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The Lordz are currently making beats and spitting rhymes across the country as a part of this year’s Vans Warped Tour, but that isn’t the only thing putting this group in your face.
WHEELS 2.0: THE FUTURE IS NOW
A New Generation of Artists Is on Deck, and We’ve Got a Bunch of Them Right here

Due to the holiday weekend, we're re-running entries on some of the bands that were spotlighted last week, along with some fresh new and totally hip bands. We would love to hear your feedback on all the music featured on Wheels—good, bad or indifferent. Thanks again for all the submissions, and keep the music flowin’. Hit us up, for Jesse [email protected], or for Erica [email protected].

ERICA’S LICENSE TO LISTEN
Hopefully, you’ve recovered from your Fourth of July festivities and snapped back into reality. As promised, we’re continuing our hype on West Indian Girl this week—because the beer haze you were in barely did them justice—plus a few more bands to put your iPod in a tailspin and keep your ears ringing with glee.

The Lordz: One brother garnered attention as a graffiti artist, the other as a DJ, then they rallied fellow musicians Joe Mauro, Darryl Grant, Timmy Clement, Tommy Salamie and DJ Stress, and together they’re creating mass hype as The Lordz. They’re currently making beats and spitting rhymes across the country as a part of this year’s Vans Warped Tour, but that isn’t the only thing putting this group in your face. A stint on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and serious play on Sirius Faction and Fuse TV are not only leveraging label attention but also prompting collaborations with Everlast, Tim Armstrong and more. If you missed them on Conan, catch brothers Kaves and DJ ADM in a behind-the-scenes look at their struggle for success on Fuse TV’s acclaimed docu-series The Brooklyn Way. Living their dream hasn’t always been this glamorous, however. Through personal triumph and giant leaps through industry hoops, The Lordz are destined for greatness and a group you should definitely be paying attention to. Get introduced at www.myspace.com/thelordz.
 
TL Cross: The rhythm is in his heart, and the music in his blood. Following in the footsteps of his musically driven family, TL Cross has emerged from his gospel roots to become one of the most sought-after urban artists today. This king of the underground has been making waves for years, writing for Usher, Musiq Soulchild, 112 and Montell Jordan, and now it’s time to take his talents to the front lines. Finding inspiration from the likes of Toni Morrison, The Beatles and Nas he’s been relentlessly writing and producing for others, in the process molding his craft to its present eloquence. At just 25, TL has broken through the pad and paper to expose his own voice, and his talent radiates through on tracks like “Invisible” and “It’s Your Life.” Get your fix at www.myspace.com/tlcross.

West Indian Girl has exploded onto the Los Angeles music scene with their special blend of melodic pop and rock timbre. This sextet is taking audiences by storm with tracks like “To Die in LA” and “Blue Wave” off of their sophomore album, 4th and Wall. Impeccable musicianship and unparalleled energy drop this band into a category all their own. Be prepared to enter an alternate universe when they take the stage. With sounds reminiscent of a more psychedelic Jane’s Addiction, West Indian Girl will keep you dancing well into the night. Bassist Francis Ten says, “We are the best band that you haven’t heard about yet!” So what are you waiting for? Go to www.westindiangirl.com and find out when they’re coming through your town.

WHEELS GOES INTERNATIONAL
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be telling you guys about some impressive artists coming our way via Last Gang Records in Canada. Pretty cool, eh?

Crystal Castles: The first Last Gang act we’re spotlighting is this electronica band from St. Helena in the U.K. CC is building an organic following with their cutting-edge sound. They currently have 100k-plus friends and over 8 millions plays on their MySpace page. They’re also featured on MTVU’s Freshmen 5. Peep out their music at www.myspace.com/crystalcastles and check back with us next week, as we should have a video from them. Their debut album is out now.

JE-C’S HOT NEW BANDS/ARTISTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Blondfire is the Brazilian/American brother/sister duo of Bruce and Erica Driscoll,  who are in the mold of The Cardigans. They began under the name Astaire, but due to legal threats from the Fred Astaire estate, they were forced to change their name. The siblings write/record/produce all their own songs and make a refreshing, U.K.-influenced sound that is at once catchy, original, and undeniably their own. Despite their polished pop hooks, the duo is the true definition of indie. They’ve literally done everything independently. They were the first unsigned band to do an iTunes Exclusive EP and reach the #1 spot. They’ve had major motion picture and TV licenses such as spots in: Monster in Law, I Think I Love My Wife, Mozart & the Whale, Bangkok Dangerous, VH1’s Awesomely Oversexed, E’s Stranded With a Star, Dawson’s Creek, and more. Their new single, “Pretty Young Thing,” is currently featured on the Nike website alongside Hot Chip. Nic Harcourt and other fine people at KCRW are playing their songMy Someday.” Erica co-wrote Jessica Simpson’s song “B.O.Y.” with Ric Ocasek and Wally Gagel. Their album, My Someday, is out now on iTunes. (www.myspace.com/blondfire)

Blue Sky Reality
: These pop-rockers from Woodland Hills came to us and instantly blew us away. They’re in the mold of OneRepublic and Maroon 5, with very impressive songwriting. BSR are currently finishing up their record and will be playing some dates around the L.A. area. Expect big things from these guys in the future; we’ll be keeping a close eye on them, and you should too. (www.myspace.com/blueskyreality)

Artist updates:
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.” (www.myspace.com/thesegreeneyes). Brian McTernan (Circa Survive, Senses Fail, Thrice, The Graduate) produced. We’re awaiting some video footage to share with you shortly.

Little Jackie: Her story continues to grow as her debut album, The Stoop, is currently
#25 on the iTunes chart. We love Little Jackie’s music, as does KCRW’s Nic Harcourt.

Here are some other cool bands/artists to check out:
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.” 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, on Mercury Records, and his timing could not have been more impeccable. George is holding up the caboose at the revived Mercury, which released his first album on June 3. We just hope he brought his parachute.
 
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 about, and let us know you’re listening. (www.myspace.com/thisworldfair)

ANDREW HARPER'S MILLENNIAL SOAPBOX
Marketing Then and Now
Topspin Media
has garnered heaps of talk and intrigue after recently unveiling their business platform. The platform is dedicated to developing leading-edge marketing software and services that help artists and their business partners take the next step in strengthening the direct artist to fan relationship. Topspin's vision goes hand in hand with the concept of permission marketing, which has been a theme in my previous columns. There will be way more discussion on this company in the future here at HITS, as what the company is unveiling to the public is just the tip of the iceberg.

This leads me to some thoughts on marketing in the old musical infrastructure, compared to what a new infrastructure might look like. Major labels have traditionally enjoyed the proprietary access to terrestrial radio, MTV, and retail distribution. Ask any member of a ’90s rock band who lived in the Buzz Bin for a time that the substance of their career was built not on talking to Kennedy at the MTV Beach House, playing the radio festival in Buffalo or a guest spot on Love Line. Permission marketing should spare us from being told what is good punk rock by major-label manufactured bands of this decade. Will this new era of marketing mean there will be fewer one-hit wonders? Maybe, maybe not. Bands will always have songs that fans go crazy for and rise above other tracks on the album. I think the new marketing era will lighten sentiments of "that band should have been huge, but… " Now it's all up to the artist and the business team around them to fulfill their destiny.

The digital era has obviously changed the game, and from what projected figures of future digital revenue look like, iTunes will continue to hold it place as the largest music retailer on the planet. Good thing the future reveals itself just one day at a time, because we are seeing the continued evolution of our business with each passing moment.

The Filthy Souls, from England, are making their North American debut this month. Don't let their good looks and youth fool you—this band is writing absolutely epic songs. At the age of 22, lead singer Dave Green has the vocal range and the delivery to rival that of a seasoned pro. They might as well have been called The Old Souls; they've managed to transcend age and genre with their latest mastered tracks. Listening to these songs, while laboriously plowing through the remnants of a decaying music industry, is a breath of fresh air. You can feel the sincerity in the songs over the polished guitars and metronomic drum beats. In an age where it’s becoming painfully obvious that fans are not settling for anything less than songs and artists that can reach through their iPods and pluck a chord in their hearts, I find comfort in The Filthy Souls. So my hat is off to these British rockers for delivering something that we all crave—genuine substance. No hype, no name-dropping, I won't talk about who they've worked with and what they've done. When I hear these songs, my bones know they're ready. Do yourself a favor and go see this band at their first U.S. performance next Monday, July 14, at The Viper Room. Contact management: [email protected]. (www.myspace.com/thefilthysoulsmusic)

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