Ashes, Buddahead’s second album, is at its heart the chronicle of a musical, emotional and literal journey taken by frontman and songwriter Raman Kia.


This Week, Je-C Gets Down to Business, Erica Settles In and the Cesspool Is Alive With the Sound of Music

This week’s Wheels spotlights some very special bands: Buddahead, whose lead singer Raman Kia grew up in Iran during the war, and Erica Canales, an amazing vocalist. We also have some other really cool acts, including the debut artist on India Arie’s new Soulbird label. We haven’t packed as many bands in this week because we want you guys to spend some real time with the acts we’re featuring.

Hit us up, let us know your feelings and keep sending us music. Don’t feel bad about flooding our inbox, trust us, we need to keep busy, we literally do nothing all day. Hit my lonely, sad and pathetic self up at [email protected] or show the love to Erica at [email protected], so she doesn’t immediately go running and screaming from the HITS cesspool.

George Stanford: This Pennsylvania-born stud made his way to the top of our charts with catchy tracks like “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Get Free,” and on a quest to break through in the fiercely competitive L.A. music scene, George left his job, family and band of five years and headed west. Armed with determination, and perhaps a little naiveté, this free spirit landed right where he needed to be, at Mercury Records, and his timing could not have been more impeccable. George is holding up the caboose at the revived Mercury and released his first album on June 3, 2008. We just hope George brought his parachute. Get your hands on Stanford and drop me a line at [email protected]

This World Fair
July promises to be a busy month for This World Fair as the group makes its way across the U.S. alongside melodic indie rock band Barcelona. Watch out Barcelona, fans will be showing up early to catch these show-stealing Minnesota pop-rockers. Humility aside, TWF’s music was featured in last year’s DreamWorks/Paramount film Disturbia and will soon be heard in the upcoming film The Other Side of the Tracks, by the producers of Ray and Beowulf. Managed by Grammy-winning producer Stephen Short (Ping Pong Music), This World Fair is sure to capture fans with the story and the magic. Our top picks: “Drama,” “This Morning” and “San Francisco.” Find out what all the rage is at here, and let me know you’re listening.

Little Jackie:
The track is already pulling big phones at L.A.’s NPR powerhouse KCRW. Check out the video here.

Ashes, the trio’s second album, is at its heart the chronicle of a musical, emotional and literal journey taken by frontman and songwriter Raman Kia. Growing up in Tehran, Raman witnessed the violence of the Islamic Revolution, and he fled to the U.K. with his father. In London, he was reunited with his mother, whom he had not seen in years, and he was put into a strict regimented military school. As he grew up, the feelings that Kia was unable to articulate in words alone found expression in songs. He then gathered his repertoire of songs and headed for the U.S. to pursue a record deal. He signed with Interscope, but nothing ever came about because he wasn’t allowed to express his music the way he wanted to. It was then that he decided to use the DIY method. He linked up with bassist Toby Evers and guitarist Simon Gibson, and they played over 400 shows in a span of two years. It was during their cramped sessions in the van that their sound as a band became defined. Their 2004 debut, Crossing the Invisible Line, showcased a prodigious talent with the vocal prowess of Thom Yorke and a band so skilled at arranging that it recalled vintage U2 or contemporary Coldplay. The band, however, was just beginning to scratch the surface of what they were to become. With this new album, Raman finally has something special to hang his hat on. It’s not everyday that you can find a band that has an amazing sound and an even more amazing story. I am touting this one very highly. Take a listen and tell me what you think. (

Erica Canales: This L.A.-based singer/songwriter has the kind of soulful voice that music lovers crave. Her delightful debut album Five Seven Seven reminds me a bit of Fiona Apple with some of the pop elements of Kelly Clarkson. It’s one of those albums that you just put into your car stereo and play as you cruise down the highway. Erica definitely has something special going on. Publishers and licensors should keep an eye on this one. (

Anthony David: This Universal Republic recording artist just released his debut album on India Arie’s newly launched Soulbird label. This is an artist we are definitely watching closely. His current single “Words” features India Arie, and his voice reminds me of Seal. Did Universal hit the jackpot with this one? We’ll wait to see. This will take some time to grow. (

These Green Eyes: An emo band signed to new indie label Blackledge Music, launched by former Epic A&R exec Ben Goldman (Chevelle, Ben Folds Five, Fuel), These Green Eyes combine high energy and top-notch material, including at least one surefire smash in “Paramedic.” They just rocked Rehab in New York, and we hope to have some footage from this show in the coming weeks to show you how great these guys are. (

Erin McCarley: Singer/songwriter from Nashville signed to Universal Republic and creating a lot of buzz. Look for her to make a big impact next month and to give Colbie Caillat a run for her money. (

Warren Flandez: With a sound as fresh as the present, and a voice reminiscent of classic soul, Vancouver-raised singer/songwriter Flandez is turning heads and melting hearts with his own brand of postmillennial soul. Warren’s music demonstrates the rare ability to fuse the classic sounds of old-school soul music, the edgy flavor of hip-hop and the romantic themes of traditional R&B. Look for major things from this artist in the coming months. Managed by Mitch Davis of The Artist Partnership and produced by Canadian Mike Southworth of Minus Music. (

Kelley James: Acoustic pop rocker from the Bay who’s doing it the right way. He’s building up a buzz organically within the college community, playing fraternities and sororities around the country. I got to see him perform at the El Rey a few weeks ago, and I thought he had an awesome vibe. He is definitely an artist to keep your eye on. (

Here are some other cool bands/artists to check out:
: This Orange County-based indie outfit, who boast a killer sound and an amazing live show. The buzz is growing with labels sniffing. They’ll be performing at Wet Seal’s Summer Concert Series and will be featured in an email blast to over a million consumers, as well as on Since last December, Halos have played with Cartel, Motion City Soundtrack, Saosin, and more. They’re managed by Charlie Adams and Nate Israel and repped by Peter Lewit.

Science & Fiction: This modern-rock group out of Hollywood, FL, is rapidly making a name for itself by fusing the best elements of alternative, mainstream rock, industrial, classic rock and pop; garnering fans around the world via Internet promotion, radio play, indie distribution and word-of- mouth. To sum them up, they’re an Alice in Chains for a new generation; lead singer Rick Bauer has been described as Layne Staley reborn. The weasels have started sniffing around for good reason, and the group definitely warrants keeping an eye on. (

Lisa Bouchelle: This up-and-coming singer/songwriter, in the mold of Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles, is garnering a lot of buzz and has been deemed a “superstar” by renowned radio promoter Michele Clark. Her album, completed last year at Jon Bon Jovi’s home studio, was released on her own label and distributed by Fontana. Additionally, it has been picked up for the new Starbucks download kiosk program. Lisa just finished recording a duet with John Popper of Blues Traveler, as the two did a national tour last fall. Written with John Eddie, the song is a late-night, hook-up-at-the-bar song, similar in feel to the Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow duet "Picture." It's being co-produced by Tony Black, who has a Grammy for the album Diary of Alicia Keys. Lisa is a seasoned performer who has sung backup for Rob Thomas, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. (

The future's so Light, they gotta wear shades. (6/10a)
The GOAT (6/10a)
He's a five o’clock in the morning guy. (6/10a)
It's dazzling. (6/10a)
Action Jackson (6/7a)
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
No, not that one.
Now 100% unlicensed!

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