Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shallow Side In My City!!

Check it out Lolli fans!  I posted a video!  Betcha didn't think I knew how to do that did ya?  Wanna know a secret?  I actually made this video!  It's a 2013 promo for my favorite group of dudes!

I'm posting today because it's historical!  Shallow Side is playing a show in my city!  They've never been here before, and I can't wait to see them!  I'm meeting up with them before the show, and I'm going to do my best to snap some great pictures, and get a few good sound bites for their fans!  How many of my readers have become Shallow Side fans since I posted the article a year ago? 

Well, since then, these guys have come a long way, and I can't wait to give you an update!  Check back on Friday and get a glimpse into life on the road with Shallow Side!  Sidebar:  Can you believe these guys do 250 shows a year??  That, my friends, is commitment to the lifestyle that comes with the music industry! 

Don't forget to subscribe!  You never know when YOUR favorite local/indie/underground band may be on here!!

Much love,

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Re-Welcome to Hidden Gems!

Have you ever been out at a bar and heard a band that you couldn’t live without hearing again?  Have you ever been to a music festival and heard a whole host of bands that you’ve never heard of but fell in love with?  Do you just love to listen to random bands on a Pandora station?  Well, this blog may be the one for you! 

I have a love for the black sheep of the music industry: the unknowns, the local talent, the “hidden gems”.  I started this blog a year ago as a hobby.  I DJ part-time on the weekends, and I have a tendency to play songs/bands that most people have never heard.  Some people hate it, but a majority of them would keep coming up to write down the name of a song/band that I played. 

Thus, Hidden Gems in the Music Industry was born.  I quickly got to work highlighting little known talent.  Some bands/artists may have been a big name previously, but have delved into the indie side of the spectrum.  Some of the bands/artists have never played more than a local bar. 

I love music no matter the label association.  In my mind, talent is talent, and more often than not, a majority of the talent has yet to be discovered.  I personally interview each band featured, and they are grateful that there is a blog putting their name out there.  If I can convert just one Nicki Minaj fan, I’ll be stoked!

Early last year I started school full-time and quickly discovered how time consuming my blog was.  I still do interviews from time to time, and I check out shows quite frequently, but when I have to write three papers a week for school, my blog tends to get put on the back burner.  I had moved it to it's own dot com for some time, but when I lost hosting I lost my additional content, and opted not to re-purchase the hosting.  However, have no fear!  The lollipop isn't dead, and the blog will live again, just as soon as I find more time in my crazy "I have three kids, a husband, and go to school full time" life!  

Much love!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Birthday D!!

Thanks for stopping by!  How many of D.F.Krieger's books have you read??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life in Cycle

Life in Cycle is a fairly new local band out of Peoria, IL.  Modeled after other local successes such as Single File Suicide, Taxi Wardance, and Bodybag Fit for a King, these guys fit well into the local metal scene.  What sets them apart is that much like Slipknot, they have a softer side where they actually showcase musical and vocal talent.  Not to say that their metal isn't talented, simply that they are a two sided listen.  Another band that could be comparable is All That Remains. 

I bought this band's demo on a whim from a friend of mine.  There was one song that stuck out to me, and that was Revive.  It's an acoustic song that demonstrates a lot of talent in the vocals.  The whole demo is definitely something to rock out to. 

Together since 2012, this band is making their presence known.  They're featured regularly on the "Local Anesthetic" radio show with 105.7 the X.  (Side bar, it can be streamed live on iHeartRadio on Sunday nights, and is definitely a good way to find some great local music.)  I haven't had the chance to catch a live show, but am hoping to when their next show is announced.  You can check out their stuff by following the link below!!

Cody Roe- vocals
Bela McKnight- guitars/vocals
Jason Hedrick - bass
Scott Eades- drums

 ***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shallow Side Part 1

Custom Graphic by Brad Owens at SnakeProductions
Hailing from the great state of Alabama, Shallow Side is a band that was suggested to me whom I have decided to make a "special" project of sorts.  I want you, my faithful readers, to follow me on a journey with this band who I feel with 100% certainty are about to really garner some major attention.  The plan is that I'm going to write this initial piece (what I'm calling Part 1), and then every few months do a follow up with them to see where they are.  The goal is to include as many details about their journey as possible.  I want the readers to really feel like they have been a part of this band's journey, as well as gain some appreciation for how much work and dedication it really takes to make it. 

I have talked to so many people who want their big break, but simply expect that one good YouTube video and they're going to hit the big time.  There is a lot of behind the scenes struggle that HAS to happen.  Not only because it's almost impossible to really make it, but because those struggles are exactly what give you strength and credibility as an artist.  Something the members of Shallow Side are all too familiar with.
Over the last couple weeks, I have had extensive conversations with both Eric Boatright and Nick Tolbert.  I've heard stories of triumph, heartbreak, embarassment, and humility.  Through all of my interactions with them, I have been truly stunned with several things about them.  Allow me to explain.

After a certain point, some bands/artists have a tendency to get into a mindset of "I've made it, now I'm better than everyone".  It's a sad, harsh reality of a very brutal industry.  The music industry will rip you apart over and over and over, and once you get that "big break", it's very easy to forget the struggle.  What impresses me about Shallow Side is that they have seemingly survived the "big break" with no personal damages.  No, they haven't signed to a major label, but they're close.  I can feel it.  For a band so close to stardom, they are humble, compassionate, empathetic, and honest with EVERY fan.  In fact, they prefer not to use the term "fans", they prefer to say family. 

I've been doing this for a while, and I can honestly say that NO other band I have written about has dropped what they were doing to call me on the phone and talk for two hours about everything from music to chocolate gravy.  I was shocked that they could so easily be so personal with a perfect stranger.  Although, I did repeatedly assure them my intentions were noble!!

"Shallow Side is not just two words that represent them as a group, rather, it is a representation of humble beginnings infused with the knowledge that life is unforgiving, but there is hope for tomorrow."  Truer words have never been spoken.  Per their band bio on their Facebook page, the song "Fear Ends Tonight" is Eric's message to the band.  "I wanted to give them something to let them know I am here for them, and we are all in this together, to just throw it out there and give it all we had.  I want them to know this is a personal message of trust.  My trust in them, and the hope they trust in me."

The first time I listened to their song "Try To Fight It", I was hooked.  It's hard for me to put into words what my initial thoughts were, but I can say that they were somewhat like "Holy shit.  How are these guys still independent?"  I truly didn't believe that they had not been signed.  They combine so many great sounds,  but my best comparison would be Breaking Benjamin or old school Finger Eleven riffs, with new Papa Roach vocals.  The guitar riffs draw you in like a fly to honey, and the vocals catch your attention like a bolt of lightning in a summer storm.  These guys bring out the fury and the mystery of the south with EVERY note they perform.  Not in a rebel flag, sweet tea, and corn bread kind of way, but more in a random tornado ripping through a cotton field in July kind of way.  One that is so devastatingly beautiful that you just simply cannot stop watching. 

Being a vocalist myself, I'm naturally drawn to lyrics and melody.  Eric has cornered the market on embodying a dark, deep, almost sexual tension in a gorgeous tenor tone.  The guys on guitar (Seth, Cody, and Johnny) pull these haunting riffs out of the stratosphere, that from the first note draw you in and make your mind and your ears beg for more.  They truly know the art of a great breakdown, and they use it to their advantage.  The first line of Try To Fight It says, "I can't stand the way you always lead me on......" which is ironic, because the build-up to the initial vocal builds in a way that literally is like a tease.  You know what's coming, but it takes a minute to explode into exactly what you expect.  The first time they broke into the heavy riff, I got goosebumps.  The lead in was perfectly accented by amazing drum beats from Heath.  I'm serious when I say that the way this music flows together is flawless.  Not only is the flow, and the music flawless, but these songs exude passion.  Every word, every note, and every beat tells the exact story and emotion that it is meant to.  You can hear heartbreak, excitement, anger, disappointment, love, and faith.  For me, it is rare to find a band that speaks to my soul the way this one does.  As much as I can gush like a school girl about my new favorite band, I would much rather you go and listen to it for yourself.  Shallow Side embodies sheer musical perfection, not only in talent, but in attitude and ethic.  I guarantee you, these guys are going somewhere very fast.

A quote from Eric really gives life to what I'm saying.  "Being a musician isn't about picking up an instrument.  It's not about standing on a stage and basking in the glory of 'rock stardom' me, being a musician is about taking the fall gracefully and standing up stronger than before, as anyone should do in any career they hope to follow."

They have always written and played their own music, but when they were amidst the notorious "creative blocks", they would play cover songs from Shinedown, Tool, 10 Years, Chevelle, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Nickleback, and a list of others ten miles long.  Eric says they even played a little country.  "Hey, we're southern boys.  It's in our blood."  The covers have never completely stopped though.  The band really enjoys playing other artists music and jamming out their riffs and melodies.  They say writing is completely different for them now though, because they feel like they've grown enough to know what direction they want the song to take as opposed to what they've had in the past.

Writing is a group effort.  Most of the time, riffs and string arrangements are done by the guys that play them (Cody, Seth, and Rocksteed), beats and bass by Heath and Cody, and Eric says that the melody and lyrics are usually "spawned from his usually unorganized, unfiltered lifestyle".  Their first professional recording session was with acclaimed producer Travis Wyrick from Knoxville, TN.  Wyrick is best known for his work with P.O.D., 10 Years, Disciple, TobyMac, and Dolly Parton.

The band has been seemingly hand picked by a higher power.  Seth, Heath, and Eric grew up together and started playing music together about a year before their first tour in 2011.  Cody found Eric at a show and said that they needed another member in the band.  After being laughed at a few times, he showed up at Eric's house at three in the afternoon and said, "Let's go to practice.  I've got something to show you."  The guy knew what he wanted and straight up went for it.  That night, they meshed so well that Cody permanently became an integral part of the band, first on guitar, and later on bass.  Johnny Rocksteed AKA Justin Smith came into the band in a similar fashion.  One night on tour, Eric received a message from Rocksteed saying, "Hey man, I really dig y'alls music.  I'm a big fan of the sound.  I'm glad music like y'all play is still being made.  Can I come spend the night and watch you guys practice?"  Being "cautious", Eric ignored him for a few weeks, but Rocksteed wrote him every day.  Eventually, the two met at a show where Rocksteed introduced himself.  After a few things were said that I'm going to keep "off the record", they laughed and joked about it, and the next weekend Rocksteed was at Eric's house.  He walked into the practice space, set up his equipment, and "lit the ground on fire".  After helping them on tour, Rocketseed finally took the stage with them, creating the five piece band that they are touring with this year.
Before their first tour, Seth was working for Rite Aid, Heath at a local factory, Cody as an electrician, and Eric for a construction crew.  A big show of committment happened when they all quit their jobs to pursue music careers full time.  The decision to quit started with all of them calling in during a practice one night because they wanted to finish a song that they were pouring their heart and soul into.  They then decided to quit because playing four days a week all over the state AND working a regular job just couldn't cut it anymore.  Eric says that it just wasn't physically possible to keep their heads up at work all day, then finish up their day at 3am in some bar.  Nick Tolbert, tour manager and long time friend, at that point said, "You guys have one month...put in your notice", and so they did.

Their very first tour is one for the books.  They say it put them in their place very quick.  The tour started out being booked by a "nameless company" that more than once left them stranded on the side of the road, not knowing where their next gig was going to be.  They had played for three weeks and saw a mere $200 in pay out.  Many of their venues weren't even aware that the band was supposed to be there, and the few that did weren't aware that the band was supposed to be paid.  They kept going though, often even without food.  Miles from home, they spent hours outside of Wal-Marts and malls selling their CDs for $2-$3 each just to get enough money to travel to the next venue. 

"To say it was hard would be an understatement.  Sometimes, when the shame and humiliation became overwhelming, we all could sense each other's desire to run home...beaten."

They were sitting in Parkersburg, WV when they found out that the next two weeks worth of bookings were fake.  Chalk one up to a really horrible booking company.  They decided at that point to just sell as many CDs as they could and pack it up and go home.  That entire day, though, they had been begging for a chance from literally anyone on the internet.  They got a call from their good friend Bruce Tuck in Battle Creek, MI.  Bruce told them that he had heard what had been going on, and that he was doing what he could to change things up.  He said, "You've got a show Friday in Parkersburg at the 5th St. Pub".

The band decided to give it one more shot.  They stuck around, and stood on street corners, outside of every McDonald's, mall, Wal-Mart, club, restaraunt, venue, and bar in town telling people about their show that Friday.  It was a shot in the dark, but they dug in deep, and that Friday night, it paid off.  Two hundred people were standing outside of a small bar in West Virginia just to see what these guys from Alabama were all about.  They then did the same thing in every city they played.  Eric says that had they given up in that little town, they wouldn't be where they are now, and that he wouldn't be who he is today.

Since then, they've had the honor of sharing a stage with bands such as One Less Reason, Pop Evil, My Darkest Days, Trapt, Crossfade, Deuce, 3 Pill Morning, New Medicine, Zack Myers of Shinedown (on his solo tour), Fuel, Mark Tremonti, Sevendust, and NonPoint. 

Eric said that playing with such big bands is a real factor in where his mindset of humility comes from.  He said he can remember being a kid and mowing grass for weeks in the hot Alabama sun just to buy a CD, then getting to meet that band and being very let down because of the attitude that he was shown.  He says that it's his goal to welcome that grass cutting kid with open arms, and make him feel like the most important person in the world.  It's very refreshing to hear such positive goals from an artist, when the industry standard is body guards, and no contact, and stamped autographs. 

All of the members have loved ones that they leave behind when they go out on the road, though specifics will be kept confidential for obvious reasons.  Just understand that being on the road and away from home is very difficult and emotional for each of them in their own way.

The band is gearing up for their third tour with Super Bob and Prospect Hill.  They are being sponsored by Puncture Wounds Clothing and Wicked Hammer Energy Drink.  Their single "Fear Ends Tonight" (2010) and the 5 tracks from their EP "Home Today" (2012) are likely to be featured in the set list, as well as plenty more new stuff.  Tour dates will be posted on the blog so that you can keep up with them.

"I have honestly met a ton of bands through my photography, and these guys are at the top of my list for overall best band when it comes to collaboration of music, live performance, attitude, personality, work ethic, and relationship with their fans.  They are seriously like family to me."  - Tracie Chanady

I have the utmost respect for each member of this band and their management team.  I am beyond grateful at the opportunity to write about them, and so excited to see where they go.  Shallow Side is proof that there truly are good and genuine people in an industry that is notorious for fakes and phonies.  Kudos to you guys for keeping a good head on your shoulders.  I hope and pray that you never lose sight of it, and I wish you every bit of luck in the universe.  You are truly something special, and every one of my readers is going to love following you every step and stumble of the way!  Mad love and respect from the Red Lollipop herself.  Keep an eye out for Part 2 very soon!

You can also find their music on Spotify!!

Photo Courtesy of Dennis Calvert
 ***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Nellie Wilson and The Hellbound Honeys

This band is a rare gem!!  All the way from Madison, WI, Nellie Wilson and The Hellbound Honeys formed in 2009.  They played their first show in 2010, and recorded their first album in 2011!  Their band bio is a very fun read, so of course, I recommend you check it out!

"Wilson's not just a vulgar vocalist, she's a smutty sage."  - Jessica Steinhoff of

Featuring a sound that is classic country, and what I feel is made for The Bluebird Cafe, Nellie and her honeys remind me of another band I really dig, Delta Rae.  Promoting two albums, "Live at the Lobo Lounge" and "Taking the 'O' Out of Country", the band plays shows regularly with several other big bands in their genre!!  They are currently working on their 3rd album, which should come out within the next month or so!

Their writing influences range from art music to classic country to metal.  Nellie is a classically trained musician with degrees to back it up!  She is also very comfortable in her own skin, and has no shame in bringing something to the table like you've never heard.  It's very common to hear male led bands do a smut song, but rare to find a female willing to be so vulgar.  Not many women would be so bold as to sing something called "This Pussy Ain't Gonna Lick Itself".  I love the "balls" this woman has!

If you want a really fun, and wildly entertaining playlist, add this band to it guys!  Follow the links and check out what they've got going on!

Nellie Wilson - Bass/Vocals
Doc Franklin - Lead Guitar/Vocals
Rusty Shackleford - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Jed - Drums

You can also find their stuff on Spotify!!!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Fisticuffs

From the south side of Chicago, The Fisticuffs is an Irish punk band that formed in 2005 with a music style easily compared to Dropkick Murphy's, Flogging Molly, The Tossers, and The Pogues.  I was lucky enough to have them suggested to me, and was granted an online interview! 

When was the band started?
-The Fisticuffs formed in 2005, right after a couple of us got out of high school and wanted to start a celtic punk band. -Our first song was a union fight song called "Scab", which still gets dusted off on very rare occasions.
Who writes your songs?
-Our singer Bob writes all of the lyrics, and the music is collaborated on by the rest of us. Usually a beat or riff is presented, and then the rest of us build our parts off of that. 
Who/what do you get inspiration from?
-Our inspiration comes from a little bit of Jameson Irish Whiskey, mixed with everyone's personal musical tastes.
How will you get noticed?
-When it comes to getting our name out there, we do everything we can to play out as often, and as far out as possible. We have done multiple trips out to the east coast, playing everywhere we can from New York to Florida. 
Who would you someday love to play with?
-We would love eventually play with the Street Dogs. They are definitely a band favorite.
What is your goal for the band?
-Our goal is playing as loud and as fast as we can, for anyone who will listen, until they won't listen anymore.
The Fisticuffs have played several big venues including The Bottom Lounge, The Beat Kitchen, Reggie's, Champ's Rock Room, and The Subterranean.  With a very high quality Irish sound, they are very easy to like.  The music has that iconic Irish punk sound.  Great guitar, awesome fiddle, catchy drum beats, killer bass, and the perfect blend of both beautiful and growling lyrics.
They have three independent studio albums.
-Bruised But Not Beaten (2006)
-Neatly Stumblin' (2008)
-You'll Not Take Me Alive (2011)
Normally, I pick out a few songs to recommend, but with this band it was an impossible task.  I love every single song I heard.  They are all perfect!
 My blood line is seeped in Irish tradition, so I'm very naturally drawn to this genre, but history aside, who doesn't like to go drink a tall Guinness and listen to some seriously wicked tunes?  The Fisticuffs are a perfect choice for those who do!!!  They are definitely one that I've added to my "I've got to see them live" list, and so should you, but until then, follow the links and check out what they bring to the table!  It will have you rocking out in the shower, in your car, cooking dinner, or at the bar!  Wicked fun music!!
Bobby Baldwin - Lead Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Dave Beneventi - Mandolin/Backing Vocals
Tony Dellorto - Drums/Backing Vocals
Arcadia Kust - Fiddle/Backing Vocals
Sean Moriarty - Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Neil Farrell - Bass
You can also find their stuff on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon!!   Check 'em out!!
***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Brink of Sanity

Influenced by the likes of Miss May I, Lamb of God, and Dying Fetus, The Brink of Sanity is making their presence known.  Hailing from Myrtle Beach, SC, this metal band formed in 2010, adding a couple members in 2011. 

Their song "With Clarity Comes Psychotic Jealousy" reminds me a lot of Dethklok.  The vocals are different.  Each song has two different sets of vocals.  One being the low, growling, demonic sound, and the other is shatter the glass screaming.  They have on EP out called "Contaminate of Reason" (great name, guys) that is a really good listen.

I'm most impressed by the music. The vocals are great as well, but when blended with the talent of the guitar, bass, and drums it comes together to form something well blended. The double pedal drumming is absolutely wicked.  No doubt in my mind you could see these guys on stage with the likes of Mudvayne before too long.  I found a quote about them that's quite fitting.

"I say keep with what style you have, because it takes a minute to learn breakdowns, but what you guys play it takes talent."   - Kevin Zeigler, KT Magazine

I have to say that I agree.  Although metal is somewhat of a touch and go genre for me, when I find a metal band that I like, I stick to them.  Along with Bodybag, Otep, Lamb of God, Cradle of Filth, and Suicide Silence I have added The Brink of Sanity to my metal playlist, and if you're a massive metal head, you should too!  Follow the links and check them out!

Steve Duvall - Lead Vocals
Ryan Shaver - Guitars
Aaron Gruber - Drums/Percussion/Vocals
Wes Deloach - Guitars

You can also find their stuff on Spotify,, and Google Play

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rachael Yamagata

This gorgeous voice hails from Arlington, VA.  Rachael Yamagata is a rare talent I could easily compare to the likes of Fiona Apple, Carol King, Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, and Tom Waits.  She writes and performs songs that exude the dark side of a love song. 

I discovered this one courtesy of my Tori Amos channel on iHeartRadio.  The song started, and within 30 seconds of hearing it, I was on Google and Facebook sharing her voice for the world to hear!

Rachael sang with the Chicago based band "Bumpus" for 6 years, but went solo in 2001.  In 2002, she got a two record deal with Arista's Private Music.  Since then she's done some amazing things!

She's done one major tour with Mandy Moore, and has played at Bonnaroo.  Also, it is worth noting some of the collaborations she has done.  She has written/performed songs with artists such as Ryan Adams, Jason Mraz, John Francis, Terra Naomi, and many more.

Currently, there are three studio albums and five EPs available for her.  Her album Happenstance is a beautiful mix of mellow blues and soulful vocals.  She has a very addicting, hypnotizing voice.  Much like Norah Jones, I can put in one of her CD's and not have to skip a single song!  Many of her songs have been featured on literally 30 or more different TV shows.

Follow the links my faithful readers!  She's definitely one for easy listening!!

You can also find her stuff on Simfy, Zvooq,Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, IMDb, Slacker Radio, Deezer, MOG, Rdio, Jelli, and Spotify!!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

The Sounds

A major band for those who know them, The Sounds hail from Stockholm!  They are an indie rock/new wave band that somewhat remind me of Paramore, Blondie, or the Epoxies.  I first heard this band, again, courtesy of Rock Band.  (Seriously, invest in the game.  You can find some really great music!)  Their song "Living in America" really caught my attention, so I decided that they were worth looking into.....and I was right!

The band recorded their debut album "Living in America" in Stockholm.  Shortly after its release, the band got some pretty serious attention in both Europe and the US.  In 2004 they played the Warped Tour, and in 2006 they played it again from the main stage.

They've toured with several big names including The Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Paramore, Panic at the Disco, and No Doubt.  The proudly promote four studio albums:

Living In America (2002)
Dying to Say This to You (2006)
Crossing the Rubicon (2009)
Something to Die For (2011)

Maja (Pronounced Maya) Ivarrson (Lead Singer) was named in Blender Magazine's "Hottest Women of Rock", and they weren't lying.  She's dead sexy!  A very old school vocal sound, they definitely stand out!  My favorite song by them is Living in America, but other great ones include Tony the Beat and No One Sleeps When I'm Awake.

Their songs are packed with very catchy beats, and a very cool mix of electronic sounds!  As always, follow the links and check it out!!  It might be your new favorite band!  =-)

Maja Ivarsson - Lead Vocals
Felix Rodriguez - Guitar
Jesper Anderberg - Keys, Piano, Guitar
Johan Bengtsson - Bass
Fredrick Blond (Formerly Fredrick Nilsson) - Drums

They also have music available on Simfy, Rhapsody, Zvooq, iHeartRadio, MOG, Slacker Radio, Deezer, VEVO, IMDb, Jelli, Spotify, and iTunes!!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Monday, January 28, 2013

DJ Drew

Coming at you from Yuma, AZ I've got to introduce the one and only DJ Drew!!  This guy has some serious beats!  He takes the best of literally everything and packs it all together in one massive, pumped up jam! 

His tracks are never the same, but all together bad ass!  I jam his stuff when I'm cleaning, putting on my make up, folding laundry.  His music makes me happy, and it gets me dancin'!

I happened upon this guy via a "Like Ladder" on Facebook.  Initially it was I will follow you if you follow me, but when I checked out some of his page I was like, "Dang!  This guy is the business!"  As I've said before, I don't discriminate when it comes to music as long as there's talent involved.  A DJ can seriously spin some killer stuff if he/she knows what they're doing.  For example, DJ Rap is another amazing listen, and seriously, this guy's stuff is just as good! 

Though I've never met him, DJ Drew came into my life all the way from AZ to IL.  I bet he will do the same for you once you hear what he spins!  Follow the links below, and check him out, and if you live anywhere near him, throw him some love and book him for your event!  Make it one no one will forget!!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

PSA #2

Hey guys!  I just wanted to let you know that you can now follow me on Twitter!

Also, just a couple notes of interest.  I am working on a new page.  I'm taking the blog from Blogspot to an independent site!  It's very exciting!  Progress is ticking along, but bear with me during the transition!  I'm very excited to expand this operation!  The other note of interest is that if you haven't noticed the link on the side, there is a Facebook fan page for Hidden Gems as well!  I would love for you to become a fan!  The bands that have been reviewed have been known to stop by and post awesome stuff, and you can keep up to date with concert info, upcoming articles, etc.

Thank you guys for making this such a big success for me!  I have some special surprises coming up, and a couple giveaways as well!  Who wants free band merch?  Keep reading!  Leave me some comments, I love feedback, and please keep sending me those emails!  I love it!!

Have a great great week guys!

XOXOXO- Red Lolli

LeRoy Bell

Okay, first, I would like for you to take a long look at this picture.  Can you believe this guy is 61 years old?  I know the first time I saw him, I was in total shock.  LeRoy Bell is an amazing singer/songwriter from Seattle, Washington.  Some of you may recall seeing him on the first season of The X Factor.  He was eliminated in the final 8, but stood out to me.  I was very excited to see that, although he didn't win, he went on to make an album.  What I didn't know about this guy is the reason I'm writing about him.

LeRoy has been in and around the music industry since 1978.  In and out of a couple different bands, I found out that he has had some major accomplishments that have gone completely unnoticed by the general public.  As amazing a performer he is, he is a very accomplished song writer.  More so for other people than himself, allow me to give you a list of people he has written for.

1.  The Spinners
2.  The Ojays
3.  The Temptations
4.  Rita Marley
5.  Gladys Knight & The Pips
6.  Freda Payne
7.  The Three Degrees
8.  Elton John
9.  Teddy Pendegrass
10. Lou Rawls
11. Jeniffer Lopez

There are others as well.  Not only has he written songs for these artists, but all of them have been recorded.  How have I not heard this name before X Factor?!  There are some impressive names on that list.  I know that shows like this have a tendency to generate crap music because of the demographic they target, but I have always watched.  I find myself much more fascinated with the ones who don't win, because they usually have the most talent.  Think about it next time you're watching one!  You can easily find a list of artists and songs that he has written.  It's a very interesting read, just Google it!

Before the X Factor, Leroy recorded four EP's.  Since going solo in the 2000's he has released another four.  My favorite of the four is "A Change is Coming" from 2008.  The title track "A Change is Coming" reminds me sound wise of Marc Cohn.  Vocally, there are some similarities there.  The lyrics LeRoy writes are absolutely beautiful.

LeRoy also has spent time working with the project United in Song.  Several other artists including Michael Franti, contributed to this album.  It's definitely a noteworthy cause.  If you haven't heard of it, do a quick Google search!

I'm amazed by the talent this man has, not to mention he seems to have swam in the fountain of youth.  His music is beautifully written, and expertly performed.  He has a beautiful, soulful voice that is almost haunting in nature.  Not one to do many upbeat tracks, he's definitely an "easy listening" type of find.  Definitely hot date material!

You can find him all over.  Spotify, iHeart Radio, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook.  Don't hesitate to check him out!  As always, follow the links and maybe hit me with a comment.  I'm always curious to see if you like the artists I post or not.  Thanks for reading!!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Brother's Will

The Brother's Will hails from the great state of Virginia!  A fairly young group, these guys have really started making a name for themselves.  They have been featured in The National Local Showcase, had a front page article in the Virginia Gazette, and been on the 96X local show.  Quite the laundry list for these guys! 

Proudly calling themselves alternative, these guys have a sound somewhat similar to Plumb, Coldplay, Third Day, etc.  It's a sound I like to think is "coffee shop indie".  Very cool harmonies, very catchy beats, and very peppy guitar riffs.

I had a hard time digging up much of a bio, but from what I could gather, the band was originally started as a hobby.  They have one EP out called "Everything I See", and are currently promoting it.  I really enjoyed listening to this band that had been shared with me via e-mail.  I thought they were definitely worth a second look!  If they keep going with the momentum they have so far, they're going to go a long way!

Please, follow the links below and check out this unique sound!!

The Brother's Will:
Ryland Willis- Rhythm Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Vocals
Ben Willis- Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica, Vocals
Chandler Matkins- Percussion, Rapper
Nick Sydow- Lead Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Vocals, Rapper
Reed Willis- Synth/Keyboard, Rhythm Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Vocals

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is a band that has a history.  Not necessarily a good one, this band is made up in part of former members of the band Orgy.  Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck started writing songs that the Orgy lead singer, Jay Gordon, had no interest in working with, so they found themselves launching Julien-K sans Jay in 2003.

Songs from their first EP were featured on the Transformers soundtrack in 2007.  The band now has a laundry list of songs, albums, and tour dates.  With a sound very similar to Orgy, fans of Blue Monday should really enjoy this stuff!

The electronic sound on these songs such as "Kick the Bass" and "Technical Difficulties" is unbelievable!  I have really enjoyed doing research for this band.  I was always a fan of Orgy, and although pretty different, it's nice to know that I can hear tracks from some amazing song writers. 

There is so much out there on these guys, that I find myself really at a loss for words.  This is one of those reviews where you should just check them out for yourselves.  I really don't think you will be disappointed, we're talking about some very talented, very well known artists here.  If you listened to Orgy, if you rocked out to "Blue Monday", give these guys a chance.  Their indie stuff is phenomenal!!  Follow the links!!

Sometimes Frank
Sometimes Eli 

Photo By Greg Waterman

 ***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

The Gospel Whiskey Runners

Hailing from California, The Gospel Whiskey Runners leaves me with some hope for an industry that eats people alive for a living.  When most artists would sell out, these guys have stayed true to their sound and their message. 

"Our goal has been to bring our hope-filled songs to those who are stuck in the darkest places in this world. We've sung in bars, churches, night clubs, street corners, and homeless shelters. Playing music for people at all of these venues has opened up conversations about the songs we sing and why we sing them. We would like to let the music continue to be a means of filling ears and hearts with the sweet news of hope."  -- From their Facebook page.

What a message right?  I was very impressed when I read that.  Then I listened to their track "Hold On".  I got goosebumps.  You can hear them singing to that homeless was very awe-inspiring.  So with that said, let's talk about their music!

If you're a fan of Ryan Adams, this is definitely a band that should go on your playlist.  TGWR has a mix of folk and indie/alternative sound.  With very uplifting beats, vocals, and riffs, they are a band that is sure to inspire a movement, even if only for the few moments you're listening to that song.  You will finish the song feeling inspired.

The lead vocals are a very throaty high tenor sound, signature to Jerrod.  The harmony vocals from Colette are a beautiful alto that is clean and crisp.  Together they make a very beautiful harmony.

Proudly promoting their first album, "Hold On", this band is gearing up for what sounds like an awesome US tour!  I'm sincerely hoping that they make it this way very soon. I would love to see them live!  Until then, though, I have their album and would like to share the experience with all of you!  If you really want to FEEL the power of music, and what it was MEANT to do, please follow these links and give them a listen.  You won't regret it!  Leave some comments, and let me know what you think!

Jerrod Turner, Colette Boley, Michael Burnias, Jordan Qualls, Ryan Turner

 ***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

World Minus One

Female fronted Milwaukee, WI band, World Minus One, is another one that you hardcore Rock Band Network users may have heard of.  About two years ago, I downloaded their song "Still Alive" to my Rock Band song list.  The lead singer, Sara Brauer, really caught my attention.  Her voice has a deep, throaty, Billie Holdiay type sound.

I, apparently, am not the only one to notice her vocal ability.  I found out that in 2011, she auditioned for American Idol and received the golden ticket to Hollywood.  A major accomplishment for any vocalist!  To see a picture of her, you wouldn't expect the sound that comes out!  Very talented young woman!

Another big merit to the band is the amazing guitar and keyboard work.  The band has a rock core, but there are hints of electronica and industrial sounds in the mix.  The guitar gives the band its signature rock sound, while the keyboards come in and change the sound again.  Each song evolves as the track plays longer!  I'm not much of a wordsmith, so it's a hard thing to describe.  It's definitely something worth checking out though.

The band has two studio albums, "Now or Never" and their newest one "Shadows Remain".  Both are available in their entirety on Spotify if you want a free preview!  You can also check them out on YouTube  Follow the links below and see what's up with World Minus One!

Sara Brauer - Vocals
Jaek Pachniak - Guitar
Dan Faherty - Guitar
Paul Pachniak - Vocals, keyboards
Kirk Pogorzelski - Drums
Adam Granatella - Bass

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Public Service Announcement

This blog is called "Hidden GEMS in the Music Industry", not hidden crap.  Let me explain what that means and how this works.  Every week I receive tons of emails from bands, managers, publicists, etc. asking me to check out their stuff.  I read about them, do some research, listen to clips, watch videos, etc.  Once I've done all of that, if I decide that I really enjoy their stuff, if I feel that they are very talented, if I see them going places, etc. I will feature them in an article.  I will inform the general public of their existence, what their sound is like, what I particularly like about them, and so on and so forth.  If I don't like the stuff I get, it's simple.  I don't write about it.  If you are looking for a thrash it or trash it type review, it's not here.  The "reviews" may contain some criticism IF I'm reviewing a specific album, show, or video from a band that has been previously featured.  I'm not trying to write a blog telling you what music NOT to listen to.  That in no way means I won't occasionally voice my opinion about popular music that I don't like.  The point of this PSA is simply this, either you like the content or you don't.  If you don't, so sorry, but there's a simple solution.  Go find a blog with content that you DO like.  I won't allow comments that are rude, bitchy, demeaning, generally stupid, etc. be published.  There's no need to insult.  A simple "I didn't like that band" or "God, that band was amazing" will suffice.  I encourage commenting and conversing back and forth, but let's keep it peaceful guys!  I do moderate the comments, and I won't let anyone be just downright hateful.  Your opinion is fine, but your insults won't post!  Thanks for reading guys!!  xoxoxoxo -Lolli

Monday, January 21, 2013

Girl on Fire

Seattle rock band Girl on Fire was another new one to me!  Someone suggested that I check them out.  I hit up my trusty Spotify, and checked out the five songs that were available.  I really liked what I heard so I decided to check out their Facebook fan page.  I noticed in their photos that they have done a show with James Durbin, who is another one of my favorites.  At that point I decided, "Yep.  I'm going to contact them about an article".  I sent the messages and e-mails, and sure enough, they gave me the okay to do a write up!  So here we go!

This band reminds a lot of All That Remains.  A very heavy musical sound with crisp Muse type vocals.  They definitely fit well within their genre!  Something that really stands out for them though is their ability to stop everything but one instrument and vocals and bust out some seriously amazing harmonies!  The first track I noticed it on was "Revenge".  It's a very heavy song, then it breaks down into only a piano.  The vocals come in, do about 15 seconds worth of harmony, and then it's right back into heavy!  The stark contrast of the two sounds give it a very gothic feel.  The other song it really stood out on was Medicate, but instead of piano this time it was drums.  A little less gothic feel and a little more hair metal, but equally great!
They're song "Panic" has a slight Marilyn Manson feel, vocally.  Another good one to check out!

All five songs that I listened to were really catchy.  The band has one album released, "Revenge EP".  It's a very well mastered album.  They have done shows with James Durbin, Last Chance Hero, Fall From Grace, Aiden, and Burn Halo.  You can find their stuff on iHeart Radio, Spotify, YouTube, and more!  These guys are really heading for the big time!  Check them out!  Click the links below!

Austin Held - Voice
Nick McMahan - Guitar
Josh Mouser - Bass
Harry MacDonald - Drums

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

The Elixirs

Okay guys, here's another really bad ass rockabilly band for you!  Introducing The Elixirs!!  I received an e-mail from these guys saying I should check out their album, so guess what?  I did!  Guess what else?  I liked it!  I've reviewed a few rockabilly bands, and I really like them all.  This band is no exception.

Here's the thing though, this band has an admittedly more laid back and less in your face style.  I listened to their whole album, and the transition from song to song is very fluid.  At times I didn't really notice that I was on a different song it flowed together so well! 

The vocalist definitely has a corner on the rebel yell market.  His voice is flawlessly suited for the type of music they do!  The guitar has a very clean distortion and blends very nicely within the band rather than sticking out like a sore thumb!  These guys definitely have something special!!

Having opened for bands like The Kentucky Headhunters, these guys are no strangers to being on the road!  They play all over, and have recently released their first album "Long Gone".  My favorite songs on the album were "Torn Rose", "Cowboy Rot", and "Asshole".  Very clever lyrics :-)

I really enjoyed that this band has such a great and classic sound!  I'm thinking they should be featured on a soundtrack for a Tarantino double feature!  Really great rock n roll that you can easily sit and listen to while you dick around on Facebook, or drink 15 beers and get a little rowdy in the bar jamming out to it!  I love
versatility in my music!  I always have some music playing, but I'm not always jamming it over PA's!  These guys were immediately starred on my Spotify playlist!  I highly recommend you check out their stuff!  Click the links below and see if you find your new favorite song!  Rock on boys!

Dan Tedder: Guitars & Lead Vocals
Dave Huff: Drums
Whitt: Upright Bass & Backing Vocals

You can also find their stuff on YouTube, and can hear their full album for free on Spotify!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Bodybag Fit for a King

Blasting onto the scene from Pekin, IL, Bodybag Fit for a King is a metal band who is really starting to make a name for themselves!  Starting out in a garage, these guys have dealt with cops, haters, and multiple practice space changes, but once they finally did a show their music exploded!

They've shared the stage with several big name metal bands including Texas Hippie Coalition, Otep, and Mushroomhead!!  Their stage show is one of a kind, and a bloody mess.  Literally.  You've just got to see it for yourself guys!

For any readers from the Peoria, IL area you can hear their music on 105.7 the X quite a bit!  They've played several big events around the area, and now are traveling all over the US!  I saw on that they are getting ready to do a show in Norman, OK!

As far as the music they do, Bodybag is modeled after several greats including Mudvayne, Lamb of God, and Meshuggah.  They have one album out called "Reasons for Curiosity" featuring 10 original songs including the ever popular "Caylee's Letter".  These guys have some seriously dark and heavy, hard core music with very nicely written lyrics.  You can definitely tell that this is where their souls lie.

Follow the links below to check out everything they have to offer!  If you're a die hard metal fan, these guys need to be added to your arsenal!!

Dan - Vox
Paul - Guitar
Shane - Bass
Skylar - Skins

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Like A Storm

I'm very excited to bring this review to you guys!  It's has been a major work in progress, and I have been working very closely with the band's publicity/media/booking manager, Lena!  This is definitely a treat for the Like A Storm fans out there!  So without further ado.....

As I sit here writing, I'm jamming out to the band's newest album Chaos Theory Pt. 1.  With guitar riffs rivaling those of Godsmack, Disturbed, and Seether this album is seriously hard core!  The vocals remind me of older Finger Eleven, and maybe a little bit of Killswitch Engage.  This band combines the best sounds of some of my favorite bands into one, and it comes out flawlessly!  Hands down one of my favorite up and coming bands, Like A Storm is making their presence known!  

Opening major tours for bands such as Creed, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, and Puddle of Mudd the band, originally from New Zealand, has gained a pretty big US following!  Their debut album "The End of the Beginning" entered Billboard charts at #61!  That just goes to show what a fan base they gained from their tours guys!

My first experience with Like A Storm was in Nashville, TN in 2009.  I saw them open for a double bill Staind and Creed.  I was second row, and I'll never forget the moment the guys took the stage and busted out the most amazing cover of Man in the Box by AIC I have ever heard!  I had never heard any of their songs, and didn't really know who they were at all, but by the 3rd song of their set I was jumping up and down and screaming for them like a small child at Christmas.  After their set, the guys came out to the crowd to watch the rest of the show.  Bonus!  They sat with me and my husband!  There was a little boy sitting behind us who was celebrating his birthday, and we mentioned it to Chris Brooks (lead singer).  He instantly turned around and told the kid happy birthday and handed him a guitar pick!  I'm telling you he made that kid's night!  I got to sit and jam with them, and then after the show they autographed a poster for me, and I had a picture taken with them.  I still have the poster proudly hanging on my wall!  

Last year, I noticed that their first single "Chemical Infatuation" was available for purchase on Rock Band.  I flipped out with excitement and bought it immediately!  Some of you die hard Rock Band players may have heard of them that way, and if you haven't heard of them at my house, you will before you leave!  I'm so wildly impressed by the music that these guys come out with, it's hard not to show them off!

Another major note on the character of the guys I should mention is that they have been voted "Most Fan Friendly Band" two years in a row!  These guys really do go above and beyond for each fan!  For you lady readers, I also have to say that every one of them is yummy.  Soooooo good looking!!  Let's just say, I wouldn't kick them out of bed for eating cookies.

There are several really great songs that I recommend you check out!  I really enjoyed their cover of "Gangster's Paradise".  I also really love "Chemical Infatuation" and "Six Feet Under".  There are several ways that you can find them, so my advice is follow the links below and check out their stuff!  Once my new calendar app goes live, I will be tour information in for them so that maybe you can catch a live show!  I love this band guys, and if you like the rock scene, you're going to love them too!  Truly talented, sexy, fan-friendly guys!!  Give them some love in the comments!!

Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keys/Programming & Didgeridoo

Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar & Keys/Programming

Bass, Vocals, Guitar & Keys/Programming = main website = YouTube channel = fan club site 

All Photo credit: Dustin Larsen -

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @*** 

Introducing........Red Lolli

So, that's me!  Your blogger extraordinaire.......not tooting my own horn or anything!  I figured it was about time I introduce myself.  My name is Becky "Red Lolli" Harriss.  I'm a 27 year old music fanatic!  As some of you may know I'm the lead singer of a small time local band called Party Naked.  Not to worry, this blog is not intended to shamelessly promote MY band.  This page is for everyone else, and past this post you won't ever see me mention my band again!

I've been singing since I was in the uterus (most likely).  I play several instruments, have taken many many many music classes, and am well known for my eclectic taste in music.  I love everything from Billie Holiday to Otep to Gretchen Wilson to Twista.  I don't discriminate.  Good tunes is good tunes.  If you've got a jam that speaks to my soul, I'm gonna listen.

I appreciate REAL talent.  I don't like voice overs, I don't like auto tune, I don't like pre-recorded live shows.  I want real, in your face, I hear every mistake music.  Hence the reason I prefer a live show over a studio album.

Red Lolli is a nick name given to be my good friend Tim.  Red because of my hair (yes, it's chemically dependent), and Lolli because every time he talked to me, when he typed in LOL his auto correct suggested the word lollipop.  Hence a nickname that stuck.  I have others, but they aren't family friendly.

Anyway, now you know a little about me, and we're clear that my intentions are in no way selfish in nature.  I have love for every band I post on here, and have earned mutual respect from each of them.  I've obtained permission from each artist to use every photo on here, so please don't start screaming copyright shit.  Calm down, its all cool!  Most of the pictures have been emailed to me by the bands or artists themselves.

I'm getting ready to move this blog to a private .com address, and once that takes place things are going to get interesting!  My goal is to implement a star rating system, put up a monthly calendar of reviews, start posting concert dates for some of the bands I'm promoting, and last but not least, at the end of each month the band with the most views, comments, and stars will win an exclusive promotion including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube promos.  So if you're one of the bands, get your fans over here to vote for you.  If you're a fan, for pete's sake, pick a band and vote for them.

Remember first and foremost, this is a page about the love of music!  Please respect my opinion and the artist's feelings.  No haters.  Unless a Nicki Minaj fan shows up running their mouth.  Then by all means, everyone attack!!  Thanks for being a faithful reader!

Also you guys can check out more content by following me on Twitter @redlolli2012 or checking out the Facebook fan page at!!

XOXOXOXO Much love guys and gals!  - Lolli

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Zac Nelson

From the great state of California comes a sound probably unlike anything you have ever heard.  Zac Nelson provided me with music that I'm officially at a loss of words for.  An amazing sound, his stuff put me in a total trance.  I don't really have any way to describe or compare.  This guy's sound is totally unique, and radically wonderful.

In a brief interview with Zac, I asked him to tell me where he found inspiration for his music.  He excitedly started naming performers such Bjork, Blind Melon, Steve Roach, and Charles Ives.  He also said that one very important influence on him was longtime hometown friend, Adam Morton, who introduced him to sound editing with the computer programs Sound Forge and Vegas, which he says he still uses today.

I have to say that I went to high school with Zac.  He was a senior during my freshman year.  I didn't know him very well at all, but I did know (Thanks in part to a talent show that year) that he was an AMAZING drummer.  After high school, he packed up and headed to CA for a while, and headed back to Illinois where he met Monte and Zach.  They started a band called "Princess Sweepstakes", and during that time his eyes were opened to a vast world of new music.  He then discovered that he really liked a lot of ethnic music from around the world.

He plays in a couple bands (Alak and Biosexual), but hasn't played a solo show in a while.  However, the great news is he has a solo album out called "Charbroile" courtesy of Debacle Records out of Seattle.  I listened to the whole thing, and I have to tell you, although unlike anything I've ever heard, it is absolutely amazing!  The track "Good Ole Boy March" was my favorite out of the 11 tracks.  It has a catchy beat, yes, but the lyrics and the way they were placed in the song were pure genius.

You can find his stuff on YouTube.  I'm also going to post a link to the site where you can preview and purchase his album.  The album is a mere $7, and absolutely worth the buy!  Leave me some comments and let me know what you think of his stuff!  Very different, but very very very genius!  Keep it up, Zac!  You've definitely got one die hard fan in me!!  Kudos!

***Have a band?  Know a band you want to see reviewed?  Send me an email and some links @***