I seriously doubt Ben Lee can time travel nor do I think DeLoreans have Doc Brown capability in real life. Having said that, in many ways, it feels like Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee went Back to the Future with his latest album. Apologies for all the BTTF references, but it's pretty spot on. His Warner Bros. Records debut album Love is the Great Rebellion, which dropped last month, is really a return to his earlier days - notably breakthrough album Awake is The New Sleep, which came out ten years ago already. Giga...what? My how time has flown by.
Anyway, to back up the garbled intro I came up with above, Lee got back together with Awake producer Brad Wood to return to that early vibe but let me point out right now: Love is the Great Rebeliion isn't simply a retread. It's an expansion of the sound (check first single "Big Love's" big use of ukulele) with perhaps weightier, more reflective lyrics. Lee, afterall, has been in the industry for two decades. Giga... Oh, I did that line already.
Moving on, aside from the ninth LP of his career, Lee just self-released A Mix Tape From Ben Lee, which has been in the works for quite some time and features collaborations with Zooey Deschanel, Ben Folds, Sean Lennon, and others. The Mixtape, by the way, is available on a Radiohead-esque "donate what you want" scale. All proceeds are going to the Q'Ero Project, which supports the Q'ero people of Peru. Rather than expand any further on the awesomeness that is Ben Lee, let's get right to the A-Sides session he did for us at Primary Wave in New York City earlier this month. Watch the video, which was filmed by shootmepeter.com, as he poignantly runs through two new tracks, and sits down for an insightful, honest interview. If only all artists were this down-to-earth and inspiring. Sigh. Anyway, get happy...
For an exclusive A-Sides performance of "Everybody Dies," click here.
Intern Diary: The Making of the "A"
By JJ Asuming-Tawiah AKA The Intern Extraordinaire
With the launch of our new website ThisIsASides.com, the A-Sides team is continuing to up the ante and work it hard Missy Elliott style. (Google her if you must, but I hope you don't have to.) Founder Jon Chattman enrolled the help of his trusty interns and longtime friend Max Steiner to create a new object for artists to hold up after a session. Previously, an "A-Sides Record" was used for talent to hold up in a mugshot fashion -- to document the experience even further. But with the new sleek look, he decided it was only right for something much cooler to be created. It's time to introduce the A-Sides "A." Here's how it was created. Literally. Hoist it like the Stanley Cup future session takers.
Watch the video below featuring a dope remix of our Blondfire theme song by The Crateful Head. And for background: Max Steiner is well known in the art, fashion and entertainment world for having created pieces for Ke$ha, Tyra Banks, Laverne Cox, and has been featured on numerous magazines and publications like the Cosmopolitan, GQ, Playboy, Complex, New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few.
When I stepped into his artist studio, I was greeted by several multi-colored cat masks and some killer...and I mean killer jewelry made out of knives. He conceptualizes and creates everything with love, especially his infamous "Daddy's Little Girl" knuckle accessory! Anyway, here's the "A."
Once again, thank you to Mr. Max for helping us out at A-Sides and for letting me wear one of your insanely cool masks!
A-Sides "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve" based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released -- think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my toddler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my newborn.
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Jon Chattman's music series features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Air Supply, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and Bastille.