Australian Rock of the 1980s | A.L. Music on Bands Influenced by The Angels and Rose Tattoo

September 21, 2012

This post is one in a series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi and his music. In this edition, hear from Curt Sautter, independent music marketer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

 

Some U.S. audiences may not know why Aussies rocked the 1980s. What makes their sound distinct?

Australian rock from the 1980s and into the modern rock era has one constant: It’s fun. Australian rock doesn’t take itself too seriously. It knows that rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to be sexy and joyful. Modern bands influenced by Rose Tattoo or The Angels come through on that promise.

So Australian rock isn’t just a regional taste?

I think it’s universal. Take AC/DC. I can go into a country bar and put on AC/DC, and people are going to smile and dance.

Sounds like a party. You mentioned The Angels, who have a similar tonality and vocal style to AC/DC.

But The Angels have more of a New Wave swagger than AC/DC. They’re jumpy and aggressive in their sound. They’re also lesser known outside of Australia, with the exception of rock ‘n’ roll fanatics.

How do you see The Angels and Rose Tattoo’s influence on Aldo’s band?

Much of Aldo Leopardi’s music has a blues base. Like [Australian blues rockers] Rose Tattoo, Aldo brings a youthful lyrical angst to a blues core. I get the same kind of “it’s my life, my rules” feeling from Aldo’s “My Parade” as I do from Rose Tattoo’s “Scarred for Life” or “We Can’t Be Beaten.”  To me it’s about the vibe and the message.

As for The Angels (aka Angel City), listen to their album, Face to Face. In particular, check out their song “Marseilles,” and then Aldo’s “Everyone’s Talking But Nothing’s Been Said.” On both, you hear driving rhythm guitar. They also share edgy vocal phrasing.

All three of these bands represent different identities and sounds when you look at them as a whole. The wonderful thing about Aldo’s music is that he pulls from a vast pool of influences, but he doesn’t become a carbon copy. His songs are uniquely him.

Experience Aldo Leopardi. Stream free music on Spotify and Jango.

The Legacy of Australian Hard Rock: Bands Influenced by AC/DC, Cold Chisel, and Other Icons

September 19, 2012

Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records, sits down for an interview in our blog series about Aldo Leopardi.

Curt, what defines “Australian hard rock” and what is its impact?

We talked before about classic rock from Australia, and there are a lot of similarities with it and hard rock. Australian rock of any genre is about fun. The only thing it takes seriously is making awesome music.

Then, there’s the impact. Bands influenced by AC/DC or bands influenced by Cold Chisel carry on their legacy by playing music that has a certain feeling to it. The themes go from love to hate and everything in between, but underneath it all, you know it’s really about joy, sex, and living life without boundaries.

Where does Aldo Leopardi’s music fit into this?

I think Aldo’s music is fun, first, in the great tradition of Australian rock. I see Aldo as one of the bands influenced by Cold Chisel and AC/DC especially on his first album. He uses deep emotional arrangements and vocals that make me think of Cold Chisel, and his rock songs express the passion of AC/DC’s tunes.

However, I hear a lot of complexity in Aldo’s songs. There is a lot going on in the vocals, guitar, arrangements, and themes. While you can enjoy the music at a surface level, you can also experience it at other deeper levels as well.

So you think Aldo Leopardi takes the Australian influences and makes them his own?

Yes. You can see this especially if you compare Aldo’s debut album to an album like Villains & Heroes.

A lot of times, a band comes out with a killer first record that makes you think of other bands that you love. You hear these influences and it captures your attention. If you’re going to become a fan of someone’s music, it is really important for there to be a progression, though. Otherwise, they begin to sound like a copycat, and it’s probably a pale comparison.

I listen to Aldo’s earlier music, and I hear an interesting blend of Australian rock: Angel City, Cold Chisel, and Ice House. By the second album, though, there’s a vocal styling and driving pace that’s all his own. When you start with a debut album and then create an identity for yourself as you grow as an artist, it gets fans like me excited for what’s going to come next.

Hear Aldo Leopardi for yourself by streaming his songs on Spotify and Jango.

Know Your Rock: Australian Greats and Bands Influenced by The Angels, Rose Tattoo, and Cold Chisel

September 13, 2012

 In this post, we continue our series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi with Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

Do you need to have listened to a lot of Australian rock to appreciate Aldo Leopardi’s sound?

I can listen to [Aldo’s] “Villains & Heroes” or “Always Be” and just enjoy them for the emotion, the rhythm, and the lyrics.

But one of the great things about being a fan of a particular musician or a music genre is that you get to experience songs on a lot of different levels. So, I can appreciate something creative that Aldo does with a particular vocal section or a cool guitar solo that I never noticed before.

Also, I think of Aldo’s group as one of the bands influenced by Rose Tattoo and other Australian groups. When I hear his music, I look for these influences and get excited thinking about how he’ll grow from them.

Rose Tattoo has impacted music in a way that some people in the U.S. may not know. What other lesser-known Australian groups?

Yeah, definitely. Aldo’s group is among the many bands influenced by Cold Chisel and probably the Angels…

…That’s Angel City in the U.S.

Right, Angel City. These bands, and all of Aldo’s music, have that unique Australian rock quality. Their songs are fun and they don’t take themselves so seriously that their ego crowds out the music. Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t supposed to be serious anyway. It’s an attitude that you’re going to live life your way, and celebrating that.

Do you think that Aldo has progressed in his music? Or, do you see him as primarily an Australian rocker?

I think there’s a definite evolution from Aldo’s debut self-titled album to Villains & Heroes, and I expect that he’s going to keep evolving.

For example, the self-title album has a blues base to it, which is a similar sound that you get from listening to Rose Tattoo or even The Rolling Stones. Aldo’s follow-up albums keep this bluesy quality, but it’s more subtle and more aligned with the themes he sings about in those more recent songs.

Another example of bands influencing Aldo’s music… Cold Chisel has deep emotional arrangements and vocals. Compare their “Choirgirl” to “Always Be” from Aldo’s debut album, and you hear these similarities.

However, while Aldo’s newer songs retain those powerful, pure vocals, they’re presented in a more modern rock way. I think that’s one of the reasons I like his stuff: he pulls from a big pool of influences without becoming a carbon copy.

Explore Aldo Leopardi’s music. Find his songs through Spotify and Jango.

Modern Meets Classic: Rock Bands Influenced by Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Other Legends of the Stage

September 10, 2012

 In this post, we continue our series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi. Below, read our conversation with Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

Why do you think classic rock is important?

Classic rock is important because there are thousands of bands influenced by The Rolling Stones and bands influenced by The Beatles. It would be harder to find groups that don’t have their influence than groups that do.

So, essential classic rock bands transcend taste. You don’t think of them for their songs or their albums or their genre, really. You think of them as “music.” You can talk about bands like The Beatles from a historical perspective and how they reflect a time and place, but for me, it still comes back to the music.

The Rolling Stones, The Beatles… What other bands make you think “classic rock?”

Definitely Led Zeppelin should be in there. And AC/DC.

In a previous interview, we talked about Aldo Leopardi’s classic rock influences. Do you see a connection between these bands and Aldo’s songs?

I think Aldo’s music has the same sort of quality songwriting that you see in great classic rock. Whether it’s the vocals or the instruments or the structure that we’re talking about, there’s a lot of thought put into each element and a level of complexity that keeps you returning to the music.

Also, I’d say Aldo Leopardi is one of those bands influenced by AC/DC, since they’re both from Australia. They both share that rebellious joy that makes for true rock ‘n’ roll.

What is modern rock and how does Aldo’s music represent it?

Modern rock is the current genre you hear being played. It used to be “album-oriented rock,” then “alternative,” and now “modern.” It’s more complex than the power pop sound of the 80s, but it does keep the same “jump” that makes songs catchy and hard to forget.

Modern also has the angst that you heard in classic rock. It’s not a sugary, young emotion, but the mature, heartfelt angst of an earlier generation.

Finally, modern rock has driving guitars, percussion, and rhythm. It’s lighter than heavy metal and hard rock, but it grabs you in the same way. Aldo’s more recent songs are great examples of this sound. Listen to “Not Enough,” and you hear these elements. His music represents where the genre has gone and the direction I hope it continues to go.

Hear Aldo Leopardi for yourself by streaming his songs on Spotify and Jango.

Rock Doesn’t Die. It Reinvents: AL Music on Bands Influenced by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin

August 10, 2012

This post is one in a series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi and his music. Below, we hear from Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

Classic rock has had an impact on a lot of today’s music, but the term gets used in a lot of different ways. Settle the debate. What are we really talking about when we say “classic rock?”

Well, you can think about it in two ways. The first is the sound that came out of the 1960s and 1970s, when members of a lot of the modern era bands were growing up. These are bands influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, among others.

The music that shows this classic rock influence has quality songwriting across multiple levels. The songs don’t just have good harmony or a raging guitar solo or any one particular thing, but they have all of them together.

And the second way to think about classic rock?

Complexity. If there’s a musical spectrum of basic to complex, music before classic rock was a simpler sound with more repetitive choruses. In classic rock, you see bands adding bridges, more complicated layers and patterns of sounds, and more complex ideas.

It isn’t as overwhelming a sound as jazz, but it requires more thought and consideration than what came before it. I hear these types of classic rock influences in Aldo’s music.

What specifically makes you think “classic rock” when you listen to Aldo Leopardi?

I mentioned bands influenced by Led Zeppelin and some of the others. Because of the complexity classic rock has, you may not immediately recognize what’s driving the emotion of a song—like a specific guitar melody or vocal harmony or vocal phrasing—but the more you listen, the more you find them and appreciate them. You’re not just done with it or bored of it after a few listens.

I see this sort of complexity and attention to detail in Aldo’s music. In addition to being technically on-point and rich in vocals, there’s an overall quality and sophistication in the songwriting. It’s going to keep you coming back to the songs to hear elements you might have missed. And if you want to lose yourself in the music, it’s great for listening, too.

Hear Aldo Leopardi for yourself by streaming his songs on Spotify.

Simply Awesome: AL Music Looks at Bands Influenced by The Cars, Icehouse, and the Power Pop / New Wave Revolution

August 10, 2012

This post is one in a series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi and his music. This time, we talk with Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

 

Curt, do you think pop and new wave still have a place in modern rock?

Absolutely. I think it’s easy to argue that bands influenced by classic rock in the 60s and 70s were also bands influenced by The Cars and Billy Idol in the 80s. It’s history, it’s culture, and so if you’re a musician growing up on that sound, you’re likely going to carry it with you into the modern era.

And these are distinct sounds from classic rock?

New wave and pop, which came after classic rock, simplified music and brought back some of the repetition and catchy choruses that had come before. These were great tunes that you could just enjoy without getting lost in complexity.

New wave and pop also distinguished themselves because the late 70s and the 80s were the era where synthesizers made their impact. Bands used keyboards and electric pianos before that, but the development of the microchip helped you go from huge instruments to something that was much more portable and affordable.

You saw genres grow out of these changes, like synth pop. There was also high-energy punk rock, which was less abrasive and more pop-oriented than other punk rock. Each was different from classic rock.

What do you hear in Aldo Leopardi’s music that makes you think, “Yeah, power pop and new wave are getting represented here”?

On Aldo’s initial self-titled record, you notice these influences. For example, some of his songs make use of a synth intro, and the music has a little “jump” to it. It’s uplifting, put-a-smile-on-your-face kind of music in the pop style.

In that album, Aldo sounds like one of those bands influenced by The Cars and others from the 80s because the songs have an energetic rhythm, keep a solid tempo, and don’t become erratic or noisy. Take a listen to “You’re All I Got Tonight” by The Cars and compare it to Aldo’s “Nowhere To Run” and “Everyone’s Talking But Nothing’s Been Said” and you can see this similarity.

It’s interesting that Aldo’s got these American influences since his career started in Australia. What about Australian influences?

 

Aldo sounds like one of the modern bands influenced by Icehouse and other great Australian rockers from the 80s. His vocal melody is in the style of Iva Davies, something you hear when you listen to “Charles Sky” or “Touch the Fire.” Compare those Icehouse songs to Aldo’s “Kings and Queens” and you’ll recognize that while they’re artists with distinct identities, they’ve got these similar sounds.

So you think Aldo’s modern music retains those 1980s sensibilities?

Definitely, but the modern rock sound in his more recent albums show how Aldo’s band has grown. You get all of these influences of the pop and new wave era, and you also get to follow his progression as the band discovers its identity. It’s great to experience.

Listen to Aldo Leopardi’s music through Spotify and Jango.

Aldo Leopardi in the Studio – What’s on the Horizon?

October 12, 2011

Villains and Heroes was a major step forward for Aldo Leopardi, both musically and personally. The lyrical and sonic texture of the record touch thematically on a number of universal concepts and personal experiences, from love and relationships to coming of age and hard won wisdom. Each song on Villains and Heroes carries layers of meaning for Aldo and in many ways, it was a record that was begging to be produced.

“This was an important record for me. It was a reflection of some things that were going on in my life and I needed to write it to get it out of my system,” says Aldo.

Many of the songs that Aldo writes are deeply personal, such as the title track from Villains and Heroes, which plumbs the emotional complexities of an ill-fated relationship. But Aldo also hoped to articulate the songs in a way that others could appreciate. “My Parade” is inspired by Aldo’s own story of coming of age and finding his own way, but the themes of the song are easily relatable to anyone who has struggled for independence and identity.

Given the importance of the record’s substance, Aldo spent an immense amount of time and effort vetting producers to bring the EP to life. “I was looking for someone to modernize my sound without getting lost within it,” says Aldo.

For Villains and Heroes, Aldo chose to work with Lee Miles. Lee is best known as the frontman for Oh My Stars, but he’s also done production work for Rise Against, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Puddle of Mudd, Tickle Me Pink and Darling Thieves. Introduced by a mutual friend, Lee first gained respect for Aldo after seeing his video for “Always Be.”

“As a producer and musician, I trust Lee 100%. But it took a while to build up that trust,” explains Aldo. “We spent four solid days exploring each other’s music and songwriting, getting to know each other, drinking a lot and developing a bond. After that, I learned that he was the right guy to trust.”

Aldo hopes to work with Lee again to release a second EP next year. One of the songs to appear on the next record has already been written. The content and concepts explored in the remaining tracks will depend on how the songwriting process unfolds. Although Aldo’s songs are often directly inspired by his real life experiences and observations, the sound and mood of a song typically precede the actual lyrics. In fact, the title track “The Villain and The Hero,” which serves as the conceptual focal point of the record, began as a melody and took form once Aldo explored the meaning behind its sound.

“I have to pick up a guitar or it’s not going to happen. It begins with a guitar riff and then I break that into chords and melody and think about how that sound makes me feel,” says Aldo. “This record was very personal and introspective. The next one could be more social, more political—I’m just disgusted with what’s been going on in Washington lately. Or, it may be personal again. It depends on what’s going on in and around my life.”

No matter what happens in the studio, Aldo Leopardi fans have plenty to look forward to. After the second EP, Aldo Leopardi is planning to begin work on his next full length. But for now, enjoy Villains and Heroes and keep an eye out for the official music video, made for the fans by the fans.

Aldo Leopardi on Modern Rock Bands

October 5, 2011

Aldo has straightforward ambitions for his latest EP, Villains and Heroes: “What I want most is for as many people to hear this record as possible,” he says. In fact, he’s donating the proceeds from the EP’s sale to Paulina’s Promise. But just because money’s no object doesn’t mean that Aldo’s goals aren’t big.

As a veteran musician with over 20 years of experience playing in cities across the globe, Aldo has learned quite a bit about the challenges that face an independent artist. A perennial fan of respectable rock and roll, Aldo’s admiration for successful musicians has changed slightly now that he’s a musician. “It’ll always be about the music,” he explains. “But one thing that I’m really impressed with now is the utter tenacity of these bands that make it. You’ve got to be incredibly talented, incredibly persistent and incredibly lucky to get anyone to notice you.”

This is particularly true today, where the music industry stacks the deck heavily against emerging artists. But while struggling musicians have it rough, it’s ultimately the fans that suffer. A&R departments of traditional recording companies aren’t doing the job the same way they did decades ago. Instead, everything’s market-driven, which results in a pervasive lack of originality within the mainstream.

“Those sons of bitches in Congress have made a real mess of things,” says Aldo, referring to the legislation that deregulated the broadcast markets in the 1990s. “Now, there are just a few major players deciding what 300 million people listen to on a daily basis. Because of that, there aren’t many ways for the masses to experience new music. It makes me want to throw up.”

Aldo hopes that innovative musicians and independent artists can help reverse that trend. He wants to help build the foundation that will allow good musicians to circumvent the music industry machine. “I’m offering music that puts a different twist on the genre,” he says. “Something different that’s quality and has a good message. In most music, there’s not a whole lot of movement that makes you feel good. It’s prefabricated rubbish.”

In spite of the inhospitable climate for fresh musicians, Aldo has hope for intrepid modern rock musicians who wish to further the genre. Acts like the Foo Fighters, Papa Roach, Saliva, Crossfade, Powderfinger and Linkin Park and other bands that introduce originality to the masses top Aldo’s list of contemporary inspirations. He also recognizes and appreciates some of the exciting artists that haven’t yet become household names, such as Oh My Stars, Tickle Me Pink, 3OH!3, OneRepublic, and Carolina Liar “There are many bands in the local music scenes that have something interesting to say, but unfortunately, they never get an opportunity to share their music with millions,” says Aldo.

By heavily promoting Villains and Heroes through social media, the iPad2 giveaway video contest, and connections with local fans and artists, Aldo hopes to add more quality and diversity to the airwaves. He’s out to prove that if you stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams, you can connect with the masses in a meaningful way.

“Not Enough” Aldo Leopardi on the Radio – News Update

September 30, 2011

Greetings Villains & Heroes!

 

We have some exciting news as well as a few updates that we wanted to pass along to you! The first is that Aldo’s song “Not Enough” is being played on a couple of radio stations in Colorado! KSPN in Aspen and KFMU in Steamboat Springs are both playing the song. If you would like to request “Not Enough” at either KSPN or KFMU, you can do so by using the request line information below and be sure to listen to both stations online:

KSPN FM “The Valley’s Quality Rock”
97.3/98.3/103.1/100.1/107.5 FM
Request line: 970-925-1997
listen online at http://alwaysmountaintime.com/kspn

KFMU FM “Colorado’s Finest”
104.1 and 105.5 FM
Request line: 970-879-5368
listen online at http://alwaysmountaintime.com/kfmu

We also want to remind everyone that we’re entering the final stages of the “My Parade” video contest. The end date for video submissions is October 16th, so you have just over two weeks to get a video posted on Youtube and linked Aldo’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AldoLeopardiMusic. Please visit the Facebook page to see and comment on the contest entries so far.
Complete details and contest rules can be found at AldoLeopardiMusic.com.

We are also continuing to offer a free mp3 download of the song “Love” from Villains & Heroes to anyone that signs up for Aldo’s mailing list, so if your friends haven’t signed up yet make sure they know about this special offer!

More coming soon!

– Your friends at Backslash Records

The Roots of the Aldo Leopardi Sound

September 21, 2011

You never forget that moment when you realize your calling. For Aldo Leopardi, it was when he was just ten years old. “I was watching TV, brushing my chompers and AC/DC came on, playing ‘Jailbreak.’ I was hooked,” he said. “I thought, wow, that’s a pretty shitty theme they are singing about, but they are having a great time.”

The video for AC/DC’s classic “Jailbreak,” in case you haven’t seen it, is starkly straightforward by today’s music video standards. It’s Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Phil Rudd and Mark Evens rocking out hard, banging heads, pumping fists and wailing into mikes. There’s no storyline, no actors or models, no CGI. The only prop that appears in the video is a hacksaw, brandished with a wink by Bon just before Angus takes center stage to rip a solo. It’s rock ‘n’ roll charisma, crystallized in its purest form.

“It inspired me to learn to play music and pursue the art of rock ‘n’ roll,” Aldo said.

Aldo spent his childhood and teen years idolizing the likes of KISS, David Bowie, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and other classic rockers. He took up the guitar and began gigging in Australia when he was a teenager. By his early twenties, he was self-producing and recording his own music.

Aldo still admires many of the same things about his rock idols as he did when he was a kid growing up in Australia. But he also has a deep appreciation for the artists who’ve helped shape the genre through innovation, such as the Foo Fighters, Powderfinger, Linkin Park and Nickelback.

Aldo draws inspiration from his eclectic tastes in music and combines them into a sound and act that’s all his own. The showmanship of Van Halen, the pop sensibility of The Cars, the virtuoso guitar playing of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the meat-and-potatoes songsmithing of Foo Fighters; you get a hint of it all when you listen to one of Aldo’s records or catch one of his concerts. Yet, when these influences and inspirations from across the decades come together, it sounds like something completely unique. The result is something refreshingly honest and original that celebrates the best of all worlds.

Aldo Leopardi’s sound and attitude all come to a head at his concerts. A far cry from low-key coffee shop gigs, Aldo curates a full night of non-stop entertainment with a rock and roll party vibe. From handpicking hot opening acts to spicing up the show with dancers, video streams and other surprises, there’s never a dull moment while in the crowd.