With outliers, sometimes there’s a place where the sun still shines. Ernie Ball would like to welcome to the family, The Struts. Embraced by some of the biggest rock icons in music, The Struts found themselves opening for The Rolling Stones, The Who, Guns N’ Roses, and were hand-selected by Mötley Crüe on their last tour. Praised by Dave Grohl as the best band to ever open for Foo Fighters, it’s no surprise that The Struts have earned a reputation for their outrageous live shows.
Luke Spiller’s swagger and Freddy Mercury-like powerful vocals have not only gained the attention of Queen fans, but his glittering onstage attire inspired Zandra Rhodes (former Queen costume designer) to create lavish attire for the frontman. Between huge big guitar choruses, an occasional face-melting solo will come from guitarist Adam Slack, piercing the crowds as the band truly gives it their all. The band’s breakout single “Could Have Been Me” hit #1 on Spotify’s viral charts and the follow-up record “Young and Dangerous” and seen sold-out shows throughout the U.S.
We are an unconventional band – whether it’s the look and the music – and we’re going to rise to the absolute top in a very unconventional way.Luke Spiller to NME
The Struts bring the anthems with Skinny Top Heavy Bottom Slinkys.
When you watch a band literally grow up in front of your eyes, you feel nothing but pride knowing you saw something in them at the very beginning, and everything that came after was well deserved. PVRIS is exactly one of those bands.
The band came across the Ernie Ball “desk” back in 2013, barely a year after they began, when they entered the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. At the time, the band was a blend of alt-rock, post-hardcore, and occasional pop-punk with just a tinge of synth-pop. They ultimately became a finalist in that year’s battle and finished in the top 5. After that year and their two week run on the Vans Warped Tour on the Ernie Ball stage, PVRIS skyrocketed with their first official album, White Noise, and signing to Rise Records.
PVRIS’ sound leaned a little more pop-rock mixed with synth and electro moments, but it was clear from track one that vocalist and guitarist Lynn Gunn, lead guitarist Alex Babinski, and bassist Brian MacDonald knew exactly what they were doing. The debut album hit charts all over the world, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums and #6 on Billboard Alt and Independent Album charts.
Since then, PVRIS has continued to gain a cult-like following, toured the world multiple times over, and signed a deal with Reprise/Warner Records with the first singles really showcasing the band’s new pop-driven direction. When interviewed about the band’s direction, Gunn said;
We’ve always had little easter eggs that have bridged things from record to record, bridged our progress together. A lot of those “lighter” songs – ‘What’s Wrong’, ‘Winter’, ‘Nola 1’ – [they were] a bridge to where we wanted to go in the future. It’s been really natural. We’ve always wanted to go in this direction, and we’re finally being supported to do that. I think the stars have aligned.Lynn Gunn to Rock Sound
PVRIS plans to release a new album in August 2020 and until then, listen to the tracks below and keep up with them on their official site.
The Story So Far
When you start a band with a name derived from a well-known pop-punk band, you can safely assume what type of music you’re in for. In the case of Walnut Creek, California’s The Story So Far, they worked past that point to lose the automatic assumption of genre and flex their musical muscles.
Since 2007, The Story So Far has been finding a home in the space between pop-punk and hardcore scenes, pumping out tunes that possess thick and often heavy sounding guitar riffs, upbeat tempos, melodic basslines, and vocal delivery that still feel true to the DIY punk/hardcore ethos.
As the band cut their teeth in the Warped Tour circuit and on tour with bands like Citizen, Turnover, Four Year Strong, and more, they caught the eye of Pure Noise Records which has been home to their last four releases since 2011. As the band’s albums, fans, and life experiences grow, so has their sound. On their latest effort, Proper Dose, you see the band begin sprinkling in slower tempos and musicality not far from The Beatles of Oasis (which they are big fans of). The Story So Far hasn’t abandoned their uptempo pop-punk roots though, because for every slower “Take Me As You Please” track they delivered, they still had “If I Fall” and “Need to Know.”
Now 13 years into the band, The Story So Far has been through the pop-punk ringer and have come out on the other side with their roots intact but eyes set on the next audio adventure and how to further expand their catalog.
I don’t want to look back on our past and frown,” Parker insists. “I want to look forward and smile. I want to have that legacy and create this whole new one.Vocalist, Parker Canon to Kerrang!
Keep up with the latest updates from The Story So Far on their website and make sure to listen to their new and classic tracks below.
The Story So Far play Beefy Slinky, Power Slinky, and Skinny Top Heavy Bottom electric guitar strings and Hybrid Slinky bass strings. Bassist Kelen Capener also plays a collection of Ernie Ball Music Man – StingRay basses.
Dual MC’s and a full band back the progressive rap group, Flobots from Denver, Colorado. Mixing political conscience with a musical powerhouse of a band. The group’s influences range from rappers such as The Roots and Common to alternative hard rock bands like Rage Against The Machine and Tool. Breaking in their Denver region by opening for national acts such as Public Enemy and The Fray, the band inked a deal with Universal Music Group on its subsidiary label, Republic. Widely gaining national attention with the radio hit “No Handlebars”, the Flobots‘ sophomore effort, Survival Story brought a heavier, more rock-forward approach featuring a guest performance by Ernie Ball family member, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath on the single “White Flag Warrior”.
Continuously pumping records that push the sociopolitical issues to the forefront, the driving force of musicianship the band combines, catches fire with the speedy flows of Johnny 5 and Brer Rabbit. Always hooky and head-turning, Flobots bring a soundtrack of awareness. Johnny 5 elaborated about the process behind songwriting with the group;
We’ve had a different process for not only every album, but every song has had its own process. I think it’s because we’ve always done things really collaboratively, and the band is made up of people with a pretty wide variety of musical backgrounds and strengths, so we always have to discover the process for every song.Johnny 5 to Song Facts
Keep up-to-date with Flobots on their official website and take a listen to their progressive tunes below.
The Flobots create their vibe with Ernie Ball Regular Slinky electric guitar strings and Regular Slinky Cobalt 5 bass strings and their Ernie Ball Music Man collection of StingRay 5 Special bass guitars and a Cutlass guitar.
Argentinian bass player Aldana Aguirre has been quietly building an impressive resume backing artists like Larry Braggs and Brian Ray, but Aldana’s play-throughs and covers on social media has really started to put her name and playing on the map.
Typically, social media “performers” lack the stage performances that artists in the past have had to endure to gain fandom. Aldana is one of the rare cases of having both careers going on at once. Opening for artists like Enrique Iglesias, while racking up thousands of views on her Royal Blood and Vulfpeck covers on YouTube and Instagram under the name “Aldanabass.” Aldana also has been composing her own music for film and streaming masterclasses for both Latin America and the United States audiences.
While she waits to hit the road again with one of her multiple projects, make sure to catch Aldana on her social pages, and maybe learn a thing or two about playing on the low-end.