All posts by Tatum Jenkins

Artists We Like: Sleeping At Last

Producer, composer, and singer-songwriter Ryan O’Neal shares his creations with the world under the name Sleeping At Last. Though a fairly unknown artist, his songs have been featured on popular shows and movies, such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1”. He has also worked with many notable musicians, such as Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Along with these collaborations, he has shared the stage with many celebrities (Christina Perri, Alanis Morissette) and has worked very closely with the film industry as he has scored an entire documentary and served as the composer for the TV show, “Kid President: Declaration of Awesome.”

He released his first album Ghosts in 2003, and then three years later came out with Keep No Score. After his third album Storyboards he decided to go a different direction in regards to how he released his music. Consequently, he began the Yearbook project, in which he put out three songs every month for a year. The “yearbook” was offered as a subscription or as sets of EPs. On a similar path, he embarked on a longer concept spanning multiple albums called Atlas. So far, he has two albums under the umbrella of this concept. Before releasing the second Atlas album, he made an album filled with ten covers of well known and loved hits. He also covered solely Christmas songs on his album Christmas Collection Vol. 1.

All of his albums have beautifully crafted instrumental backgrounds with soft, rich vocals, which can only be compared to the calm swelling of ocean waves on a cloudy beach day. They’re beyond aesthetically and musically pleasing, and this music is truly enchanting and such a pleasure to listen to.

Along with creating music, he also makes a podcast that describes the process of how he makes his songs in detail. He has a very interesting creative process; for example, he wrote a song about the eclipse in 2017 that’s the same length as the actual eclipse and, in the second Atlas album, he has one song for every personality on the Enneagram personality test. He builds each of his albums and even specific sets of songs around a single concept, such as planets or directions. His music is truly very unique and it’s fantastic how creative and precise his vision is.

For those with Spotify, I recommend starting off with the “Introduction” or “Everything” playlist off of the Sleeping at Last artist profile page. If not, I recommend the following songs of his: “Clockwork,” “Heart,” and “The Projectionist.”

Listen to “Birthright” (feat. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot)

(Sources: Sleeping At Last, ORBITER)

Artists We Like: Hey Violet

Hey Violet didn’t always start off as the successful rock-pop group they are now. Originally, lead vocalist Rena Lovelis, drummer Nia Lovelis, and ex-keyboardist Miranda Miller were in a band called Cherri Bomb, who released an album through Hollywood Records in 2012 and opened for the Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins. A year later, Julia Pierce, the lead vocalist of Cherri Bomb, departed from the band and slowly, with the addition of guitarist Casey Moreta and bassist Iain Shipp, they transformed into Hey Violet.

Eventually, they caught the attention of 5 Seconds of Summer, who made them the first artists signed to their record label, Hi or Hey Records. They then toured with them in 2015 and 2016 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Shortly after receiving a record deal, they released their debut EP, I Can Feel It. This EP emulated the epitome of rock-pop in 2015, lots of high-energy vocals and strong, raw instruments. For me, a girl who loved bands such as Paramore and Panic! At The Disco at that time, this music perfectly suited all of my wants as a listener.

With the release of their second EP, Brand New Moves, they shifted their musical direction to fit in more pop elements. They kept the smart, clever songwriting, but added more of an electronic edge, creating an overall amazing, better sound than that of their previous work. There’s more life, opinion, and sass in this EP than in I Can Feel It, making it more fun to listen to as well as catchier.

Despite the big difference in sound between the two records, they both landed in the No. 1 spot on iTunes in five countries. They also won the “Next Big Thing” Teen Choice Award in 2016.

After the success of Brand New Moves, they released their first album, From The Outside, which is their best work to date. It’s an album filled with jam-worthy, empowering songs about navigating love and life as a young adult. “Guys My Age,” one of the singles off the album, was quite successful, nabbing a spot in the top 20 at many radio stations and being named one of the best songs of 2016 by The New York Times. They’ve performed the song on The Late Show with James Corden and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

“Break My Heart” and “Hoodie” were also quite popular songs as well, with “Break My Heart” reaching into the top 40 chart. In spring 2017, they played a sold out tour around the U.S. and Europe to promote From The Outside.

Check out their hit single “Guys My Age” below:

Artists We Like: The Wombats

London-based indie rock trio The Wombats first formed in Liverpool in 2003 when lead vocalist and guitarist Matthew Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen were attending the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Before they were signed, they became the first unsigned group to sell out Carling Academy Liverpool (now known as 02 Academy). Three years after their formation, the band released their first single, “Girls, Boys and Marsupials,” along with a few other singles before coming out with their debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation, in 2007. This album features much of the rock-heavy influence of the early 2000s (think early Fall Out Boy), complete with strange, un-explainable song titles. Unfortunately, Murphy was not happy with the outcome of A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation commenting, “It was pretty disparaging to be lumped in with that ‘landfill indie’ thing, being surrounded by other bands in company that I wasn’t really too happy being surrounded by, or that I thought we were better than.”

This Modern Glitch their sophomore album, was an opportunity to change that. For The Modern Glitch they featured production from notable names in the rock genre including Eric Valentine, Butch Walker, and Jacknife Lee to distinguish themselves from other groups in their genre.

Four years after the release of their second album, they released Glitterbug which featured popular singles “Greek Tragedy” and “Give Me A Try.” For this album, they went with a more electronic pop sound that sets this album apart from their other more alternative sounding albums. Glitterbug was quite successful in the U.K. and Australia and gave them their first entry into the U.S. top charts. My favorite song from The Wombats, “Greek Tragedy,” makes a splash in Glitterbug with its use of mystical, twinkling beats, guitar, and drums, reflecting the more pop-oriented shift they made in their sound.

Their newest album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life was released this year and produced by Mark Crew (Bastille) and Catherine Marks (The Killers). They go back to their instrument and rock-based roots with this album and Murphy states that, “I think there was kind of an element of taking things back to the first album, although the first album kind of sounds like a million miles from now.” Though it includes more elements of raw music rather than electronic production, there’s an undeniable pop sound to this album, creating a perfect balance between the two styles they’ve experimented with.

They’ve performed at various different festivals, such as Reading and Leeds festival and Glastonbury festival, and have shared the stage with Ringo Starr. They also had their own TV show on Channel 4 called “Je Suis Un Rock Star.” In March, they’ll start their tour promoting their most current album, visiting both Europe and the United States. They are also set to appear as an opening act for thirteen shows on Weezer and Pixies’ North American tour starting in June.

(Sources: AllMusic, Echo, NME)