I AM THE THIRD

13 07 2013

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!

“It’s important to have goals and dreams,” Alec Stephens III tells me, the lead singer and frontman of the soulful and funky Bushwick music collective I AM THE THIRD, “and to me it kind of speaks to the music that we create, which is positive, but real. Stuff that people struggling could relate to, people hustling could relate to, people striving could relate to… Celebrating where you are and where you want to go – that’s what our music is to me.” Minutes ago I AM THE THIRD successfully headlined the show at Rockwood Music Hall, a two-space venue located on one of the many dimly lit streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s not an easy task for a local music collective – that isn’t even local to the area they are playing – to bring a big crowd for the show that begins less than an hour to midnight on a Sunday, but I AM THE THIRD did just that and the band couldn’t be happier with the big turn-out. It’s now long past midnight and we are standing outside the venue in the breeze too cold for April. Constantly interrupted by the local homeless we are chatting about the essence that makes I AM THE THIRD the band that it is today.

THE BUSHWICK SOUND

“A lot of people ask me what genre of music we play, and I could never quite pinpoint it. The sound that we create comes from many different musical inspirations,” bassist Kat Melen shares. “However different, those inspirations are blending together really well at this point,” adds keyboardist Brandon Bujnowski. “We’ve been together for two years now and all of our different styles and backgrounds that we come from are turning into one thing that is I AM THE THIRD. We have ‘the sound’ now that we all understand and respect.”

“Prince pioneered the Minneapolis sound,” Kat laughs, ”so I guess we’re pioneering the Bushwick sound.”

We all laugh along, but she is right. It’s difficult to accurately describe the band’s sound. Although deeply rooted in soul, funk, R&B, and indie rock, the music that I AM THE THIRD creates is nothing like any of the mentioned genres. It’s an original explosion of telepathic energy within a large group of people. The musicians are then able to radiate that same energy onto the crowd and pull everyone around them into their own positivity ritual. A tight rhythmic section, consisting of the drummer Steve Rays, percussionist LS Bell, and bassist Kat Melen, provides an ever-present tribal spirit. Brandon Bujnowski’s quick and playful touch on keys dances along to the beat, while Dan Victor’s guitar ties the whole wild rhythm together. As the soulful voice of Alec Stephens III soars over the music you can imagine the risky harmonies falling apart at any second, but they never do. The musicians feel exactly where they are all going with their music and they hit it just right.


“Groove Machine” live performance from Rockwood

THE ORIGINS

“I come from an acting background,” Alec tells me, “but when I moved to Brooklyn I was inspired by the music scene there. Soon enough I wanted to be a part of it.”

“First time I met Alec,” Dan recalls, “he was the MC at a newly formed Potion Collective open mic. He would introduce the bands that went on to play.”

A lot of musicians of I AM THE THIRD met in one way or another through these Potion Collective open mic nights, but Alec was the catalyst that put the band together. “He really has a vision and we let him guide that vision,” Dan explains. “We all come from different backgrounds musically and we all contribute our own personal touch. We create music that truly is a blend. We’re inspired and we’re trying to attain a certain level of being, a connection with people.”

ONWARD! »»





JEANNE MARIE BOES: Hard work breeds sweet fruits

29 11 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!

“HARD WORK BREEDS SWEET FRUITS.”

“Someday I want to make my living just playing music,” Jeanne Marie Boes tells me. This young singer-songwriter from Astoria, Queens doesn’t doubt her upcoming success one bit. “Music is my life,” she says, “I go to sleep and wake up to it. For the last few years I’ve been taking every possible way to make it as a performer and I believe that hard work breeds sweet fruits.” There is not a sign of doubt in Jeanne’s voice and upon listening to her music performed live and on her records I must admit her confidence is well-deserved.

Jeanne on BalconyTV in 2012 – watch the video here

Jeanne grew up in a house where Frank Sinatra was played alongside Led Zeppelin, so her musical background is anything but one-sided. “My parents always listened to different kinds of music and I loved it. We had a piano in the house, so naturally I began tapping the keys and hearing the different sounds it made. I started playing the piano seriously at an early age and simply never stopped. Probably never will,” says Jeanne.

Jeanne’s latest video for “Answered Call”

ONWARD! »»





MMPR interview: Power Rangers reimagined!

18 08 2012

“Alpha, Rita’s escaped! Recruit a team of teenagers with attitude!”

… Not exactly.

Presenting (cue the lightning bolts!) MMPR: Power Rangers reimagined!

As you probably guessed, once SNT heard the awesome folks at Codebreaker Productions and Rollin Studios were shooting a brand new POWER RANGERS WEB SERIES – we were all over it.

Director/Cinematographer Dominick Sivilli and Producer Louis Maldarelli answered some questions for SNT about their latest project, which was kept strictly under wraps – until now! The teaser trailer is premiering at the Official Power Morphicon convention in Los Angeles this weekend, and is now LIVE on the web!

Questions and teaser after the jump!

ONWARD! »»





MARY DESIREE: Music is my sanctuary

25 07 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!

“MUSIC IS MY SANCTUARY.”

“Music is my sanctuary,” says Mary Desiree. “It’s my shelter from the wind when I feel angry or upset. To me music is like libraries and diners… When I’m feeling mad or upset about something – that’s where I go to find peace. Or I just sit down and write a song!”

Mary Desiree, the 21-year old singer and songwriter from Queens comes across as a quiet girl with a radiant smile, but this is a classic case of don’t-judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover. Her music speaks of heartbreaks and loss. “Music is very personal to me,” says Mary. “Every song I write is based on something real, something that I have experienced. This is my way of dealing with things.” She admits, however, that the first few songs she ever wrote were a lot happier. “I was a high school sophomore taking vocal training classes and writing a well-structured song was a homework assignment. And just like any normal sixteen-year-old I wrote about love and wore a heart on my sleeve. It was very cheesy. But that was years ago. Time passed. I got introduced to new things. New experiences happened. My view on the world had changed and, naturally, so did my songwriting.”

Now Mary Desiree is a waitress and a mother, but often enough she picks up her guitar and makes the magic happen. “Having so much to do every day makes me tired and more irritable. And when I get irritated – I write. It’s a great way to release emotions. Anger is my inspiration nowadays and songwriting is my way of coping with it. I realized that the songs that I wrote when I was upset and angry – they are the most beautiful ones. It’s strange… I am normally a pretty happy person.”

ONWARD! »»





we’re not DEAD!

21 06 2012

maybe undead.. but definitely not dead.

happy summer solstice yesterday, and here’s to good things ahead!

more to come,

– da leopard

oh and BY THE WAY… this is my favorite song right now. somehow their music says so much without any words at all.. VENTURES, man. VENTURES. 





SNT + NJ Calder + Dark Party = VIDEO SHOOT!

30 04 2012

we’re teaming up with NJ CALDER (of korean horror flick fear eats the seoul) to do a video for ACEY SLADE & THE DARK PARTY this wednesday at SAINT VITUS BAR – if you come to the show that night you can be in the video too!

be there and rock out with usdoors @ 8pm, $10!

it’s gonna be wild..

demons,

– da leopard

ps: we totally surpassed our top hits EVER this month – over 3,000 views… YES! 

THANK YOU! please keep reading, keep sharing, keep liking. we appreciate everything!





DeFaced by Michael Stahl: Refused Are (Not) Fucking Dead

23 04 2012

DeFaced‘s Michael Stahl graces SNT with a concert review… !

In January, I wrote here that The Shape of Punk to Come, by the Swedish hardcore band Refused is a must-own album due to its uncanny levels of creativity and staggering influence on the world of heavy music. I’d also mentioned on a few occasions that the anti-capitalism/anti-establishment/anti-anything-organized lyrics contained in said record are still incredibly relevant and “could give the Occupy movement a potential rallying cry.” Thanks to a twist of fate, or sheer laziness, Da Leopard finally posted the piece about a week ago [ed’s note: i resent that..], days before Refused were set to play the yearly Music Festival To End All Music Festivals, also known as Coachella, and two sold-out nights at Terminal 5 in New York City, none of which I was aware were in the works upon penning my article last winter.

Incredibly, I was able to, not only seemingly score tickets to last night’s Terminal 5 show, but I hijacked them off StubHub just this past Tuesday for seventeen bleepin’ dollars! Throw in the required overnight shipping and fees and I swore that my fake Refused ticket was in the mail. But, oh no, by Friday afternoon my very legit-looking pass was in my hand and I cradled it like I might imagine one would a baby sloth who had lost its way.

Sunday had come and, wondering when the jig would be up, I anxiously handed my ticket over to the girl who really looked like she wanted to be there, so she could infrared Star Trek laser blast the barcode and, potentially, allow me into the venue. Alas, God saw that the ticket was good.

ONWARD! »»





DeFaced by Michael Stahl: Five Rock Albums You Should Own

16 04 2012

FIVE ROCK ALBUMS…

That Inspired Big-Name Acts You Probably Don’t Own, But Totally Should

A Blessay by Michael Stahl

Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts
Released: 1998 Genre: Punk/Hardcore/Emo/Screamo
Influenced: At The Drive-In/The Mars Volta, Isis, Thursday, Panic! At The Disco

From the moment this album begins with a sound byte declaration of “They told me the classics never go out of style, but they do, they do. Somehow baby, I never thought that we’d do too,” privileged listeners become immediately cognizant of an impending assault of creativity comparable to few other sources. Now over 13 years old and the extreme polar opposite of “dated,” this work of Swedish hardcore rockers sounds as fresh and edgy as ever, thankfully rendering that intro’s self-fulfilling prophecy unfounded. Pit Shape against any punk album since and many would have a fit trying to comprehend how it has gone so unnoticed in the mainstream and calculating an assumed release date would prove equally as trying. As the United States continues to toil in rocky, murky economic waters, the opening lyric “I’ve got a bone to pick with capitalism / And a few to break” could give the Occupy movement a potential rallying cry. From “Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull,” the newly-hooked travel through some radio station signals (interludes that were totally jacked by Panic! At The Disco on their work A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out) to land on “Liberation Frequency,” a track about the band’s desire to hear more envelope-pushing music dominate the airwaves, vocally highlighted by: “We don’t just want air time / We want all the time / All of the time.” After the eardrum clapping “The Deadly Rhythm” (with jazz ensemble intro), the more catchy “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine,” and the acid jazz break “Bruitish Pome #5,” the album’s cornerstone track “New Noise” begins to unfold with marching band drums building upon a repetitive guitar sequence. After a slowed-down house music sidestep, vocalist Dennis Lyxzen returns to yelp: “Can I scream?,” hoping that the louder he offers the option to listen to more challenging works of art, the more people will heed the call. Some of the most incredible audio engineering exists midway through this LP when, as “New Noise” comes to a prolonged, screeching close, a live speech about capitalism actually being “organized crime” is blended in as a skit/intro to “Refused Party Program,” creating the illusion that the previous song was being performed on stage all along. More calls for revolution are announced in “Protest Song ’68,” a plea for people to revert back to the proactive mindset of the 1960s. By the time one gets to the tour de force “Tannhauser / Derive,” exhaustion may have settled in, but the Celtic violin startup will redux the hype that has been similarly insisted upon by Dropkick Murphys in their more recent and popular classic “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” Front-to-back, The Shape of Punk to Come is a must-own and appears to only have grown in terms of relevance and importance.

ONWARD! »»





ed tullett: poetic sounds from the UK

12 04 2012

i first heard 18-year-old UK musician ed tullett‘s song “ribboned blood” on a random tumblr playlist, and was struck immediately by the jangling banjo and his strong, distinct sound, both musically and lyrically. the brooding acoustics on his new album never joy – released december 2011 – were completely (and impressively!) written, recorded, and produced by ed himself. he’s a great example of just how independently successful you can be when you embrace what the internet can do for your music. never joy is available for free download on bandcamp, and thanks to his open dialogue with fans from around the globe on multiple social media platforms (and of course his undeniable talent), the first pressing of his CD recently sold out. we spoke to ed to find out more about his music, what inspires him, how he feels about the new model of the music industry, and more. check it out!

ONWARD! »»





New World Order Employment Applications #008: CONNOR DWYER

11 04 2012

Introducing the next candidate to fill out SUGAR -N- THUNDER’s New World Order Employment ApplicationCONNOR DWYER!

Connor Dwyer is the cousin of SNT’s pal Mike Wilson. Clearly acting crazy on the internet runs in the blood. Like Mike and I, Connor acts, shoots and edits his original YouTube content – though he is usually busy pranking his brother, covering songs or posting challenges. He’s stepped up his production with a newly acquired green screen (they can be so fun… and tortuous) and is posting new videos with a mix of commentary on pop culture while showing off his skills.

Who I am & what I do:

I’m a YouTuber and aspiring filmmaker.

Projects you should know about:

The rest of Connor’s work can be found HERE!

The Survey:

1. What defines awesomeness to you? When you see/do/feel/experience/etc. something and it makes your jaw drop every time – that is true awesomeness.

2. Have you ever had a near-death experience? Yes, multiple times! I was hit by a car when I was 8. Luckily I only got a few scratches but then, due to being a skater my whole life, one time I got hung up on a high-ass rail. Whew, if my balls didn’t hit that rail my face would have been done for!

3. If you could be absolute ruler of the world for a day, what’s the first thing you’d do? I would make it absolute law that I was ruler of the world for the rest of my life so I could do whatever the fuck I want.

4. What’s your guilty pleasure? Oh boy, I would say walking around my house naked. A lot of people like it but I would do it all the time if I could.

5. What do you know now that you wish you knew as a teen/kid? But I am a teen/kid! Well if I had to answer I’d probably say knowing how to play 9+ instruments. I feel like that would’ve come in handy.

ONWARD! »»