? Anyone out there have 360 fatigue? I'm exhausted hearing about this new paradigm.”
——Andrew Harper


Another Fresh Batch of Way Cool Bands for Your Holiday Weakend Listening, Plus XMU PD Billy Zero’s Indie-Rock Top 30

We know this is probably interrupting your long-awaited beer fest and fireworks show, but we’ve got some fireworks of our own this week. Those crackberrys come in handy right about now, because we know you’re just dying to get your dose—but don’t worry, if you’ve missed us this week, we’ll remind you next week why you tune in. Take a read, take a listen and let us know what you think. We’re spotlighting some very impressive bands, and we encourage everyone to take a listen. Also, Andrew Harper checks back in to hype us on some cool things going on in the world of licensing and to tell us about a really cool group, Von Iva, from San Francisco. Please keep hitting us up because, even though it’s a holiday weekend, that won’t stop us from listening to your music. Hit us up at [email protected] and [email protected].

West Indian Girl
has exploded onto the Los Angeles music scene with their special blend of melodic pop and rock timbre. The sextet is taking audiences by storm with tracks like “To Die in LA” and “Blue Wave” off of their sophomore album, 4th and Wall. Impeccable musicianship and unparalleled energy drop this band in a category all their own. Be prepared to enter an alternate universe when they take the stage. With sounds reminiscent of a more psychedelic Jane’s Addiction, West Indian Girl will keep you dancing well into the night. Says bassist Francis Ten, “We are the best band that you haven’t heard about yet!” So what are you waiting for? Go to www.westindiangirl.com and find out when they’re coming through your town.

You Said Saturday
sprang from a casual meeting between best friends Peter Scott and Joshua Young, in the spring of 2005. What started as a session to share songs quickly escalated into a full-blown band, ready to rock. After recruiting friends and fellow musicians Tariq Mills and Travis Craig, the four-piece headed to Rec Room Studios in L.A. to record. Through weekly rehearsal sessions and a great deal of dedication, songs like “Orbit” and “Downtown Lights” have emerged, indicating that You Said Saturday is a band to watch. Find out why at www.myspace/yousaidsaturday.

Selected by PD Billy Zero, king of all things indie:
Dandy Warhols
Ting Tings
Last Shadow Puppets
Black Keys
Death Cab for Cutie
Charlatans UK
Walter Meego
Mates Of State
Cut Copy
Fleet Foxes
Explorers Club
Tilly and the Wall
Hold Steady
Albert Hammond Jr.
Sigur Ros
Hercules and Love Affair
Black Kids
Jamie Lidell
Tokyo Police Club

Wheels Goes International:
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be telling you guys about some impressive artists coming our way via Last Gang Records in Canada. Pretty cool, eh?

Crystal Castles: The first band from Last Gang, this electronica band from St. Helena in the U.K. has a pretty interesting and different sound that we’ll be telling you more about in the coming weeks. Peep out their music at www.myspace.com/crystalcastles and keep checking back with us, as we continue to grow their story.

Blue Sky Reality
: These pop-rockers from Woodland Hills came to us just last weekend and instantly blew us away. They’re in the mold of OneRepublic and Maroon 5, with very impressive songwriting. BSR are currently finishing up their record and will be playing some dates around the LA area. Expect big things from these guys in the future; we’ll be keeping a close eye on them, and you should too. (www.myspace.com/blueskyreality)

Anthony David:
This Universal Republic recording artist just released his debut album on India Arie’s newly launched Soulbird label. This is an artist we are definitely watching closely. On his current single “Words,” featuring India.Arie, Anthony’s vocal reminds me of Seal. Did Universal hit the jackpot with this one? We’ll wait to see. This will take some time to grow. (www.anthonydavidmusic.com)

These Green Eyes: An emo band signed to new indie label Blackledge Music, launched by former Epic A&R exec Ben Goldman (Chevelle, Ben Folds Five, Fuel), These Green Eyes combine high energy and top-notch material, including at least one surefire smash in “Paramedic.” They just rocked Rehab in New York, and we hope to have some footage from this show in the coming weeks to show you how great these guys are. (www.myspace.com/thesegreeneyes)

Here are some other cool bands/artists to check out:
: Ashes, the trio’s second album, is at its heart the chronicle of a musical, emotional and literal journey taken by frontman and songwriter Raman Kia. Growing up in Tehran, Raman witnessed the violence of the Islamic Revolution, and he fled to the U.K. with his father. In London, he was reunited with his mother, whom he had not seen in years, and he was put into a strict regimented military school. As he grew up, the feelings that Kia was unable to articulate in words alone found expression in songs. He then gathered his repertoire of songs and headed for the U.S. to pursue a record deal. He signed with Interscope, but nothing ever came about because he wasn’t allowed to express his music the way he wanted to. It was then that he decided to use the DIY method. He linked up with bassist Toby Evers and guitarist Simon Gibson, and they played over 400 shows in a span of two years. It was during their cramped sessions in the van that their sound as a band became defined. Their 2004 debut, Crossing the Invisible Line, showcased a prodigious talent with the vocal prowess of Thom Yorke and a band so skilled at arranging that it recalled vintage U2 or contemporary Coldplay. The band, however, was just beginning to scratch the surface of what they were to become. With this new album, Raman finally has something special to hang his hat on. It’s not every day that you can find a band that has an amazing sound and an even more amazing story. I’m touting this one very highly. Take a listen and tell me what you think. (www.myspace.com/buddahead)

George Stanford: This Pennsylvania-born stud made his way to the top of our charts with catchy tracks like “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Get Free,” and on a quest to break through in the fiercely competitive L.A. music scene, George left his job, family and band of five years and headed west. Armed with determination, and perhaps a little naiveté, this free spirit landed right where he needed to be, at Mercury Records, and his timing could not have been more impeccable. George is holding up the caboose at the revived Mercury and released his first album on June 3, 2008. We just hope he brought his parachute.

This World Fair: July promises to be a busy month for This World Fair, as the group makes its way across the U.S. alongside melodic indie rock band Barcelona. Watch out Barcelona, fans will be showing up early to catch these show-stealing Minnesota pop-rockers. Humility aside, TWF’s music was featured in last year’s DreamWorks/Paramount film Disturbia and will soon be heard in the upcoming film The Other Side of the Tracks, by the producers of Ray and Beowulf. Managed by Grammy-winning producer Stephen Short (Ping Pong Music), This World Fair is sure to capture fans with the story and the magic. Our top picks: “Drama,” “This Morning” and “San Francisco.” Find out what all the rage is at here, and let me know you’re listening. (www.myspace.com/thisworldfair)

The World of Music Licensing:
A Nod to the New Gatekeepers
Have you heard that bands don't have to rely on major labels anymore? Anyone out there have 360 fatigue? I'm exhausted hearing about this new paradigm. Thankfully, this is not what this week's column is about.

The gatekeepers of today are music supervisors. Revenue from licensing music in TV, film, videogames and advertising among others will be crucial in sustaining an act over the long haul. This platform promotes the artist in a unique way, but more importantly, the income from licensing can go far in funding a recording session, tour support and just the basic capital to fuel the enterprise.

Boutique publishing company Hunnypot Unlimited has helped create a culture to bring people together in the world of music licensing. Trendsetting publisher John Anderson and rockstar music supervisor PJ Bloom, along with tastemaker Manny Montiel have established the Hunnypot brand through their monthly music and social events, weekly live radio show, and showcases at SXSW and other music conferences. They’ve shown golden ears for new music with artists like Bloody Beetroots, So Sweet Records DJ Le Castle Vania, hip-hop phenom Hollywood Holt, punk-rock juggernauts Teenage Bottlerocket, and Girl in a Coma. Picking the best of the best from niche genres, Hunnypot is building a well-rounded catalog that is sure to have a positive effect on pop culture.

It's a fragmented world we live in. The future infrastructure of this business will be comprised of multiple companies serving the crucial needs of artists to sustain a career year to year. What other companies out there are making a positive impact in today's world? Hit me up [email protected]

Von Iva: After putting out their first full-length Our Own Island on their own, San Francisco's Von Iva have new songs for the next release. You must see this band live to experience singer Jillian Iva transform a room of partygoers into possessed devotees with her swagger and stage presence. The band's sound is built on Iva's unique soul powered vocals, keyboardist Becky Kupersmith's ability to fill frequencies using various synths and organs to capture the thump and crunch, a la Justice and MSTRKRFT, and drummer Kelly Harris who embodies Clem Burke in her late-’70s disco drumming and classic-rock beats. They’ve hit the road hard to win over fans on both coasts and in the heartland. They were hired by ace music supervisor Jonathan Karp (Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Knocked Up) and director Peyton Reed to write and perform four original songs with Zooey Deschanel for the Warner Bros. feature Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey. The film's fictional art-wave band will make its public debut when the film premieres this December. See Von Iva live at The Echo on July 8. Currently seeking partner for album release, licensing, sponsorship, and publishing opportunities. (http://www.myspace.com/voniva)