01.10 Up & Comers

Bands and solo artists that you may not have heard of yet…but whom we think are going to make a name for themselves really soon ~ and you get to hear about them here, right before they make it big!

Nytmare “Insomniaddict”
By Kara Olson

Nightmares can scare you out of the deepest sleep and make your heart race out of control. Once the fear and panic are so strong that you are forced to awaken, it is nearly impossible for you to fall back asleep, go back to the norm, the calm of slumber. Accurately named, Nytmare and his music have the power to awaken his listeners out of the slumber of common beats and regular rhymes.

Nytmare was always aware of his dream. “Growing up the music spoke to the culture and movement I was part of and personified many of my thoughts and emotions. At 6 years old, I tried my hand at scratching on my mother’s table top stereo system and ruined her Gap Band record. I remember doing my first recording at 13 years old. Plugged earphones into the mic jack of a boom box, hit the demo button on a Zayre Casio, and ran the cassette tape to Sullivan [Middle School] the next day.”

As much as the great hip hop artists of the past two decades including A Tribe Called Quest, NWA, and De La Soul influenced Nytmare, so did Worcester, the city he called home. “Growing up in the city definitely shaped my demeanor and outlook that’s reflected in my music. At the time the city was regarded as a fallen industrial power that had lost its luster…The city had to dig deep, persevere and carry on until it could find itself again. That parallels much of my life and thematically is often expressed in my music. Back against the wall, fighting to carry on; or unabashed frustration and aggression.”

His connection to the perseverance and authenticity of Worcester has inspired Nytmare to explore new and alternative musical sounds the city has to offer. He has toyed with the idea of developing new sounds and collaborations with local bands. “With the wealth of musical talent this city has, the result could be really special.”

There is no lack of determination, strength, or intelligence in Nytmare’s character, nor in his music. He challenges himself not to beat the competition, but to explore his own potential. He doesn’t plan to do any shows until next spring, but luckily Nytmare has poured his soul into his latest release, “Insomniaddict,” which provides enough emotionally charged and haunting tracks to keep us up at night ~ and happily so ~ for a very long time.

nytmaremusic.com

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BAND: The Woodland Creatures

By Alex Kantarelis

For the past 12 years, The Woodland Creatures have been tearing up MA with their unique blend of hip-hop and rock. The group, made up of guitar, bass, drums, a DJ, and 2 MCs, can best be categorized as livewire hip-hop. Or, as front man Bali put it, “A combination of the Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine with a twist of Sublime.”

Classifying them as an “up and comer” is an interesting choice of words, since they are in the process of putting out their 4th studio album ~ which is quite the accomplishment in itself since most bands don’t even get to release a 2nd album. But in this case, it still applies, since their 4th album will surely be their biggest yet, the one that finally puts them on everyone’s radar. This marks the first time they’ll be working with a producer; Dave Allen, who has worked with major label acts including Black Label Society, will be doing the duties.

The group got their start in 1998 and have been relentlessly playing live and working on their music ever since. The combination of rock driven guitar, bass, and drums, combined with hip-hop vocals, gives them a style like no other. Unlike the rap-metal bands of the late 90s, TWC avoid the abrasiveness of that style while maintaining an overall rock sound. At the same time, they avoid the hip-hop clichés that were so popular when they started.

“The first few years of this decade I was seeing a lot of garbage rap in Boston. Everything sounded the same as all the loudmouth West Coast rappers. Now I’m seeing for the past 3 to 4 years they’re starting to sound a lot more ‘East Coast,’ and not so much like the West-Coast-Down-South junk that was coming out,” Bali said.

Aside from taking their killer live show all over the East Coast, and releasing 3 albums, the guys have seen success in many other areas as well, most notably TV. Their songs have been played on reality shows on MTV2, G4 Television, and even on “Extreme Home Makeover” and “The Bachelorette.” Also, various mixed martial arts fighters come out to their music. Topping it off, they’ve played live with big groups like House of Pain, Shootyz Groove, Eastcide, and Twisted Sister.

With the #1 thing for 2010 being the release of their still unnamed new album, Bali is setting his sights high. “I believe we have yet to capture our live feel, energy, and heart on our previous albums. Our live show is our strong point, it’s a high energy experience, and I want to capture that. We just want to push it over the top. I want to take over the world. I want to be on the cover of ‘Rolling Stone.’”

woodlandcreatures.com, myspace.com/woodlandcreatures1

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BAND: Tormented Reality

By Rebecca Carter

There is probably no genre of music that has as many sub categories as metal, and you would be hard pressed to find a band that describes themselves as simply as that. Always evolving, groove metal followed on the heels of thrash, and local boys Tormented Reality have finally settled into a groove of their own.

Influenced by the likes of Tool, Mudvayne, Underoath, Korn, The Deftones and Dream Theater, Tormented Reality has been in the mix for quite some time. Following nearly a dozen line-up changes over the years, the band finally solidified a steady five piece in January of ‘08 with Dave Gannon on guitar and vocals, Jeremy Litton on guitar, Mehow Krzych on drums, Devin Keith also on vocals and Kyle Lighter also on guitar.

“We emphasize music that makes people want to move,” explained Jeremy. “We are pretty tired of the current trend in heavy music where a lot of bands just like to play open chord breakdowns. We try to give style and substance to all of our songs while still retaining that heavy element. Every member of this band likes vastly different ranges of the heavy music world. I believe that it’s the different personal tastes that make our sound so unique.”

To date, Tormented Reality has hit the circuit all over New England with gigs at Showcase Live, Club Hell, and of course The Palladium (what reputable metal band hasn’t played The Palladium?), plus venues in NH and CT. “We try to bring the energy to the crowd to get them moving, and we feed off of that,” Jeremy said. “We go all out at every show to bring the most memorable experience possible.”

With a demo under their belts, Tormented Reality is now in the process of putting together their first full length album with plans to have it released at the end of winter, and hope to set up some big shows in order to finance it. Also in the works is a month long summer tour.

Tormented Reality has a lot on their plate, but the band keeps their priorities straight and, as Jeremy summed it up, “Nothing makes us happier than seeing a good mosh pit!”

For more info, including tour dates and music, check out
myspace.com/tormentedreality.

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mikal1

GRADUATE: Mikal
Only Enemies Tell the Truth… Friends and Lovers Lie Endlessly

By Rebecca Carter

Only Enemies Tell the Truth… Friends and Lovers Lie Endlessly is the accompanying acoustic EP of Mikal’s (pronounced Michael) debut full length album Soundtrack from a Happy Ending. Culled from selections taken from the full length rock/pop album, Only Enemies…features the tracks reworked acoustically with backing string arrangements.

Titled as pragmatically as a Bright Eyes album and with an opening sound similar to Dashboard Confessional, Only Enemies…has a feel that is reminiscent of the post punk acoustic attempts of the last five years combined with a hint of Radiohead’s “Blowout” BBC sessions.

“I wanted songs that would somehow carry a theme or story between them,” shared the artist. “In a way, all of these songs have something to do with the dynamics of the ends and beginnings of relationships. [They are] a bunch of different stories that criss-cross each other and develop into a major overall plot.”

Set in four different “scenes” (as opposed to track numbers), Only Enemies… has a live tone and, although the songs are not directly chronologically linked, they seem to built in urgency as the EP progresses. For the most part, all of these songs come from the artist’s personal experiences.

“’13 Days’ was a time period that elapsed between two distinct events involved in a relationship I had with a certain girl from my past,” Mikal explained. ”The 4 AM Wake Up Call” takes the idea of a drunk dial and turns it into a love song. “Midseason Replacement” compares a relationship to a television show or a song you hear on the radio. “Open Hearts (JD & Elliot)” was influenced by the two characters of the same name from the television show ‘Scrubs.’”

Empathetic, yet with a touch of grunge in the vocals, Mikal has managed to create an EP that cohesively presents a narrative where each song is unique. Despite the bare essentials format, the tracks on Only Enemies… each have a distinct style and none of the emotion has been lost in stripping them down.

Following the release of Only Enemies… and Soundtrack from a Happy Ending, Mikal will embark on a nationwide tour joined by a backing band. Catch him at The Lucky Dog Music Hall in Worcester on Jan. 22nd.

For more info, visit www.mikal.us.