Londons Burning & White Riot
Londons Burning & White Riot
Merging the studied cool of the new wave revivalist movement with the sleek textures and commanding rhythm of electronic pop, Hockey burst out of the Portland, OR music scene in 2009 to become cult favorites in the United Kingdom on the strength of a handful of live appearances and a self-produced demo EP. Vocalist and guitarist Ben Grubin and bassist Jeremy Reynolds formed Hockey in 2007 while they were both students at Southern California’s Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, a free-form college affiliated with the University of Redlands. The Johnston Center allows students to establish their own curriculum, and Grubin and Reynolds used the opportunity to focus their attentions on music. They began writing songs and playing out as Hockey accompanied only by a drum machine, and a demo recorded by this early incarnation of the band attracted the attention of A&R executives at Sony Music. Hockey were signed to a record deal, but communication between Grubin and Reynolds and Sony soon broke down, and attempts to cut an album with producer Jerry Harrison (ex-Talking Heads) came to a halt when Sony dropped the band. Grubin and Reynolds left California for a creative environment where they could start over, and after a spell in Spokane, WA, they found it in Portland, OR. Hockey expanded to a four-piece with the addition of percussionist Anthony Stassi and guitarist Brian White during the band’s stay in Spokane, and they started playing clubs and college parties as soon as they hit Portland. Home-recorded versions of the songs “Learn to Lose” and “Work” found their way to Zane Lowe, a disc jockey at BBC Radio 1, and airplay generated a demand for the group in the U.K.. After being invited to play the London club Water Rats, and a showcase hosted by the influential music magazine New Musical Express, Hockey were once again being courted by the major labels, and they signed with Virgin for the U.K. and Europe and Capitol for the United States. Hockey’s album Mind Chaos, featuring revised versions of the songs from their demo, was released in fall 2009.
The follow-up ‘Wyeth Is’ comes almost four years later. Check their Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
Emerging as a formidable artist these past few years on the SoCal music scene, singer/songwriter Dina Valenz currently performs on a monthly basis at the Long Beach Town Center as part of their Live Music Series. The multi-talented performer has also played at numerous clubs throughout Los Angeles, including recent gigs at Lola’s Martini Bar in West Hollywood.
The San Pedro, California native is a familiar presence on the L.A. club scene from the handful of years she spent with Not Like The Other, where she was the lead singer and only female. Joining the band while enrolled as a Drama major at UC Irvine, Dina continued with them for several years after earning her degree, performing No Doubt, 311 and Sublime covers at hotspots like the House of Blues Foundation Room and the Cat Club. Working later with female quartet …Everything Nice (and Then Some!), she developed a keen ear for harmonies, an experience that plays an instrumental role in her songwriting today.
Emerging now with a completely different musical style in line with key influences like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Jewel, Dina is gearing up to release her four-track debut EP, which was executive produced by veteran contemporary jazz singer-songwriter Mark Winkler (who also co-wrote with Dina the infectious jangling pop/rocker “Favorite Pair of Jeans”) and arranged by renowned jazz pianist/keyboardist Jamieson Trotter. Other tracks include the happy, carefree love song “All My Tomorrows,” the haunting, bluesy heartbreak tune “Miles and Miles” and the infectious and edgy, attitude driven “Skinny Bitch.”
“My music is very much inspired by the pop music of the late 90s,” she adds, “and those were the artists who inspired me to pick up the guitar, sing and write what I feel. The four songs on the EP offer a pretty good spectrum of my writing these days. I feel like I’m in a great creative place and after going through many ups and downs, I’m writing about the things that have gotten me here.”
Dina’s musical destiny began taking shape at age 12, when she picked up the guitar for the first time. She remembers practicing every day after school until her mother forced her to go to bed. “Ever since then,” she says, “my guitar and I have pretty much been inseparable.” Spending much of her lunch hours at school playing and singing for tips for the kids (Skittles, lunch tickets, etc.) She later joined the high school Vocal Ensemble and participated in every performance and talent show she could sign up for. During her senior year, Dina played her first open mic night, where she had the opportunity to play six songs in a row. “I got all my friends out to see me and I was hooked!” she says.
Dina is still hooked (and writing hooks!) – on the joy of performing for audiences, on singing and playing her guitar and writing more songs which she hopes to licensing to television and film as she builds her solo career. She says, “I’ve done a little of everything, from acting to writing screenplays to singing in bands and a capella – and none of those experiences are as meaningful to me as writing and singing my own songs. The best part of the creative journey has been finding myself in the process. This is always going to be what my life is about.”
Oklahoma Cloud Factory:
Cameron Morris – Vocals, Guitar, keys
Ben Brazil – Bass, Glockenspiel.
Taylor Gary – Vocals, Guitar, keys
Blake Burgess – Banjo, Guitar, keys, mandolin
Dylan Jordan – Vocals, Drums
Oklahoma Cloud Factory formed in 2007 by high school friends Cameron Morris and Dylan Jordan. OCF has caught and held the loving gaze of their local music scene. Incorporating tight harmonies, emotional storytelling, and an upbeat vocal driven sound with a sly native twang, OCF reveals their talent and musicianship through dynamic blends of indie rock, folk, and country. The result is a romantic and subtly intricate sound that refuses to be imitated.
Get the latest from OCF, ‘Petroleum Rodeo’ EP.