Zune Artist

All about the Zune Artists featured on the Zune websites such as Zune.net and Zune-arts.net. Find Zune artists and new music for your Zune MP3 player at ZuneMAX.com

Zune Artist Profile – The Good, The Bad & The Queen

May 212007
 
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Zune.net | The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Artist Profile Page

The Good, The Bad & The Queen began life in the Aphrodisia Studios in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2004. Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and guitarist Simon Tong (The Verve) had travelled to Lagos to record with veteran drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen (Africa 70, Fela Kuti). Working with local musicians, the trio recorded an album’s worth of material. Back in England, Damon was finishing off Gorillaz’ Demon Days album and the project went on the back burner.

By the time they came back to it−and when Damon gave the recordings to producer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton−feelings about the record had changed. “When Brian came on board it really started to become, The Good, The Bad & The Queen. I started writing about this area−West London−and coming to define here and why I think it’s such a special place to live,” said Albarn.

The final collaborator to come in to the studio was Clash bassist−and West London native−Paul Simonon, and the album was finished by early summer 2006.

The result is a record specific to a place and a time but with a background that is geographically wide-ranging and stretches far back into a glittering musical past. The Good, The Bad & The Queen traces a journey from the English music hall tradition, over to West Africa for Afrobeat, zigzagging through the West Indies and its reggae and dub, back to England and London’s punk scene, all the while taking in a strand of British beat music from the ’50s right through to Britpop.

Preview and download their self-titled album, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, on Zune Marketplace today.

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Zune Artist Profile – Animal Collective

May 172007
 
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Zune.net | Animal Collective – Artist Profile Page

Friends and musical partners since 1992, core members Avey Tare (a.k.a. David Porter) and Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Lennox) came together in 2000 with the intention of moving pop music in a direction that would place heavy emphasis on sonic experience. Soon after this, they began operating as Animal Collective, an umbrella name now used for a grouping of four people.

Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist (a.k.a. Brian Weitz), and Deaken (a.k.a. Conrad Deaken) play together under different names and in different configurations. Their releases are always prone to continual musical change: from beautifully skewed pop ballads to fiercely ruptured noise-squalls to tribal rhythmic work-outs to simple folk songs, to who knows where; from fully orchestrated group freak-outs to the intimacy of an acoustic duo.

In whatever formation, Animal Collective is a genuinely thrilling live unit, passionately committed and unafraid to put themselves on the line.

The Collective’s first offering was a stunning collaboration between Avey Tare and Panda Bear called Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished, released on their own label Animal in August of 2000. A second album, Danse Manatee was released by Catsup Plate in July 2001, which was accompanied by a month-long U.S. tour with their friends Black Dice. The next year they released a limited-edition, vinyl-only on St.Ives (a sub-label of Secretly Canadian) called Hollinndagain, which was made up of recordings from live shows.

In 2003, they released Campfire Songs, a collection of songs recorded live on a screened-in porch in rural Maryland on Catsup Plate, Here Comes the Indian on Carpark’s imprint label Paw Tracks, and three tracks from Avey Tare also appeared on a Split 12″ shared with David Grubbs. The next year, the group released their twisted yet masterly pop album, Sung Tongs, and followed it with the album Feels, which was released in October of 2005.

The group’s first release of 2007, People, features three previously unreleased tracks (plus one live version), which were recorded at the same sessions as the band’s hugely successful Feels album.

Preview and download Animal Collective’s songs on Zune Marketplace today.

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Zune Artist Profile – Rodrigo y Gabriela

May 132007
 
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Zune.net | Rodrigo y Gabriela – Artist Profile Page

Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) are two fast-fingered, Dublin-based, Mexicans with a unique sound created on acoustic guitars. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both world and rock, and often filled with timeless Hispano−classical influences. The fire in it comes from their life-long passion for metal music.

The duo’s repertoire flies beyond familiar Latin folk guitarists’ styles because of the metal connection: their re-workings of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion,” and the presence, on “Ixtapa,” of the fiery Hungarian gypsy violinist, Roby Lakatos.

The musicians met as teenagers at the Casa de Cultura (Culture House) in Mexico City. Rodrigo was playing drums in a band that changed its name to Tierra Acida (Acid Earth) when Gabriela joined them on guitar. Tierra Acida played in Mexico City’s roughest clubs and lived off day jobs. They recorded an album but wouldn’t sign the record contract, planning instead to concentrate on learning more guitar styles. In fact, they just hung out with friends and survived by playing bossa nova, a style of Brazilian music, in hotel bars before they decided to travel to Europe.

Their first port of call was Dublin, Ireland, in 1999. The city was booming with new music venues, galleries, and a thriving rock scene. The two Mexicans found themselves jamming with local folk musicians in the bars. Next, they moved to Denmark, which inspired two numbers on their album, “Diablo Rojo,” a scary roller-coaster ride in the city, and “Viking Man,” their nickname for a homeless man they befriended, and then to Barcelona before returning to Dublin after they were asked to play the newly opened Sugar Club. Damian Rice, then a busking friend, invited them to support his shows, and in 2003, they released Re-Foc, and a year later, Live Manchester and Dublin, which both launched them onto the World Music circuit.

The duo’s influences range from family salsa records to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. But, crucially, they grew up during Mexico’s “metal era.”

Mentions of flamenco influences raise sharp responses: “To many music fans, it sounds like flamenco, and we’re great flamenco fans, but we don’t play it,” says Gabriela. “The only similarity is that our music is guitar music and it’s very rhythmic.”

Rodrigo and Gabriela describe their style as “Fusion music.” “It’s mainly got Latin harmonies and rhythms but the structure is rock. It’s not jazz because it’s structured, and we don’t improvise; our solos are exactly what’s on the record, as a metal fan and guitarist you always want to hear the same solo,” the groups says.

Check out the duo’s latest album, Rodrigo y Gabriela, on Zune Marketplace!

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Zune Artist Profile = Every Move a Picture

May 092007
 
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Zune.net | Every Move a Picture – Artist Profile Page

Childhood friends Brent Messenger (singer/guitar) and Joey Fredrick (bass) had been playing in various bands throughout the early 2000s (at times with drummer Dan Aquino), but Every Move a Picture wasn’t officially born until early 2004 when Allen Davis (guitar/keyboard) joined the band through a Craigslist posting.

Setting up in a friend’s rehearsal space and spending a grand total of $290, the band recorded three songs: “Signs of Life,” “Chemical Burns” and “12AM.” Suddenly they were blaring out of the radio in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The songs also filtered across the Atlantic to the U.K.−with XFM spinning the band’s tracks and Steve Lamacq playing “Signs of Life” on Radio 1.

Back home, the Every Move a Picture fan base was rapidly growing as they played various underground dance parties in lofts and bars, before moving on to San Francisco’s prestigious Popscene club, and support slots with the Kaiser Chiefs and Louis XIV.

Soon after, the band released the five-song EP Blink and You’ll Miss It, with those original three tracks along with two others (“You’re So Predictable” and “St. John’s Night.”) This made it into the hands of leading tastemaker Nic Harcourt on L.A.’s uber-hip KCRW station, who immediately took to the band’s energy, offering them their first live radio session. Next up, a slew of licenses for the band’s music, from TV shows such as One Tree Hill, to various computer games, as the band’s dance punk grooves were compared favorably to everyone from Interpol and The Rapture, to The Killers.

Before any official release appeared overseas, Every Move a Picture played their first U.K. gigs to overwhelming response. The London-based label Something in Construction then issued a 7″ containing the songs “Signs of Life” and “Chemical Burns,” which promptly sold out the week of release.

And somewhere amidst all this the 2005 Reading and Leeds Festival called, inviting the band for a slot on the Carling Stage. They also played the Live 105 B.F.D. radio festival in San Francisco alongside Foo Fighters, Hot Hot Heat, and Ash.

In July 2006, Every Move a Picture released their anticipated full-length debut album Heart=Weapon that you can preview and download on Zune Marketplace. You can also listen to their song “Signs of Life,” which is preloaded into every Zune.

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Zune Artist Profile – The Pierces

May 052007
 
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Zune.net | The Pierces – Artist Profile Page

Born and raised in Alabama but currently residing in New York, Allison and Catherine Pierce are the harmonizing sisters behind the duo The Pierces. Homeschooled by their painter mother and guitar-wielding father, the two girls were encouraged in the arts from a young age, and quickly learned to play guitar and harmonize.

In 2000 they released their full-length, self-titled debut album. After a couple of years of struggling with their first record label, the sisters decided it was time for a change. They ended the relationship and moved to New York City where they performed acoustically at clubs and residences around town.

The Pierces released their second album, Light of the Moon, in 2004 under a new label. Produced by Brian Sperber, the record is filled with radio-friendly melodies with touches of folk and country. The duo recently returned from Europe after opening for Albert Hammond, Jr., band member of The Strokes, on a tour for his solo project.

Their upcoming album, Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge, released by Lizard King Records is scheduled to hit stores on March 20, 2007.

Check out the music video for their latest song “Boring.” And download their music on Zune Marketplace today.

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Zune.net | Natasha – Artist Profile

Apr 292007
 
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Zune.net | Natasha – Artist Profile Page

While working at a sandwich shop during her junior year in high school, Natasha was introduced to Grammy Award-winning super producer Rodney Jerkins.After seeing her sing and dance just once, Jerkins invited Natasha to his Darkchild studio to record what would ultimately become her first two smashes, “So Sick” and “Hey Hey Hey.”A short time later she was signed to Jive Records through Jerkins’ Darkchild Entertainment.

“This is a dream come true for me,” beams Natasha. After years of dancing in the family room of her parents’ home she finally puts her moves to work in her debut video for “Hey Hey Hey.”

Download Natasha’s biggest hit, “So Sick” for free on Zune Marketplace. Hurry up! Offer ends soon.

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Zune MarketPlace Artist Profile – Bloc Party

Apr 052007
 
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Zune.net | Bloc Party – Artist Profile Page

Bloc Party is formed by Kele Okereke, Russel Lissack, Gordon Moakes, and Matt Tong. Inspired by Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and The Cure, the South London art-punkers were once known as Angel Range and Union. Their first demo was released in early 2003. Later that year, they switched their name to Bloc Party.

After playing for a few months, the band started to attract attention from both the press and other musicians. Franz Ferdinand invited them to play at the Domino tenth anniversary party later in 2003. They released their first single, “She’s Hearing Voices” on Trash Aesthetics the next year.

During the spring of 2004, the band signed a contract to release their debut full-length album, Silent Alarm, in the U.K., which arrived in the United States in 2005. The British music weekly NME made it their Album of the Year in 2005 and Silent Alarm was on the U.K. album charts for 69 weeks. Bloc Party’s success has continued to grow ever since.

After being on tour for almost two years, the band has just released their second album, A Weekend in the City, which is an electrifying and staggeringly direct chronicle of post-millennial Britain, with bold lyrics and invigorating music.

Download Bloc Party’s albums from Zune Marketplace today.

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Zune MarketPlace Artist Profile РVieux Farka Tour̩

Apr 012007
 
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Zune.net | Vieux Farka Tour̩ РArtist Profile Page

Since his childhood, Vieux Farka Touré has been deeply inspired by the music of his father, the two-time Grammy Award-winner Ali Farka Touré. Growing up in Mali’s capital, Bamako, as well as in his father’s hometown of Niafunké in the Sahara desert, Touré proved himself a precocious talent as a drummer and calabash player.

But, having long suffered in the music industry before finally finding a home with World Circuit Records, his father did not want him to face the same hardships. He forbid Touré to play music and decided that his son should become a soldier instead.

In 1999, Touré decided to take his destiny into his own hands. He enrolled in the National Arts Institute in Bamako, Mali, openly defying his father’s wishes. It was there that he truly discovered his musical calling, picking up the guitar and beginning to compose his own music. By the time he left the school, he was already a locally celebrated guitar virtuoso.

A few years later, Touré and producer Eric Herman started working on his solo, self-entitled debut album, released in early 2007 by Modiba Productions. The album also features the only existing recordings of father and son playing together, and is amongst the final recorded material of Ali Farka Touré before his death.

Touré has crafted a global-minded style all his own. With flourishes of rock and reggae amidst Saharan blues and traditional Malian melodies, the musician ushers in the next generation of Mali blues.

Download the debut album from Vieux Farka Touré on Zune Marketplace today.

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