Moonchild, Act As If
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
This event is all ages
Alice Russell is pure natural talent, a natural presence, a force of nature. Whether on a big stage with her 16 piece band, charming a crowd of 4000 into staying out dancing in the rain (as she did at Montreal Jazz Festival) or rocking out an intimate club set with a stripped down six piece band, she’s a singer who demands attention. Unfazed by taking to the spotlight after a sober Amy Winehouse or joining Roy Ayers live for ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’, there’s no wonder her powerful soul voice has attracted rave reviews from numerous national and international publications and praise from fans as diverse as Gilles Peterson, David Byrne, Dennis Coffey, Massive Attack’s Daddy G, and Groove Armada.
Alice has also won over a whole host of producers – lending her strong, emotional tones to releases by Mr Scruff, Quantic and Nostalgia 77, the latter pairing producing the ‘Seven Nation Army’ cover that demolished clubs for years. But following her first release ‘Under The Munka Moon’ it’s her records with longtime producer and bandleader TM Juke that she’s best known for. From their debut album ‘My Favourite Letters’ through to 2008’s live-tinged ‘Pot Of Gold’, they have made some of the most arresting blues soul since the glory days of Aretha.
“We’ve both got a very open approach to writing songs,” she explains of the prolific relationship. “And we both like so many different types of music whereas some people are more purist. Our influences run from Sarah Vaughan to Bach, Kate Bush to Arvo Part, and J Dilla to Alice Coltrane. We love everything from dirty, squelchy dubstep to old school soul. We nudge each other in the right directions.” As much as she loves being in the studio there’s something special about Alice let loose on an audience. From performing with a full band and horn section, to pared down and more intimate sets, Alice Russell takes no prisoners!
“Being on stage is more instant,” she admits. “I like things when they’re quite free. In the studio it can be like when you know someone’s taking your photo. Writing in the studio is amazing but when you’re doing takes it can be a bit daunting, but also really exciting. Live you can’t take it back – you’ve got to go all out there.”
It has led to some great experiences, like when she stayed on in Japan to visit the village where the promoter was from: almost like a 50s teen movie, a deal was struck where Alice would have free reign of the hotel for her stay if she did a gig.
“Of course we said yes,” Alice says with delight. “Babies and grandmas all turned up and there we were with a makeshift sound system thrown together out of amps and speakers. It was one of the most heart warming gigs I’ve ever done.”
Other live highlights include singing with The Roots in Philadelphia, while recording has seen her sing on Talking Heads leader David Byrne’s recent LP. Surely belting out the intensely emotional songs must get a bit tiring. Apparently not.
“It’s a great emotional release,” Alice smiles. “And sometimes makes you feel really high, especially when you’re singing the high notes. If you’re feeling rubbish and everything else feels like it’s going wrong you feel better if you have a good singsong. I’ve sung my way through panic attacks before – singing through the whole of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’. They should put singing on the NHS.”
2012’s joint release with Quantic, ‘Look Around The Corner’ was greeted with much enthusiasm around the world. The sound of this intoxicating record mixes sweet soul and blues with overtones of folk and gospel, and the inimitable swing of Quantic’s world-renowned outfit the Combo Bárbaro, who form the core band. Recorded at Quantic’s Sonido del Valle studio in his adopted home city of Cali, Colombia, the album shows Alice’s versatility and adventurousness as well as her amazing vocals and songwriting. The resulting tour was met with a rapturous reception from sell-out crowds.
So to the next stage of Alice Russell’s remarkable career and back again with long time production partner TM Juke, for a brand new album entitled ‘To Dust’ – the first solo album from Alice Russell since 2008’s acclaimed ‘Pot Of Gold’, marking the next step forward in a remarkable career which has seen this down-to-earth, diminutive Brit universally acknowledged as one of the best soul voices of our time. ‘To Dust’ sees Alice exploring every letter of the soul lexicon and beyond to create her own dynamic sound; from the punchy, Prince-esque strut of “Hard And Strong” to the epic intensity of the title track, which could easily be the next Bond theme. From the heartstring tugging “I Loved You”; the sonically smooth yet emotionally raw “Twin Peaks”; to the pulse-quickening build of “Let Go (Breakdown)” and psychedelic social consciousness of “Citizens”, Alice Russell is never less than scintillating as she displays emotions so real you feel you could reach out and touch them, and a voice of unparalleled versatility, on her most accomplished release yet. The idiosyncratic structure of the record, peppered with interludes and reprises, makes for a unique listen and a satisfyingly whole ‘album’ experience.
“I freaking love Alice Russell!” – ?UESTLOVE
“The lovelorn singer makes heartbreak sound sexy and danceable.” – KCRW
“Ultimately amazing.” – DAVID BYRNE
Adele, watch your back! – ROLLING STONE
The most creative re-think on American soul from a Brit in years! – NEW YORK DAILY MAGAZINE
Alice Russell singing James Blake live in NY right now is sounding pure + fierce. – JOSE JAMES
This trio of musicians based in Los Angeles aims to bring a new sound to the neo-soul genre while drawing upon other influences such as Erykah Badu, Bon Iver, John Coltrane, and D'Angelo.
Max Bryk, Andris Mattson, and Amber Navran met at USC where they all studied jazz performance. After touring together as a horn section in 2011, they began co-writing and recording their first album "Be Free." "Be Free" was released in late April 2012 and features soloists Ben Wendel, Russell Ferrante, John Daversa, and rapper Harry Mack.
Since their album release, Moonchild has opened for Stevie Wonder and Georgia Anne Muldrow, played shows up the west coast, released music videos, and received much attention from neo-soul blogs all over the internet. They currently sell albums at record stores around the US and are receiving airplay in Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles' own 102.3. Moonchild continues to perform and has started working on their second album - to be released in May 2013.
Act As If
Peter Verdell started his career as an A&R rep for Drive-Thru Records during the pop-punk revolution of the early-mid 2000’s, an era which saw the label propel bands like Something Corporate and New Found Glory to mainstream success. Verdell decided to leave the label and begin recording his own music, and in May 2010 he released his debut LP 'There’s a Light' under the name Act As If. Songs from There’s a Light were featured on TV shows spanning ABC, CBS, MTV, and IFC, and the album was featured as “New & Noteworthy” by iTunes music & “Fuseworthy” by Fuse TV. Additionally, Apple placed the song "About Saying & Meaning Goodbye" in its OS X Lion demo video.
After the release of There’s a Light, an official band lineup formed, consisting of Peter Verdell [vocals, guitar], Diego de la Rosa [drums], J. David Carrera [guitar], Sara Lindsay [keys, vocals], and Derrick Wong [bass].
Act As If recently released a new 4-song EP entitled 'The Iron Is Hot,' which has received attention from buzzworthy blogs including Kings of A&R, Kick Kick Snare, and Buzz Bands LA. The song "Oh My My" has been getting airplay on The World Famous KROQ FM from DJ / taste-maker Kat Corbett, and the video for the song was premiered on MTV.com.
Accolades + Press
“Local Artist of the Month” – KROQ FM
“Fuse Favorite” & “Fuseworthy” – Fuse TV
“New and Noteworthy” – iTunes Music
“Top 8 Emerging Artists” – Kings of A&R
“It’s telling that every song seems short…not because they are, but because you get so into them that time seems to stand still.”
- Kick Kick Snare
“[Act As If] have a pop sensibility that adheres to a certain purity; their soaring melodies work as a calling card.”
- Buzz Bands LA
“With its swoon-worthy mentality, sparkling percussion bits, and dreamy vocals, it’s impossible not to fall in love at first spin.”
“The sweet chimes of the xylophone, the weeping electric guitar, and the lightly crashing cymbals will have you snapping your fingers and swaying side to side.”
- The Deli Magazine
“Electrifying and catchy. Verdell’s vocals rival that of Aaron Marsh’s melodies in Copeland.”
- OC Music Magazine
“Chances are if you’ve heard Act As If’s indie rocker grooves, you would be surprised to learn that they have not been signed to a record label.”
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune
“The tracks are big, they breathe; they swell and fill rooms. The hooks are there, but they’re clever – not the nursery rhyme chants that so many pop-inclined musicians fall back on. It’d be exciting enough to hear this kind of music on the second or third album of an established group, but it’s something special for a debut that was entirely self-produced and recorded.”
“T h e r e s e e m s t o b e a r e s u r g e n c e o f A l t e r n a t i v e - R o c k - P o p t h a t i s b e i n g p r o d u c e d o u t t h e r e , b u t l i k e t h e e a r l y 9 0’ s , n o t b e i n g e n t i r e l y r e c o g n i z e d y e t . A c t A s I f i s o n e o f t h e s e a r t i s t s. The band is spearheaded by singer/songwriter Peter Verdell, who at one time was a behind-the-scenes record label A&R personality for Drive Thru Records. Fortunately for us, he decided to not continue on that path and instead create & produce tunes for his newly formed band.”
- Culture Pop
“I’m a sucker for tracks that build into the ecstasy inducing, money note giving, tsunami sized swell of awesomeness. ‘There’s a Light’ gives me this, as well as many other tracks on the album.”
- Dyson Sound
“No matter how many things we let go, no matter how many things that slip from our hands, there is always the next thing. The next bigger thing. That’s the vision of Verdell’s world.”
- Speakers in Code
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