Standing On Their Own Legs

Bill Mossman
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July 27, 2011
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If danceable indie-rock tunes laced with powerful pop hooks and reggae beats are your bag, look no further than Maui’s musical wowie, The Throwdowns, and their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Legs of Our Own, due for release next week.

The four-member band of vocalist Erin Smith, guitarist Ola Shaw, bassist Kimo Clark and drummer Ian Hollingsworth have packaged together 13 smoking tunes, highlighted by radio-worthy originals Stay HI (featuring Marty Dread), Shake Your Bones, On the Radio, Heart Attack and Warrior.


According to Smith, the group took its time “to get the sound just right” for this album the follow-up to the band’s well-received 2009 debut EP, Don’t Slow Down. “We wanted to do something really cool with this album and we think we’ve got a lot of great songs,” she says. “We’re just super stoked to get this record out.”

Destined to become one of Hawaii’s greatest exports, The Throwdowns are throwing a CD release party at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s new Yokouchi Pavilion. To accommodate those unable to make the trip to the Valley Isle for the concert, the band’s entire performance that evening will be broadcast live online at ustream.tv/channel/8855048.

Earlier this week, Musical Notes caught up with Smith and grounded the stage-jumping Toronto import long enough to get her to answer a few questions about the band and its first full-length album.

MN: What’s the biggest difference between Don’t Slow Down and Legs of Our Own?

ES: The big factor. We’ve been given the opportunity to play on all these big stages and refine our sound, and we wanted this album to reflect that attitude. So this album is bigger, glossier and more anthemic than the stuff you would find on Don’t Slow Down.

MN: Do you have a favorite track on this album?

ES: Swallow Me Whole. It’s an emotionally grueling song that keeps building and goes fullthrottle by the end, which I think is really cool.

MN: True or false: The Throwdowns will rule the music world by 2012?

ES: (laughing) True. We still have world domination written on a white board in the recording studio. It’s a statement our drummer, Ian, made to get us riled up you know, go big or go home? To be honest, we feel really confident in what we have and believe we’re getting stronger all the time.

Casey

MN: You’ve been compared to a lot of singers Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, Karen O of the Yeah, Yeah Yeahs, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and Emily Haines of Metric, to name a few. Did you find yourself consciously channeling their vocal stylings while recording this album?

ES: As a band, we’re always trying to create a sound that’s fresh, and the same holds true with my vocals. I don’t try to be like anyone; I can be rough around the edges and punkier, or big and smooth, if need be. I tried to smooth it out on this album and just go bigger.

SMALL-KINE notes:

Songwriter and pianist extraordinaire Jim Brickman (pictured at bottom of column) recalls how alarming the very thought of producing music for the masses was to him during his college days in Cleveland. “I can remember sitting in my dorm room, reading books about how to be a songwriter, and the idea of moving to Hollywood and doing this as a career sounded so frightening to me,” Brickman tells me. “I just couldn’t see myself living that kind of life.” Then again, some career pursuits are just meant to be. “You don’t choose to be a songwriter like the way you choose to be an accountant,” he adds. “It just is.” Thirty years later, Brickman is an accomplished platinum-selling artist, responsible for churning out pop hits such as Valentine with Martina McBride, The Gift with Collin Raye and Susan Ashton, and Love of My Life with Michael W. Smith.

Jim Brickman

Currently, he’s making plans for two intimate “Evening of Romance” concert dates in Hawaii Aug. 5 and 7 at Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall on Oahu and Maui’s Castle Theater, respectively, as well as his annual fan cruise around the island chain following the concerts. Just don’t expect to catch the noted busybody lounging around during his stay in paradise. “I love the water in Hawaii, but I’m not a lay-on-the-beach kind of guy. In fact, I don’t sit still very easily. The most I sit at any one time is when I’m behind the piano on stage.” For tickets to see Brickman and guest vocalists Jordan Segundo and Angeli Callo, go to ticketmaster.com ...

Hip-hop artist Casey (above) got major props from Sway Calloway recently after the iconic figure made Casey’s single My Money the featured “Jam of the Week” on the national radio broadcast of MTV Jams. That resulted in dozens of radio stations across the country adding the song to their rotations a boon for the Hilo native, born Casey Espejo. “Having Sway and MTV give the record their stamp of approval has allowed the rest of the country to see what Hawaii’s doing,” says Casey, 22, whose latest EP, Hawaii FiveO, can be downloaded at musicbycasey.com.


“Now the goal is to go even harder and represent Hawaii correctly.”

 


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