Tag Archives: Pop

My Hero: The Indie/Undie Performer Har Mar Superstar

If you have never heard of Har Mar Superstar and claim to have a sense of humor as well as hold an appreciation towards those who work hard at the music they create, you are missing out.

I will say though, Har Mar is not for everyone.

Born Sean Tillman, Har Mar Superstar can be defined as a singer/songwriter with major indie(undie)-pop / R&B / dance qualities.  He is a performer like none other and has made a huge name for himself in the UK in past years.  In 2004 he released The Handler and in October he will be dropping an all new album titled Dark Touches.  Not only does he write his own music, but he also writes for others making this guy one of the harder working artists out there.

On Dark Touches, Har Mar will take his dance club pop style to a whole new level thanks to his dedicated work to his moniker and will feature a huge roster of special guests including P.O.S., The Faint‘s sick beat creators Clark Baechle and Jacob Thirle, and even is joined by John Fields who has produced many acts including Andrew WK and Rooney.

To make things even more interesting Dark Touches will include a track that Har Mar co-wrote that was originally intended for pop superstar Britney Spears.  Rejected by Britany Spears’ management for unknown reasons, Har Mar decided he keep the track “Tall Boy” and include it on his upcoming album with unchanged lyrics and his added style making for an interesting listen.

DOWNLOAD THIS!Har Mar Superstar – “Tall Boy”

I can still remember the first time I had the pleasure of checking out Har Mar Superstar.  It was 2001 and the then unknown artist was the opening act for Tenacious D.  Har Mar came to the stage all by himself and performed to the crowd his material while slowly stripping throughout to his tighty whities.

The crowd was speechless.

I was cheering as loudly as I could. All the silent folk around me turned their heads from the stage and looked at me with the same puzzled look.  Others in the theater were cheering too but I am pretty sure that not all of the applause was sincere.  Mine was.

I cheered for a couple of reasons.

One being for his performance.  It was good.  He sang pop like songs sometimes heavy on the R&B over pre-recorded material.  He danced about the stage in his own style and proved to have better moves that many people who frequent over priced dance clubs.

I also cheered because this guy had the balls to take the stage and do his thing without hesitation.  There was a lot of heckling and plenty of booing during the show but Har Mar just blew it off like it was nothing.  He believed in himself and even if his performance included scrapping his attire, I appreciated his performance.

Since the night I made sure to check out all that he has released and I not once was disappointed.  “DUI”, a track from The Handler is a track that still remains in heavy rotation in my musical listening choices.

It’s been five years since I last heard from Har Mar and it’s true, I am excited to hear what is to come from this insanely talented performer.  Look for the new album to drop in the states on October 13th.

Here is the video for “DUI”:

Press info found on Har Mar Superstar’s website:

After a five-year proper-album break since 2004’s The Handler, Har Mar Superstar, sexy as ever, is ready to unleash Dark Touches on the masses. On Dark Touches, Sean Tillmann – the singer, songwriter, and producer behind the Har Mar moniker – delivers his most club-friendly collection of jams yet. Tillmann’s silky smooth croon and tongue-in-cheek lyrics lead a nonstop dance party that blends everything from synth-pop to R&B, with ample hooks around every corner.

Dark Touches builds a bridge between the worlds of indie and Top 40 dance music, thanks in part to an eclectic group of collaborators. The album’s many guests include John Fields (Andrew WK, The Jonas Brothers, Rooney), The Faint’s beatmakers Clark Baechle and Jacob Thiele, singer-songwriter Adam Green, P.O.S. of the Rhymesayers collective, Neon Neon’s Boom Bip, Flowers of Doom, and Samaire Armstrong. The Bird and The Bee’s Greg Kurstin, who has also produced tracks for Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, and Lily Allen, co-wrote and lent his studio wizardry to “Tall Boy.” The track was originally intended for Spears and, with the unchanged lyrics, takes on a vibrant new life in the hands of Har Mar.

Of course no Har Mar song is complete without Tillmann’s signature lyrics, which are both outrageously absurd and witty. “I Got Next,” which features The Bird and The Bee’s Inara George, details Tillmann’s practice of asking women to sign contracts that put him next in line to date if they ever leave their current boyfriend. He has also penned an anthem for the ladies with “Girls Night,” a track that was once intended for The Cheetah Girls, and like “Tall Boy,” maintains the original lyrics, written from a female perspective.

Tillmann is also getting ready to dip his toes into the world of Hollywood with the release of Whip It, a film directed by Drew Barrymore. As if he isn’t wearing enough hats already, Tillmann is actively developing his own movie scripts and sitcom pilots. Along with his golden pipes, the ability to juggle multiple creative outlets is sure to win him entry into both the hearts and undergarments of women and men everywhere.

Get ready, everyone. Dark Touches is coming!

As always, if you are on Facebook, please stop by the page, become a fan, and say hi:

You can also follow Har Mar on TWITTER & listen to his music at MYSPACE.

Lights – Lights – CD/EP Review

The heavy on the synthesizer pop act Lights, also known as Valerie Poxleitner, has been getting a lot of hype for not even having a full length release out yet. It could be solely from her beauty seeing as she is capable of turning one or two hundred heads, but in all honesty this girl is more than just a looker. She is a musician and has the voice to prove it.

The Canadian born singer actually wrote her first song when she was only eleven years old. At twenty-two Valerie Poxleitner was discovered when she casted to be a model for corporate giant bastards Wal-Mart. The modeling supervisor asked if she was a musician while looking at a picture of the hopeful model holding a guitar. Without hesitation she began to sing for them and the rest is pretty much history.

Her songs were first featured in Old Navy commercials and before long, Lights was playing the Facebook party at the 2009 SXSW, appearing on Canada’s MuchMusic, and even playing live for MTV. After grabbing a Juno award for being the best artist of 2009 she jumped on board for a summer tour with the Van’s Warped Tour. All of this happened within a four year period and Lights is still going. With plans on releasing a full length album this September and also acting as a supporting artist for a Fall Keane tour, Lights certainly as a lot on her plate.

So what is the hype about Lights you ask? Trust me I was asking myself the same question. While at the Warped Tour this summer I missed out on seeing this Lights act everyone was talking about. I read the schedule wrong and completely missed her set. Finally I have obtained a copy of her EP and I must say it was an interesting listen.

Opener “Ice” reminded me of all the cheap pop acts out there I just never cared for. You know, the one time Mousekateers that grew up to be pop stars that have everyone else do the work for them while they look pretty. I had to keep reminding myself that this was an honest musician. This song aside from the poppiness was catchy and I loved the Vanilla Ice throw in.

“Drive My Soul” was down shifted a few gears from the opening track as was “February Air”. At times I though of Gwen Stefani when she ditched No Doubt to go solo. The one song I actually enjoyed was “I Owe You One”, a thank you song for someone special. I think if Ben Gibbard did some back-up vocals on this track it would have been awesome. I guess it’s me, but I feel the song was very reminiscent of The Postal Service.

Think of a modern day Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany, or Debbie Gibson with keyboards galore and that pretty much sums up Lights. Honestly while listening to the EP I kept hoping for Lights to break into “Goonies Are Good Enough” cover. All I could image was 80’s style throughout the six songs. It was just too much for me.

Björk may be Lights’ most major influence but there is not any egg laying on the red carpet crazy experimental anything going on in this EP. It is straight forward syth-pop music for all the pop fans out there and not for me.

Lights certainly has an amazing voice, and the looks as well. I think it is just the music that backs her vocals that turned me off from most of the tracks. I think with a full band backing her she would sound amazing in my ears and others for that matter. With her full length debut The Listening dropping in a little over a month I can honestly say I am curious to see what is to come.

“Drive My Soul” video:

Story Of The Year Pay Tribute To The Troops

Recently pop punk rockers Story Of The Year released a very heartfelt video for their song titled “Terrified”, a song off of their 2008 release The Black Swan. This is one of those songs that can bring some tears to your eyes and the video just adds even more potential.  With Independence Day this weekend the band recently created the video in honor of all the men and women who are or have served in the armed forces.

The band talks about the video:

“The video for “Terrified” is pretty much a direct interpretation of the lyrics,” explains singer Dan Marsala. “A story of a husband who is off at war, scared of the fact that he might not ever make it home to his wife and family, and a pregnant wife who is left at home, not knowing if she will ever see her husband alive again. It is an extremely touching subject because there are hundreds of thousands of families in America going through this exact scenario as we speak. It has to be one of the most terrifying situations that any family could ever experience. I think the video is a great representation of the story told in the lyrics and it is our tribute to all the families who suffer through this situation every day.”

“What excites me the most about this video,” adds guitarist Ryan Phillips, “is that it takes an enormous issue our generation is facing, the war in Iraq, and instead of getting political we honed in on the human aspect of the situation.”

Story Of The Year – “Terrified”

This pop-punk ballet got me going a little as one of my friends / co-workers who was serving overseas was injured thanks to a roadside bomb in Iraq.  As I will not reveal his identity for personal reasons I can tell you that the kid’s life will be changed forever and he is currently in Washington D.C. at a hospital.  He will survive but will never be the same.  He is a brave man for doing what he did and I am so glad he was able to return to the states to his family.  I just wish it was not because of the injury.

My thoughts go out to him and his family on a speedy recovery.

The King Of Pop Passes (1958-2009)

It’s no news that everyone has heard about the late pop-star Michael Jackson.  The King of Pop is no longer with us.

I really was not going to blog about this instance because everyone already is and I was not quite sure what I really had to say about it.

Twitter was overloaded with updates and Facebook seemed to have endless comments but fans as well as people who thought it would be a good time to start with the jokes.

This morning I thought maybe I should just post something about the musician seeing on how he had a pretty big influence on me musically as I grew up.

I was getting a tattoo yesterday when I found out.  I was just killing some time during the process and checked Twitter where I started seeing posts that Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital, then rumors of his death followed by statements of the artist falling into a coma.  Finally it was confirmed, Michael Jackson died from cardiac arrest.

I did not know what to think at the exact moment it hit me that the pop star passed.

I can tell you one thing, Michael Jackson was the last person I would have ever expected to pass away on a summer day.  The news was shocking and it took me a few visits to various websites to finally learn it was the truth.  I realize sometimes things get blown out of proportion but this was real.

I was a Michael Jackson fan when I was a kid and I am not ashamed to say it.  I am pretty sure everyone was and I do not believe you if you say you did not like any of his material.  I rocked the parachute pants, did the moon walk, but never had a sparkling glove.

One of my favorite memories of when I went to Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in the late 80’s was when I saw the 3-D adventure Captain EO. Just a few weeks ago I was actually talking about it to some friends and watched the movie in two segments on YouTube.  (Part 1 & Part 2 for those of you that have never seen it and are wondering what I am talking about…)

Then there was Moonwalker a movie/music video that I watched over and over on VHS.  Sega actually even created a video game based on the movie that was easily one of my favorite Sega Genesis video games of all time.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the video for “Thriller” on MTV.  It was late at night and my Aunt warned me it was going to be scary.  I loved every minute of it.

I still have Thriller on my iTunes and always will.  It is easily one of my top 100 albums of all time.

Today Michael Jackson’s name is being said a lot.  Good things and bad will be talked about him for days to come and just like many other music lovers out there I am saddened by his loss.

I really wish that Micheal Jackson could have toured just one more time not just for the millions of fans, but also for himself.  The poor guy really went through lots of hell.  Regardless if all those allocations were true or not, the guy changed the way people would listen to music forever.  It would have been nice to see Michael Jackson back on the stage doing what he liked to do best…

Sony Comments on the Passing of Michael Jackson (on www.michaeljackson.com):

NEW YORK, NY – June 25, 2009 – Michael Jackson, one of the most widely beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture.

Commenting on his passing, Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation, said: “Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work. The entire Sony family extends our deepest condolences to his family and to the millions of fans around the world who loved him.”

Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment, said: “Michael Jackson’s unsurpassed artistry and beloved music brought joy to every corner of the world. We join today with his millions of fans in expressing our profound sadness and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. It was a true privilege for all of us in the Sony Music family to work with one of the most talented superstars in the history of music. We will miss him greatly.”

Martin Bandier, Chairman & CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said: “Michael was the kind of amazing talent that comes along once in a lifetime. He was an incredible recording artist, an insightful businessman, an unmatched performer, and a true icon. To all of us at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, he was also a trusted and passionate partner, who was very proud of our accomplishments. He will be dearly missed. We wish his children and entire family our deepest condolences.”

Five of Jackson’s solo albums – “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “HIStory,” all with Epic Records, a Sony Music label – are among the top-sellers of all time. During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and “Thriller” as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.

Michael Jackson started in the music business at the age of 11 with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5. In the early 1980s, he defined the art form of music video with such ground-breaking videos as “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and the epic “Thriller.” Jackson’s sound, style and dance moves inspired subsequent generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists.

Crack The Circus

I’ve been keeping a secret of sorts for the last week from you all.  It has to do with music so I hope none of you are too shocked…  I have two shows lined up this week that I am attending.

Tomorrow I am headed to Columbus to one of them.

Who am I seeing you ask? Good question.

First let me tell you who I am seeing this Saturday with Matt and two of my out of town friends…


On the night of Gaslight Anthem a couple of weeks ago Matt gazed into my eyes and asked “do you like Mastodon and would you be interested in catching them in a couple weeks?”  My answer was of course yes. The show is sold out at the Beachland in Cleveland and until Matt hooked me up I really thought I was not going at all.  My friends Shannon and Josh from West Virginia reached out to me a month ago stating they were driving all the way up here to see them.  I told them we would all go so it will be even more enjoyable now.

A lot of people are loving Mastodon’s new album Crack the Skye with the progressive metal wizard rock.  Some on the other hand think the band went soft because this album is not as hard as the others and there is actually harmonic singing this time.  I think it is awesome and from what I heard the band will be playing the entire Crack the Skye album start to finish during one set followed a second set full of older material.  I can not wait!  The CD is one of my favorite releases so far this year.

Still wondering who I am seeing tomorrow?  I will give you a couple of hints…

-I am not a fan at all
-Under normal circumstances I would not be caught dead at this type of show
-I own nothing by this artist

So if I am not a fan and would not want to be caught dead at this show then why am I going you wonder?

Well I used to be a part of an alt-girl pin up website where I met a lot of cool people.  After leaving I stayed in touch with a few of the members who were more so friends.  Actually Shannon and Josh, my WV pals, are from the site.  Anyways one of the guys on the site went by the name Prendick.  He and I became good friends while I was on that site and continued to keep in touch after I left.

Prendick had something happen to him last week that will change his life forever.  To respect his privacy I will not discuss what happened but he reached out to me last week saying he had tickets to a show in Columbus and asked if I would take the place of someone.  Under the circumstances I told him of course I would attend.

Tomorrow night I am going to see Britney Spears.

Brokenheadphones at a Britney Spears concert???  Yes, I laugh at it too but I am actually looking forward to it now.  Mostly I am looking forward to hanging out with Prendick but I have been told the show has been entertaining.  I will do my best to take a few photos and post them here.

So this week is all about pop rock and metal.  This shockingly is not the first time I have been through something like this.

Years ago during the same week I saw Pink and a couple days later Slayer.  I remember sitting 4th rock center at the Pink show surrounded by screaming girls in pink shirts as I slammed beers and wore a CKY shirt.  Pink actually looked at me for a second because I stuck out so bad.

Anything is possible I guess.

Have you ever been to a live show that you did not tell your friends about or have you ever gone to a show that you never in your life thought you would?  I want to know!