“Vulture Whale may be the best rock band you haven’t heard. Following two excellent self-titled records, Bamboo You is another solid installment from these Alabama rockers and shifts gears, if only slightly for the band. Frontman Wes McDonald and his crew have mastered the sort of rock music you might have heard on Matador in the mid-’90s, but the band imbued it with its own southern shuffle.”
— Pop Matters
One day, while roaming through the desert, singer/songwriter Wes McDonald spied a vulture, perched atop a cactus, eating a whale. Lo, and the band Vulture Whale was formed. And, baby, musical miscegenation never sounded this good. Like the Mud Shark and the Rock Lobster before it, Vulture Whale is quickly making a name for itself in rock…’s rich taxonomy.
JazzMine 24, born in Birmingham Alabama the guitarist, lyricist, and singer has made the stage her home for many years. Owning the mic in many talent shows, show casings, and collaborations it is evident that her passion bleeds heavily through entertainment. Although she’s equally skilled as a vocalist and guitarist, Garfield is a natural innovator, fusing her brand of acoustic jazz with hip hop, soul, and even a few well-appointed electronic samples. Through her experimentation, she has developed a modern jazz sound that’s updated into the electronic age while remaining soulful in meaning and melody.
“Over the last year, Ante Meridian, the pairing of Amityville, New York transplant Rozewood (rhymes) and Mr. Enok (beats), has steadily risen through the ranks to become one of the city’s most
formidable underground hip-hop duos.”
— Chad Raford (Creative Loafing)
Rozewood (Amityvile, NY) & Mr. Enok (Montgomery, AL) first linked up in the spring of 2011 through mutual friends in Mr. Enoks home studio in Atlanta, GA. After recording their first 3 songs (in one day) the chemistry was apparent. Fast forward to almost a year later, they opened up for Raekwon and simultaneously released their first EP: “3 am poltergeist”. Since then they have been consistently creating music and collaborating with artists like El da Sensei, Boog Brown, & Big Rec, while also sharing the stage with the likes of Curren$y, Syzoo, Freddie Gibbs, and others
“These guys are tricksters; they’re playing lovely pop while wading through murkier waters. Now what’s that aphorism about not judging things from the surface? Yeah, well that rings true here, too.” — Get Bent
Younger Siblings are an indie-pop band from Birmingham, AL. The band was formed by then high-schooler Teddy Rowe on vocals and ukulele with Jonathan Crain (guitar/keys), Keith Neighbors (bass), and Chayse Porter (drums). Early Y.S. songs came to fruition via Rowe’s fixation on melody and whimsical lyrics. Absurd songwriting led an array of genre collages to create colorful, upbeat pop. Recently, the band has incorporated a healthy dose of cartoonish playfulness while venturing into bleaker themes such as despair, death, and loneliness. This combination translates into a reckless live show that makes Younger Siblings the no. 1 must see band of 2013 as voted on by critics everywhere.
In early 2011, from the depths of Birmingham, AL, Blank State was born. Founding members, Ross Parker (Bass) and Will Stewart (Guitar, Vocals), wanted to create a band that played honest, stripped down Rock that carried a sense of urgency. In the following months they enlisted Nick Recio (Drums) to complete the sound they had envisioned.
The songwriting continued and soon they went into the studio to record their first EP, “Twins” with the help of local recording engineer, Emanual Ellinas. The result was a blistering set of tracks with strong melodies, distorted, jangling guitars, deep bass, tight drums and an ethos that is unmistakably Southern.
“A variation of the skinny white-boy insouciance popularized by Mick Jagger … Stone laces the retro sounds with contemporary touches that keep things lively and surprising.”
— Bud Scoppa (Georgia Music)
When Stone first began working on the record back in 2011, the experience played out like the wildest of rock & roll dreams. At 2 a.m., he walked through the doors of Atlanta’s Glow-In-The-Dark Studios with a loose assemblage of backing musicians in tow. The location was well beyond their means, but they were working in the middle of the night in Studio B with an intern engineer at the boards. As mics were set up, they ran through the tune they were about to cut, one of Stone’s newest, an anthemic ’70s-glam march called “War.” Just then, Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum record producer Matt Goldman was wrapping a session in Studio A. Something unexpected caught his ear, and he followed the sounds straight down the hall to Stone and his buddies. “He thought we sounded like T. Rex,” Stone says.
Nuckols, Carnaggio & Eaton is a group founded by Jazz great Cleve Eaton. In the Jazz world Cleve Eaton is highly regarded internationally as a composer, arranger, producer and bassist. For 16 years Cleve was known as “The Counts Bassist” Referring to the legendary Count Basie. Cleve also was a member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio for 10 years. The other member of the Trio was Maurice White who went on to Earth Wind and Fire fame. Some of Cleve’s honors include induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Playboy Jazz Poll. Cleve, as an in demand bassist performed with super stars such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, George Benson and other musical giants. Cleve has also performed on 4 Gold singles, and 7 Grammy winning albums. Today finds Cleveland Eaton moving full speed ahead with his handpicked guitarist Birmingham, Alabama native Joe Carnaggio and Louisville, Kentucky native John Nuckols on drums. As Cleve puts it “These are the only cats since the Basie guys that can play my music.”
John Nuckols is an extraordinarily accomplished percussionist and drummer. One has to be to perform with a bassist like Cleve Eaton. A significant moment of formal training for John was when he had the opportunity to study with Alan Dawson famed drummer with Dave Brubeck. Guitarist Joe Carnaggio fronts the band with his energetic and signature style of delivering melody and improvisation to the audience. In addition to Cleve, Joe writes and the band performs many of his songs. Cleve had heard of Joe but had never heard him play. John Nuckols who had been performing with Cleve for the past 7 years urged Joe to come and play at an upper level musician jam session hosted by Cleve. Joe obviously knew of Cleve and his band. What Joe did not know was that Cleve was looking to form a new band to introduce to the world better suited for the future. Soon after that jam session Joe got the call from Cleve’s agent and booked Joe for a few gigs. The few gigs turned into a permanent and satisfying musical relationship.
“You see, The Dirty Lungs can make quite an unholy racket, a gritty blend of good old grimey garage, nouveau psych, and even some Stone Roses-esque, splendidly overindulgent instrumentation. It’s sleazy, it’s nasty, and mercy me it’s fantastic.”
— Les Enfants Terribles
Formed in 2007, Dirty Lungs have evolved as much as any band can in 5 years of existence. Featuring a total of 8 different members over the course of their life as a group, founding members Carson Mitchell and Ra-Jaan Parmley have continued to hone their sound together as well as adapt to the strengths of the revolving cast of cohorts involved in the music they create. The one consistent genre Dirty Lungs have catered to over the years is Psychedelic Pop, infused with the gritty chords and vocals of late 60’s nuggets Garage. Throw in some Grunge attitude with a dash of British inclinations and you have Dirty Lungs in a nutshell. These sounds have been featured on 4 official releases, including a full album, 2 EPs, and most recently an internet only single. Looking to record their second full length in early 2013, Dirty Lungs will continue to represent the colorful edge of Birmingham’s music scene as long as they will have them.
“Minimalist misanthropic noise-punk-doom that’s impossible to categorize…”
— Red Wound Press
No is concerned with dreams, death, dimensional dissolution, cults. No is made up of three consumers of scum commodities who have played together in different incarnations for quite a long while. Minimal noise doom post-whatever. Just listen.
“All too often bands look bored on stage or overly into what they’re performing, as if its a put-on for the crowd. I didn’t get that vibe from ole Fly Golden Eagle – they were into their catchy, dancey, spacey dance songs and really just want you to be as well. ”
— We Own This Town
In their current state, Fly Golden Eagle has been going strong for over 3 years. Ben Trimble has spearheaded the band for over 5, first playing shows with a boombox and a tape behind him, and since evolving into a full-fledged band that has released 3 albums and an EP. Richard, Jitch Moans and Odin Comin flesh out the mostly foursome, but sometimes they grow other limbs.
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“A common complaint among those who follow new rock and pop is that there’s too much good music to take in. An intimate festival like Secret Stages confirms that’s so by emphasizing discovery rather than highlighting a dizzying cavalcade of established artists and newcomers rocketing toward the top. In a convivial atmosphere among eager, open-minded fans, Secret Stages illustrated that what’s bubbling beneath contemporary music’s densely populated surface is worthy of attention, too.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Secret Stages finds a way to blend every slice of Birmingham life. And doesn’t hesitate to remind you that uplifting something new still manages to honor the past.”
“If you want to find the unheard sounds of young, Southern musicians, the best place to do it these days is Birmingham’s annual Secret Stages Festival.”
—The Bitter Southerner
“In this age of instant gratification, the concept of a music festival where the main goal is for patrons to discover new bands – rather than see bands they already know and love – is risky to say the least. Yet here we are, in the fifth year of Secret Stages, and it’s going as strong as ever.”
“Secret Stages is already a far, far better music festival than anyone dreamed it might be.”
—Black & White
“…one of the biggest bangs for your buck you’re likely to find anywhere.”
"This festival is one of my favorite regional events. Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes…It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music."
“Secret Stages succeeded in having more depth in regional and national indie acts than the recent Soundland (aka Next Big Nashville) and had the out-of-the-box feel that SXSW had 15-20 years ago.”
“Secret Stages is a testament to the vitality of the music landscape.”
“…one of the most exciting new music festivals in the Southeast”
“Despite the lack of marquee headliners, that are used to draw large audiences and boost attendance, Secret Stages continues to be a breath of fresh air in its commitment to local artists and their promotion. This ethic has proven to be effective as more and more people each year choose to attend Secret Stages.”
—The Blue Indian (Macon)
“It would have been anybody’s guess that Birmingham would host the best Indie Festival in the Southeast.”
—The Nashville Bridge
“With so many new or little-known acts coming to town, Secret Stages is shaping up to be Birmingham’s best event of the summer for discovering new music.”
“…At so many shows and festivals, the artists play their set and then get out. Not so with Secret Stages. I shook hands and spoke with nearly every act I saw. There’s a personal element to Secret Stages that I really haven’t seen anywhere else.”