Tulsa's music scene is constantly evolving. Faces, looks and sounds continue to change, but one thing stays the same: the rich pool of talent and passion the area's homegrown artists bring to the table.
Writing and performing good original music is one thing. Finding an audience and getting exposure is another, and it can be tough for young artists with limited budgets and experience.
That's why Urban Tulsa Weekly is proud to once again host the annual New Voices showcase Thursday, May 12 at the IDL Ballroom, 230 East First Street. This year's lineup is diverse: rapper Algebra, indie punk rockers Lizard Police, Christian indie rockers Scales of Motion, and ska swingers The Last Slice.
Tulsa rapper Alegbra's real name is Dan Hahn. He's been rapping since 2007, and has worked as a middle school English teacher. Hahn's beats are catchy, and nothing is off limits when it comes to his subject matter and lyrics. In his song "Lexicon", Hahn mentions Simba from the Lion King, high speed Internet and his grandmother's coconut pie. "Is this a renaissance or a requiem?" he asks. It's hard to say without a key to unlock the song's symbolism, but the question is posed over a groove that would make just about anybody want to bob their head.
Indie rockers Lizard Police take a hardcore approach to the genre, but arguably not enough to justify classifying the band as pure "punk". The line is often blurred, though, and the group's loud, energetic music is not for the faint of heart. The band recorded its latest album Make Muscles last summer at Broken Arrow's Valcour Sound with well-respected local producer Hank Charles.
SCALES OF MOTION
Scales of Motion come from a different place in the indie rock spectrum. The three piece group composed of two brothers and a friend is motivated largely by faith. The band is technically a Christian group, but they're not preachy or in-your-face with their message. In fact, you might not even realize what they're singing about until you've already been reeled in by their pop hooks.
"We are most greatly influenced by God and what He has done in our lives," guitarist Kevin Skillern said. "God has given us the gift of music and we intend to use it in a way that gives to others and serves Him in return."
The band's lyrics touch on aspects of life that anyone, religious or not, can relate to. The song "A Better Dream", for instance, expresses the hunger many people have for something more than the shallow, materialism that's too often the focus of modern life. With a message that's as good as their music, Scales of Motion is destined for something special.
THE LAST SLICE
Last but by no means least is, fittingly, the Tulsa ska group The Last Slice. The band with the pizza-inspired name combines brass instruments with guitar, bass and drums to create a sound that's not often heard live in our area. The group's upbeat song "Silver Box" looks back fondly on a childhood hiding place for a stash of dirty magazines, while the slower "Messy Situation" addresses the problem of obnoxious party guests. The Last Slice's high energy tunes will no doubt have the NewVo crowd dancing.
Check out all four bands at NewVo 2011 showcase Thursday, May 12 at the IDL Ballroom, 230 East First Street. The free show runs from 8pm until Midnight.
ROCK THE VOTE
In the meantime, start picking your favorites for UTW's Absolute Best of Tulsa Music awards.
Music categories include: Album of the Year; Artist of the Year; Band of the Year; Blues/R&B; Christian Act; Club DJ; Country; Dance Party Band; Female Vocalist; Hip-Hop; ;Indie Rock; Jazz; Small Music Venue; Large Music Venue; Live Performance; Local Producer/Studio; Lounge Cover Band; Male Vocalist; Metal/Hard Rock; Party Cover Band; Radio Personality; Radio Station for Music; Red-Dirt; Rock/Pop; Song of the Year and Newcomer of the Year -- UTW's NewVO Award.
The Nomination Ballot hits the stands this week. Turn in a physical copy or nominate your favorites online at urbantulsa.com.
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