Music Militia Night with [Naomi] and friends Davy Nathan + Kathryn Gallagher plus support from Wrabel and Audra Mae

HITS Magazine and The MGMT Company Present

Music Militia Night with [Naomi] and friends Davy Nathan + Kathryn Gallagher plus support from Wrabel and Audra Mae

Mon, December 19, 2016

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm (event ends at 2:00 am)

The Satellite

Los Angeles, CA


This event is 21 and over

There will be an optional donation jar at the door with proceeds going to the night's charity of choice!

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Hailing from Los Angeles, [Naomi] arrived on the scene as a fully-formed old soul, although in her early 20's. Weeks into learning how to play guitar, she began blending her experiences into powerful songwriting about her truth as a young woman in a strange and, quite frankly, f***ing crazy city. [Naomi] uses the perfect combination of grit and charm to bring angst to a music scene that could use more of it.

[Naomi]’s songs are kinetic in nature and lyrically pure, but her true super power is live on stage, where the intensity of her Joplin-esque vocals shines through with enough brightness to captivate everyone who experiences it.
Wrabel calls it his favorite feeling in the world: that moment just before a song comes into being. "When the Rubik's Cube of the song hasn't quite clicked, and it's about to," he says. "You can feel it -- everything turning to lock this thing in."

It's a feeling he's chased for years, since he began writing songs as a teenager. "In high school I wrote the worst songs," he says. "But it still boggled my mind that you could just sit down and hours, or days later, something is created that didn't exist."

He has, of course, come a long way since then. Songs of his -- like "Ten Feet Tall," recorded by Afrojack-have been heard by millions of people around the world. But that feeling of fresh discovery remains. "I wrote a song with my friend the other day, and he said to me, 'That song will never not exist.' I was like, 'That's a little meta for me. It's a Wednesday. You can't go there with me right now.' But that idea -- I love it."

Wrabel specializes in music that telescopes small moments into songs with big impact. On tracks like "11 Blocks" and "Gimme Your Love," the drums may get huge, but the feelings are deeply personal. This is pop music rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition, and it all starts with Wrabel sitting at a piano, fighting for self-expression and survival.

"I write a song because it's probably something I won't say out loud," says Wrabel. "All the songs are true. It's all my little details. That's the only way I can survive: to be as open and transparent as I can be."

But getting to a place of transparency has been a process: Music school -- heartbreak, a new start. All leading Wrabel back to where he started- sitting in front of a piano, trying to make sense of it all. "For a long while I tried to steer so far away from that. I was chasing cool, making everything weirder. 'Edit the vocal! Put it in reverse! Chop it up!' And I woke up one day and was like, 'Why am I trying to be cool? I sit at the piano, and write kind of sad songs about stuff that I've been through. Do that! Go do that!"

Wrabel was born 27 years ago on Long Island. His father was a salesman, and by the time he was in high school he had lived all over the country, even as far as Australia. Over and over he was the new kid in school. "I kind of liked it," he says "although I was scared of being the weird kid." Music became a passion in middle school. "I got an Aiwa 800 Watt four CD-changer and I would sing to karaoke tracks in my room -- and my room was over the garage, so I could just fucking crank it! My first recording was 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' to a karaoke track --
which I definitely burned on CDs and gave to way too many people."

By 16, he was in high school in Houston and had begun playing piano. "I started taking lessons from the music leader at church. I wanted to learn how to play piano because I wanted to write a song." A summer program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston led to his enrollment at the college. While at Berklee, Wrabel posted original songs on MySpace, so when a songwriter in England invited him to come over for a writing session, he knew he wasn't long for school. "They yelled at me. 'You missed two weeks of classes!' I was like, "Yeah -- to follow my dreams."

Before the end of his first semester, Wrabel left school and headed to Los Angeles. "I just wanted to go for it," he says. He worked on his craft, writing with anyone he could, placing cuts with artists like Adam Lambert and Phillip Phillips, all the while developing his own material. The song "Ten Feet Tall" came out of the flush of his relationship with his first serious love, and helped land him a deal with Island records. "My mom kept telling me, 'Write a happy song, write a happy song. Everybody likes a happy song.' I did, and damn it, it's true!"

He released his own recording of the song, and sang on Afrojack's version. An EP followed, but after a long period of creative searching Wrabel hadn't found what he was looking for, and he and the label parted ways. He found himself back in Los Angeles, wondering if it was time to pursue a career as a songwriter rather than an artist.

In the spring of 2016, Wrabel got a direct message on Twitter from Alex Hope, a songwriter/producer he admired. When they met, he had an idea for a song: He'd realized his ex lived only a few blocks away, and he often found himself walking by his house. " Alex and I were messing around in the studio," he says. "She was playing some chords. And I told her the whole story of my ex. I'd met someone new, but I'm probably going to walk home so I can maybe run into my ex on the street, and then I'm going home to cook my boyfriend dinner. She's like, 'We need to write about this.' "

"Eleven blocks from my door to your door step. Three years later and it feels too close," the song began, building to a soaring chorus where Wrabel pleaded, "Someone stop me, please, from hurting myself, cause I'm two blocks away." It was a remarkable collision of personal details and the power of universal pop music.

"It came very naturally," he says. "I sent it to my manager, and he freaked out. The next morning my manager calls me at 8:00 Am." Coffee in hand, he called back and was told L.A. Reid, the chairman and CEO of Epic Records, wanted to sign him. "And I didn't know it, but my manager had sent it in the middle of the night to L.A. Reid. And L.A. called him seven times in the middle of night, and was texting him: 'Where are you? Who is this? I need this.'"

He met with Reid two days later. "The first time I met L.A., he called me a singer songwriter," Wrabel says. "And I almost cried. Because I sit down and play piano for a reason. And I spent so long trying to push away from that."

"And then it all happened so quickly. Just months, and the songs are ready. I spent my whole life thinking, Am I ready? Am I ready for a relationship? Am I ready for my career? Am I ready for this session? This meeting? To play a show? Am I ready? But I realize I decide when I'm ready. It's not like you take a test, and you're ready. You just say, I'm ready." And he is.
Audra Mae
Audra Mae
Growing up, show business was in Audra Mae’s blood. Her great grandmother, Virginia, was a member of the Gumm Sisters, whose youngest member, Francis Ethel Gumm, grew up to be Judy Garland. Her paternal grandmother turned her on to country and folk artists like Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Woody Guthrie, while her maternal grandfather introduced her to jazz.
Since arriving in California seven years ago, on Elvis Presley’s birthday no less, with the proverbial $20 in her pocket, Audra Mae has done alright for herself. She landed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell, a TV placement singing Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” on the hit F/X series, Sons of Anarchy, and in 2009, wrote the lyrics to “Why I Was Born to Die,” the only original track on Susan Boyle’s chart-topping, 9 million-selling I Dreamed a Dream album.

And now Audra Mae is about to see her own dream come true. 
Since her acclaimed SideOneDummy Records debut, The Happiest Lamb, in May 2010, Oklahoma-born singer/songwriter Audra Mae has undergone quite a transformation. Her band, The Almighty Sound, including stand-up bassist Joe Ginsberg, guitarist Jarrad Kritzstein, pianist Frank Pedano and drummer Kiel Feher, who have played live with her in a series of residencies around the L.A. area, came together in early 2011 as a close group of friends with no official name. Not even a year later, they've completed a new record with a new name, a new look and an Almighty Sound.
“It’s sort of like the chicken and the egg,” explains Audra about the development of Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound, also the title of the full-length record to be released Valentine’s Day, 2012.  “It’s hard to tell which came first; the band or the new record. These musicians are my best friends. They're so talented and they have my back, which is what you want in a band...that they care about you and your music.”
The album’s genesis took place in the acoustic live shows Audra Mae did with bassist Joe Ginsberg, who tour managed and played upright bass for Audra before moving to L.A. from Denver and helping her form the new band. 

“I started this album before the label even wanted another record,” says Audra. “I just wanted to capture what was happening naturally, rather than interpret someone else’s vision of what I am.”

Guitarist/ filmmaker/editor Jarrad Kritzstein, dubbed “The Octopus” (“Because he does everything well,” claims Audra), worked with her and the band in his home studio, laying down the blueprints and homespun percussive elements for a little over a month prior to the official start of recording.  

Deana Carter, a country star in her own right, whose debut album, Did I Shave My Legs for This? sold 5 million in the U.S., and has had three #1 country singles in “Strawberry Wine,” “We Danced Anyway” and “How Do I Get There,” came aboard to co-produce after seeing Audra Mae and the band perform a gig in Santa Monica. "Deana was our fearless captain," says Audra. 
While The Happiest Lamb showcased Audra Mae’s darker, more dramatic and melancholy side, Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound is a celebration of her own blossoming as a performer, the perfect storm of all her influences, spiked with the energy of a group who honed their chops in live situation. 

The album highlights include the belting blues of “The Real Thing,” written with Bravo's Platinum Hit contestant Jackie Tohn; “My Friend the Devil,” an urgent country ballad penned with Dan Wilson; the rockabilly/hip-hop nursery rhyme chant of “Little Red Wagon,” with its reference to Audra Mae’s own gold Dodge Dart classic; and the rumbling “Smokin’ the Boys,” a rollicking, cheeky ode to female self-empowerment co-written with Carter. The delta plaint of “Ne’er Do Wells” is described by Audra as a “union song,” co-written with guitarist Kritzstein, a tribute to the builders of our railroads and homes, dedicated to her father. The final “Two Melodies,” a collaboration with R&B singer/songwriter Allen Stone, is a prayerful benediction, tying up the album with a bow of humility, an anti-materialistic ode to being grateful for whatever you have.

Recorded live, including vocals, in one week at Hollywood Sound, Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound genuinely captures the band’s electric performances.
A five-song EP, including covers of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown” and The Black Keys’ “Ten Cent Pistol,” due out Nov 22, 2011, will precede the release of the full-length album in 2012.
“This album is the closest I’ve come to putting my soul to music the way I wanted to,” she says. “I’m really happy with it. I feel like I’m on the right track.
“Life gives you what it wants you to have. I try to stay in that constant state of being grateful for where I am, and have faith that it’s just a matter of time to get these messages out to more and more people every day. I’m just trying to trust that this is the life I’m supposed to have, this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound are here…and not a moment too soon.
Venue Information:
The Satellite
1717 Silverlake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90027