Feb 26

BIRDS OF TOKYO

Perth, Australia’s Birds Of Tokyo who have been a regular favorite of ours for a number of years and have returned with their first new music in quite some time. Over the course of their first two studio albums, 2007’s Day One and 2008’s Universes, Birds Of Tokyo carved out a niche for guitar driven anthems. Lots of touring around Australia gradually turned them into Triple J favorites and indie chart toppers. With their eponymous third release in 2010, things shifted up another gear. They won the ARIA Award for “Best Rock Album” and the APRA Award for “Best Rock Song.” They enjoyed genuine hit singles with “Plans” and “Wild At Heart” and earned multiplatinum certifications. With the addition of two new members, Glenn Sarangapany on keys and Ian Berney on bass, they consciously reinvented their approach to songwriting with a new Sydney studio space, plus time spent together in a remote French farmhouse helping to blaze new trails for the group. And if that wasn’t enough, they then went to Los Angeles to record with both a new producer, Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups) and a new mixer, Tony Hoffer (M83, Beck, The Kooks). Birds Of Tokyo recently released “Lanterns,” an early taste of the upcoming album, March Fires, which is scheduled for release next month. The band played MUSEXPO a few years ago and garnered quite a bit of label interest and they are currently in serious talks with a number of US majors and independents. The band is currently available for signing, licensing and booking in various markets worldwide.

LINK: www.birdsoftokyo.com

STREAM: “Lanterns”

Feb 19

LIFE DOWN HERE

Life Down Here began when then 16-year-old guitarist Michelle Blanchard dropped out of high school to pursue music and quickly gained notoriety for her playing. Soon after, she met bass player and songwriter Eli Shkurkin at a local rock show and they began to write songs together under the moniker “Lights Don’t Shine Down Here.” Jeff Dennis (guitar) and Nick Adams (drums) heard a demo tape and joined the band in 2011. After playing only a few shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles the group was discovered by super producer Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Papa Roach, Drowning Pool). Jay signed them to his label, NRG Artists, with the shortened name ‘Life Down Here’ and the quartet wrote songs with Marcos Curiel (P.O.D) and Jason Evigan (After Midnight Project). Their 11-track debut album, The Beginning, was released and received global radio airplay from the tune "All That You Are." The band has reached over 1 million views on YouTube, has over 80,000 fans on its social media and draws an average of 500 fans to each of its shows in Southern California; they also supported Paramore as a special request by the band last summer. Life Down Here has also performed at a variety of Pride events in Los Angeles, Nashville, San Francisco and Palm Springs and are currently on an extensive US high school tour.

LINK: www.lifedownhereband.com

STREAM: “Seven Letters”

Feb 11

SHEPPARD

A true family affair, siblings and band members George, Amy and Emma Sheppard started performing together at a young age. Joining forces with songwriter/guitarist Jay Bovino, guitarist Michael Butler and drummer Jared Tredly, the sextet is simply known as Sheppard. The Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) pop outfit has had quite the busy last year, which included a world tour performing in South Africa, the UK, the US, India and their native Australia. They released their five-song, self-titled EP with the lead track, “Let Me Down Easy,” that received a lot of international attention by way of blogs, television appearances and radio outlets. The melodic tune may have been born in Australia but contains cool alternative pop music with the potential to cross over to a variety of formats. The track was one of the most requested songs at influential commercial Alternative KNRK “94/7 FM” Portland by the end of 2012, which saw the band play a sold-out 1400 capacity show in Portland. The single has also been successful with college radio, even charting on the CMJ Top 200. Continuing the momentum built from the lead single, another track from the EP that has been getting some attention as of late is the charming, melody-driven “Pebble Road.” The band has been in talks with a number of labels and publishers internationally and is currently available for signing, licensing, publishing, sync and booking; they are managed in partnership with legendary promoter Michael Chugg.

LINK: www.wearesheppard.com

STREAM: “Pebble Road”

Feb 5

DIDO

Dido is no stranger to the music scene. She has a close history with A&R Worldwide as her first ever radio plays in the world for her demo tracks back in 1995 were by A&R Worldwide founder Sat Bisla on his import radio show (two years prior to her signing with Arista Records in the US), which he received from Cheeky Records Co-Founder Mel Medalie (the label that originally supported and signed Dido). Her first two albums No Angel and Life For Rent are among the best-selling albums in UK Chart history and are both Top 10 best-selling albums of the 2000s in the UK. After making her recording debut with Faithless, she released her debut single “Here With Me” in 1998. The hits continued with “Thank You,” which was sampled for the Eminem smash hit “Stan,” “White Flag” and “Sand In My Shoes” to name a few. She has been featured on songs with Santana, Annie Lennox and was a part of the Band Aid 20 ensemble in 2004. Dido has sold over 38 million albums worldwide and is ready to return with a new album, Girl Who Got Away, next month. Dido’s fourth studio release has been rumored to feature production from Dido’s brother, Rollo Armstrong, in addition to Sister Bliss, A.R. Rhaman, Jon Brion and Brian Eno. The first offering was the collaborative track “Let Us Move On” with Compton, CA rapper Kendrick Lamar in late 2012, which gave a glimpse of the new material. She has since released the next single, “No Freedom.” Written by Dido and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Rick Nowels (Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds), the track was produced by Rollo along with Dido and Nowels. The song mirrors the sound of “Thank You” and “White Flag” and has already seen early support from Triple A and Alternative radio.

LINK: www.didomusic.com

STREAM: “No Freedom”