As we teased not quite two weeks ago, You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums swung by the VH1 offices for an exclusive You Oughta Know Live performance. The four-song set was a blast, but the absolute highlight was the double-time clapping and funky breakdown of “L.O.V.” which we’ve shared above.
you oughta know
To a music listener, the term “working musician” means being a member of a band (or, maybe, a songwriter or producer). But to most musicians, the term means something else entirely: a session player. Most people making a living as musicians are constantly hustling from studio session to gig to studio session, in each case earning scale (or a multiple thereof) – ??which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s stable freelance work. To actually form one’s own band, make a record, and go out on tour, it helps to be very young and very na?ve, or else really believe in the music, because that already-limited stability completely evaporates.
Every one of the six members of LA’s Fitz and the Tantrums has been a session player. So when Michael Fitzpatrick – ??who has always been known to his friends as Fitz – ??got hold of a vintage organ, wrote a song called “Breaking the Chains of Love,” and called up some musician friends (starting with saxophonist and longtime friend James King) to form a band, this was no small thing. Give up steady paychecks to start a soul band? Let’s put it this way: the Tantrums are hardly old, but they’re not teenagers, and they’re certainly not na?ve. So the late-2008 leap of faith that led to 2009′s Songs for a Breakup Volume 1 EP and the band’s debut full-length, Picking Up the Pieces, last August says more about what the band thinks of their music than any story Fitz might tell comparing the organ he found to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure map in The Goonies (I’m not making that up).
Upcoming You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums stopped by VH1′s NYC offices this afternoon for an exclusive, four-song live set. You Oughta Know Live got it all on tape and we’ll be sharing that with you all shortly, so stay tuned, but here’s a little bit about what to expect:Â
- Fitz and the Tantrums are funky as all get out. They get compared to the Motown sound a lot, and Fitz looks 60s-Detroit-sharp, a bit like Michael Keaton in costume as “Modern Love”-era David Bowie.Â But that’s way off – ??the sextet are southern-soul Stax cats through and through. They’re sharp, to be sure, but Joseph Karnes’s walking basslines and skilled drumming from John Wicks provide a looser rhythm.
- They don’t have a guitarist; they don’t need a guitarist. Briefly (as in his solo on “Dear Mr. President”) saxophonist James King takes the sonic space of the guitarist, but this organ-bass-sax funk band sounds plenty full as-is.
At first glance, The Civil Wars (songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White) have a familiar backstory: they teamed in Nashville circa 2008, got some buzz for their 2009 EP Poison & Wine and then received a ton of attention when that EP’s title track was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. But there’s much more depth and range to the neo-Americana duo than is suggested by that tale of canny cross-marketing, which is why The Civil Wars are VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist.
One of the many perks of working here at VH1 is that there always seems to be incredible musicians and gorgeous celebrities roaming the hallways here in Times Square. Take You Oughta Know artist and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, for example. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a short set from the breakout stars of the most recent VH1 Divas show, right here in our lobby. They played an intimate yet rocking three song set, including their big single “Paris (Ooh La La)” and this smokin’ cover of Jefferson Airplane’s trippy, late sixties psychadelic anthem, “White Rabbit.”
The band first performed this song for last year’s Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. As you’ll see, Grace Potter delivers her vocals with the same sort of passion and intensity that Grace Slick did way back in the Summer of Love. Rather than keep this awesomeness all to ourselves, we figured we’d share this entire You Oughta Know Live performance with you guys, too. Enjoy!
If you’re the kind of pop music fan who finds yourself a bit dismayed when you turn on the radio and rarely hear songs that sounded like they were created using real, live instruments rather than bleeps, blips and bloops from some super producer’s laptop, we’ve got exciting news for you. Say hello to Two Door Cinema Club, a young Irish trio that are VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist. Their highly danceable sound pays homage to the slinky basslines and jangly guitars of the late 70s and early 80s New Wave movement, but with a modern twist: Their drummer is a MacBook Pro.
Sia is one of those artists who, even if you don’t initially recognize their name, you immediately recognize their voice. Her sultry vocals were prominent in a handful of the European downtempo electronica group Zero 7‘s songs during the 2000s, and her song, “Breathe Me,” rose to international acclaim when it was used during the emotional final scene of the Six Feet Under series. And if you’ve been paying attention to the words that you see here on the VH1 Blog, you’ll no doubt remember that she stopped by for a tremendous Live At VH1 set back in September of 2010.
So, after hanging around the fringes of the music scene for the better part of the last decade, it looks like 2011 is shaping up to be Sia’s year: Sia was just named VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist, an illustrious list that includes the likes of Bruno Mars, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and the Kings of Leon. Be sure and check out the video for her latest single, “I’m In Here,” above, and let us know what you think of her work!
If you’ve been paying attention to this blog for the last few months — you HAVE been paying attention, right? — you will no doubt recognize the name Christina Perri. Not only is this new artist one of VH1′s You Oughta Know artists, but she just played a stunning, acoustic version of “Jar of Hearts” in our elevator lobby just a few weeks ago.
Seeing as how The Script hail from Ireland and perform majestic pop-rock songs with soaring melodies, it makes perfect sense that many have compared the VH1 You Oughta Know band’s sound to U2. While only time will tell if The Script will be able to match the career longevity of Dublin’s favorite sons, the band clearly seems happy with the comparison. So much so, in fact, that they cast Bono’s daughter, Eve Hewson, as the lead in the video for “For The First Time,” the first single off the group’s second LP, Science & Faith. The song went to #1 in Ireland when it was released overseas back in August, but it’s just arriving on these shores now. The video will make its on-air this weekend on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, but thanks to the magic of streaming technology, you can watch it on your computer monitor ’til your heart’s content starting right this very second. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Christina Perri, our latest You Oughta Know artist. Luckily for us, she was in town recently and carved some time out of her schedule to perform in our glamorous elevator lobby as part of our ongoing Live At VH1 series. Since we are nothing if not generous, we figured we would share her entire three-song performance with you, the VH1 Blog reader. Above, we’ve got her performing her hit single, “Jar Of Hearts,” and below, her take on “Arms” and “Bang Bang Bang.” Enjoy!