Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The dark horse at this year's Grammys?

2013 was a large year for Imagine Dragons. At Sunday night's Grammy Awards, they will be up for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance, and even performing a duet with rapper Kendrick Lamar (!).
Guest blogging on Talk About the Passion is Brian Bingaman Jr. of Souderton Area High School's "The Arrowhead." This story appeared in "The Arrowhead" Dec. 20, 2013 (It has been edited by me for style). Since it's not easy to find the online version of the school paper ...

Over the past three years, the band Imagine Dragons has made a charge on the alternative rock and pop music industries.
Imagine Dragons started in 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada when lead singer Dan Reynolds met the band’s drummer, Andrew Tolman. Tolman got longtime high school friend Daniel Wayne Sermon to play guitar and various other instruments, like the mandolin. Sermon then added Ben McKee to play the keyboards and complete the band.
It all started coming together for the band during a small gig in a casino in Las Vegas. 
 During the six-hour set, Reynolds collapsed on stage. He came through and finished the set.
“Something about that moment bonded us and made us realize that we were building a connection with people from all over the country,” said Reynolds. 
“We got a standing ovation from all the people at this tiny little casino at 3 a.m. on a weekday in Las Vegas,” said Reynolds.
The band has only gone up since then. In 2010 the band got their start up with releasing two EP’s (Extended Play) titled "Imagine Dragons EP" and "Hell and Silence EP."
 After getting signed by Interscope Records, the band worked with producer Alexander Grant (known as Alex Da Kid) to put out their first major label release, an EP titled "Continued Silence." After its release, the single "It’s Time" came out, and peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Top 100 list.  

After "It’s Time," the band had nowhere to go but up. They started to work on their first album, which they released in the summer of 2012, titled "Night Visions." The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard top 200. 
After "Night Visions," the band started to release hit single after hit single.  
The second single the band released after "It’s Time" was "Radioactive," a song that features an almost electronic feel, with catchy lyrics and beats, the song hit No. 1 on Billboard's alternative rock, and rock charts. 

The third single released, "Demons," with meaningful lyrics and slow tempo, attracted much more than just the alternative rock fans. This single reached No. 2 on Billboard's alternative and rock charts, and also No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.  

 Imagine Dragons' music has been known to feature various instruments, creating a new sound for alternative rock and pop listeners. 
“Their music makes me feel good and energetic,” said junior Gina Reitenauer.  
Imagine Dragons has also taken part in fighting childhood cancer. The band became close to a boy named Tyler Robinson, who at the time was a cancer survivor. Together with his family they created the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which raises money to help the families of kids with cancer to be able to make medical payments and help with bills. 
Unfortunately Robinson’s cancer came back unexpectedly and he died. Even with the loss, the band is still a big part of the foundation, and pays respects to Tyler at each concert. 
On the Tyler Robinson Foundation website, it says his favorite song was "It’s Time." 
The lyrics of the song tied into his story. “The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell” was his “theme” through his treatments. 
The band has made a solid impact on the music industry and its fans. They have branched off into the pop music scene and have reached out to listeners as well. 
Expect more to come from Imagine Dragons in the near future. 
Got an idea for a guest blog post? Email me at bbingaman@thereporteronline.com or reach out via www.facebook.com/brianbingamanreporter or Twitter @brianbingaman.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Harleysville indie rocker takes to Kickstarter to make new album

Nathan Allebach, aka Earl, became an "artist to watch" for me ever since I stumbled onto the folk and indie shows he had been organizing at Rock Community Church in Vernfield, Lower Salford.
Since then, he's made the most of opportunities to perform his songs in some prime venues, such as Siren Records in Doylestown, The Note in West Chester, and Milkboy, the North Star Bar and The Fire in Philadelphia, and even playing live on WRFF-FM Radio 104.5. 
Allebach and his ladyfriend, Rachel Moyer, have started making beautiful music together in more ways than one, and are asking fans to help offset the costs of recording their debut album, titled "Repose," via Kickstarter.
Understanding that it takes financial backing to fully realize most major creative projects, Kickstarter was launched in 2009 (the same year as Talk About the Passion) to "crowdfund" the endeavors of artistic types of many stripes. It's a revolutionary game-changer for the arts! If you have enough supporters, it'll take a lot more than one Simon-Cowell-like naysayer to squelch your dreams.
The "Earl and Joy" album has been on Kickstarter since Jan. 6, and the goal is to raise $6,500 in a month. The itemized budget of how much is needed for what is posted to their page. With three weeks to go as of this post, they've received more than $2,000 of support, but still have a ways to go. Pledges of $1 or more come with a variety of thank-you incentive gifts, so check it out.
And meanwhile, here's a link to music by Allebach's Earl & Raine.