Tag Archives Rock Music

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: Audrey DuBois Harris & Lyia Meta

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Singer-Songwriter and visual artist Lyia Meta, and vocalist Audrey DuBois Harris get together to discuss their influences, creative processes and overcoming obstacles. 

LM:  What a beautiful voice you have.  I’m absolutely blown away by your range!!! Your passion appears to be grounded in songs of faith and inclusion, especially your recent release LIFT EVERY VOICE.  

ADH: Thank you so very much Lyia! I am intentional about creating positive, uplifting, loving and spirit-filled music that speaks to all people. LIFT EVERY VOICE is a project that was created with that intention in mind. I wanted to offer a collection of songs of unity and hope for the future.

ADH:  What a rich and soulful voice you have! It has been a while since I’ve heard such a deep, beautiful, and smooth voice.  

LM:  I am humbled by your comments as I’ve always strived at improving my craft.

LM:  What would you say is the most difficult part of being a vocalist?  How do you keep your vocals well-tuned?  

ADH: As a vocalist, my main priority is to maintain the health and vitality of my voice. That means staying on top of my physical health, getting proper rest, staying well hydrated, limited use of my speaking voice when I’m not singing, and dedicating time for vocal warmups. 

ADH:  Growing up in Malaysia, who were your biggest musical influences?

LM:  My biggest musical influence was my father! He was a civil servant and the lead singer in a band.  It sounds crazy now but back in those days, most government departments used to have an in-house band and my dad would perform.  I was used to having musicians coming and going since I was knee-high!  As I grew older, we listened to what was popular on the radio, but my favourite was rock and blues.

LM:  We both have performed internationally and are always trying to increase that footprint.  How does it feel to have to re-introduce yourself to a new audience?  What has been your most rewarding, and most challenging, performance so far?

ADH: As a LIVE performer, I introduce myself all the time to new audiences. I also enjoy meeting new people and appreciate hearing how my music has moved and/or inspired them. One vivid memory is singing for President Obama in NYC. There was a hush in the room while I was singing, then the standing room only crowd erupted in cheers and applause. I don’t give much focus to challenges beyond trying to find a way to overcome them. 

ADH:  Your music stretches across several different genres.  How do you define your personal sound and style?

LM:  Like every singer, I’m in the moment and my favorite genre or style is whatever song I’m feeling.  I find that doing only one single genre can be very limiting, I’m grateful that a variety of songwriters and producers have approached me to collaborate.  I find that different genres help convey different emotions and nuances, but I always have to make each song my own.  

LM:  How did you manage during COVID?  With schedule changes, cancellations and constant uncertainty, how did you keep your body, mind and voice in shape?  

ADH: To me, the pandemic reaffirmed that we are all connected. What happens to one person on the other side of the world affects each one of us just the same. I, like so many others, had great career plans mapped out for 2020. Although it was a time of great uncertainty and grief for us all, I made a conscious effort to remain positive, creative, and productive. My full project LIFT EVERY VOICE and the first single from that project We Shall Overcome was both recorded and released during that time.

ADH:  What is your writing process like?  Where do you find your greatest inspiration for new song material?

LM:  My greatest inspiration comes from the world around me and how it affects me physically and emotionally—body and spirit.  Spontaneity and inspiration work hand-in-hand for all of my pieces.  The creativity road leads me to wonderfully strange outcomes and there’s a feeling of self-accomplishment once I’ve exorcised my demons!  When a personal calm sets in, the song (or piece of art) just feels complete.  

LM:  I saw that you grew up dreaming of becoming the new Mariah Carey but your mother and voice teacher rightfully exposed and steered you to classical music and opera. Do you have any desire to try other genres, either live or recording?

ADH: Actually, that is a misunderstanding. The short version of the story is that when I was a little girl, my mother overheard me singing. She was very surprised by my voice and said that she would find me a voice teacher. To my 8 or 9 year old understanding, I was going to instantly become an overnight Pop star!!  My mother encouraged and inspired me the most to move in the direction of opera. It became the foundation of my technique and preparation. My music now is definitely a fusion of differing genres.  I’ve always believed that what I bring to the table is uniquely special.

ADH:  During the pandemic and global shutdown, what were some of your favorite things to do to remain positive, productive and creative?  Do you look forward to returning back to the stage for LIVE performances?

LM:  I turned to my visual art to keep me sane.  During the pandemic I drew almost a hundred commissioned portraits, two children’s album covers; designed the cover of my Metal single, painted art-glass surfaces; and wrote a few more songs that are now being demoed.  I also participated in several online digital fundraisers,created my own home “studio” that I never needed before!  I opened my own kitchen and cooked and delivered lunch boxes, pastries and cakes.  In the course of this stopgap measure I was named a Eurasian Food Culture Heritage Food Ambassador by Eurasians International.  Staying occupied in every way possible helped keep my creative side well-oiled.  I am a live performer first.  The stage and engaging with an audience will always be my first love.

LM:  We’ve both strayed from our music comfort zones to try something new.  What will you draw on for inspiration next and how will that affect your song choices?  Where would you like to experiment in terms of musical “stretch” goals? 

ADH: I draw my inspiration from different sources: culture, art, film, fashion, conversation and life experiences. As an artist, I need to constantly stretch and evolve. In terms of “stretch goals”, I think the next step for me is creating a lot more visual content/music videos for my music. 

ADH:  In addition to being a singer/songwriter, you’re also a visual artist.  Do you consider your paintings and music as one continued form of expression?  Or do you view them as separate aspects and forms of your artistry?  Is your artwork available to the public for purchase?

LM:   I don’t think I will ever be able to not express myself through art.  It has become such an integral part of me.  What I cannot express through lyrics, I express with my brushes.  I dream in colour and I am always humming to new melodies and disjointed lyrics.  In addition to my own art, I am a full-time commissioned portraitist.

FOLLOW:
Audrey DuBois Harris

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

Lyia Meta

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Spotify / Twitter

Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

Photo credit: Audrey DuBois Harris (top) Will L. Lewis lV Photography. Lyia Meta (bottom) Khahin Meta

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: Love District & Ricky Mendoza

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Alex from the rock group Love District and singer-songwriter Ricky Mendoza got together to chat about musical influences, how the pandemic affected their music, and what is coming up next for them.  

Ricky: I really love your music! I love the way the bass protrudes and how the synths vibe out a feeling of the music that I used to listen to when I first fell in love with music. And y’all do all this with a sound that feels new, yet retaining a retro spirit. 

Love District: Thank you so much for the kind words!  We’ve been working hard through the years and we’re glad that our vision is coming across as intended.  We wanted our sound to have a nostalgic feel, but also refreshing and unique at the same time. 

 

Love District: Tell us about your new single, “I Just Died.”  I really enjoy the rawness of your vocals and the instruments.  

Ricky: Thank you so much for the kind words. It is part of the new album called “The New Hurt” and it’s about a new love in my life. Here I was, inspired by love but the twist is that whenever there is a new love, there’s also a new source of pain.  If anything happens to them it’s gonna hurt like hell. 

Ricky: I’m really curious about the process of an artist/band and how the music actually gets made, so what comes first, the lyrics or the music? And how do the songs come together?

LD: It really depends on each song.  We’ve written songs inspired by a melody, chord progression, a riff, or a phrase/idea. We usually start with a chord progression or a guitar/bass riff that the rest of the instruments would follow and build along to.

LD: Are there any current artists or bands that have recently influenced your music for this new phase of your career?

Ricky: Neutral Milk Hotel and Against Me! have been my north star for a while now. I love how NMH makes their folk songs sound other-worldly and magical, while Laura Jane Grace and Against Me bring brutally honest lyrics and an in-your-face punk rock; it’s inspiring. 

Ricky: Can you walk me through the creation of “Feels Like Home”? Specifically, how it came together. 

LD: Chris came up with the progression and the melody and brought it to the band.  We jammed together for a while and worked out the format and different parts of the song before going into the studio to record.  In the studio during the pandemic we were really able to take our time and dive deep into the song and really get the sound we wanted.

LD: As this will be your third album release, how do you continue to evolve your sound and progress from your old releases?  Is there a concept to your album or do you view it as a collection of songs?

Ricky: All three albums are about phases in my life. The first one was about hitting my rock bottom and what it felt to be there. The second one is all about getting my shit together and trying to really discover myself and that is aptly named “No One Has Their Shit Together – especially Ricky Mendoza”. And shortly after the album came out, I fell in love and I felt like I was in complete control of my life. I spent five years living and making what is now, “The New Hurt”. 

Ricky:Is there a principal songwriter? Do several handle songwriting duties? And do y’all modify the lyrics to fit the music after the lyrics are written?

LD:  Chris and myself are the main songwriters in the band.  Either he or I will bring an idea or demo to the table and then we would work out the ideas together.  We would get the rough draft of the song and then bring it to the band.  In the studio, the songs naturally evolve.  The rule that I follow is the “best idea wins” and “is it making the song better?” 

LD: How has this past year during the pandemic and quarantine affected your ideas on music and being a musician?  

Ricky: In terms of being a musician it was great to have time to actually sit and record at my home studio. I’ve recorded all my albums by myself but this one was particularly challenging because I wanted to go deeper as a musician and add different instruments that I had never played (accordions, theremins, trumpets, etc). 

Ricky: As with any relationship, it gets tough to decide on certain artistic elements, career choices, lunch, etc. How do y’all make it happen as a band of four? 

LD: That is something that we all are continually trying to get better at hahaha.   We have been a band for a while now, and have developed a musical trust with each other that can only develop from experiences and failures.  We are at a point where we can have honest and open communication as a team. 

LD: With live shows being taken away, how were you able to adapt and still move forward as a musician?

Ricky:Live shows are a small part of my musicianship, so not having them wasn’t that huge of a blow. However, I really needed to take the time to record the new album.

Ricky: What habits do y’all attribute to your progress/success as artists?

LD: Keeping an open mind when it comes to creating a product as a band.  We all are seasoned vets when it comes to playing music and have opinions or ideas that may differ from one another.  It is important to listen and try new things or ideas and evolve.   

LD: Talk to us about your band.  Have you been playing with the same musicians for a while or do you like to switch things up?  

Ricky: For the recording of my album, I did not have a band. Since this was a very personal project, I decided to record all the instruments myself. However, for live shows, we do have a band together and we’re all based in Austin.

Ricky: I see that y’all teach young children about music and its importance and I’m very curious to hear about your perspective on why music is important to our world?

LD: Music has played such an important role in all our lives and we have learned so many life lessons throughout our musical careers.  We feel it is important to pay it forward when it comes to the next generation of musicians.  We want to show our students that we are playing in bands and making music for the right reasons.  There is no better feeling when we see our students start their own bands and create their own music.  

LD: Are there any activities or hobbies not music-related that inspires you?  Any other sources of creativity that could influence your music?

Ricky: Absolutely! I’m a total nerd when it comes to the science of storytelling, of how we all are connected by stories and the best possible ways to tell stories. Most of my songs are story driven, I want people to see themselves in the songs and relate at a deep level to them. After all, it’s about our human journey and how we fit in this weird, beautiful thing we call life. 

FOLLOW:

Love District

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Spotify / YouTube / SoundCloud / Twitter

Ricky Mendoza

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Spotify / YouTube

Photo credit: Ricky Mendoza (top) credit Laura Zamorano. Love District (bottom) Mad Harmony Photography; Ricky: Laura Zamorano

Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

The Unlikely Return Of ZZ Top

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The unlikely return of ZZ Top. It’s hard to think of a band more uniquely American than ZZ Top. The subject matter of almost all of their songs is distinctly American. Their sound is American. Even the way they dress is American. They’ve been representing American rock music since the late 1960s – and they’re not done yet. After a break of almost a decade, the band is preparing to record and release its sixteenth studio album. According to founder member Billy Gibbons, “the last laugh is yet to be heard.”

Almost everybody reading this article will have heard of ZZ Top, even if they can’t name any of the band’s greatest hits. Allow us to refresh your memory if you’re struggling. ZZ Top is the band that gave us “Gimme All Your Lovin,” Sharp Dressed Man,” “Rough Boy,” and their unique cover of “Viva Las Vegas.” They’ve been around since 1969 and are well known for being “the band with the beards.” The irony of that statement has always been that the only member of ZZ Top who doesn’t have a beard is the drummer, whose name is Frank Beard.

The unlikely return of ZZ TopThe band was prolific during its early years. ZZ Top’s first album, imaginatively and literally entitled “ZZ Top’s First Album,” was released in 1971. “Rio Grande Mud” came a year later, with “Tres Hombres” following the year after that. Then there was a two-year gap to “Fandango” in 1975 and a three-year gap between 1976’s “Tejas” and 1979’s “Deguello.” After that, things began to slow down. ZZ Top released only three albums in the 1980s and four in the 1990s. Since the turn of the century, they’ve released just two – “Mescalero” in 2003 and “La Futura” in 2012. All three of the band’s permanent members are now in their early 70s and could be forgiven for retiring. In fact, most fans probably assumed that they already had. Like the UK’s Rolling Stones, though, ZZ Top appears to want to carry on forever. Nine years on from “La Futura,” their as-yet-untitled sixteenth album should be with us before the end of 2021.

For Billy Gibbons, this will be the busiest year he’s had in decades. While the members of ZZ Top may not have recorded together in some time, all three of them have remained active in music to a greater or lesser degree. Gibbons is about to release a solo album called “Hardware,” for which he’s just released the single “My Lucky Card.” The album itself will be released through Concord on July 4th. It’s Gibbons’ third solo album, with his previous effort coming out in 2018 under the name “The Big Bad Blues.” This is the first time he’s attempted to release a solo album and a ZZ Top album within the same year. Quite how he intends to handle touring duties for the albums is unclear, although it’s entirely possible he could play songs from both recordings at the same performances. It’s to be assumed that the majority of ZZ Top’s fans will also buy Gibbons’ work.

We should perhaps have known something was going on with ZZ Top when new licensed products and merchandise began to appear earlier this year. Aside from the usual run of t-shirts, ZZ Top has decided to become the latest classic rock band to try their hand at releasing an official online slots game. From Alice Cooper to Jimi Hendrix and Megadeth, many of the band’s contemporaries have found that releasing “jukebox” games to online slots websites has turned into a lucrative side project. The official “ZZ Top – Roadside Riches” online slots game is currently scheduled to be released to slots sites like Rose Slots CA in mid-August 2021. We don’t have any significant detail about the slot this far ahead of its release, but if it’s anything like the slots we’ve seen from Guns n’ Roses and all the rest, it will be a feature-heavy attraction with high bonuses and a selection of the band’s greatest hits playing in the background to keep you spinning. It’s likely that virtual versions of the band will appear in the slot too. With revenue from recorded music lower than ever before because of the tiny fraction of profits bands receive from streaming, new ideas like this help to keep the bills paid.

While we can’t tell you anything specific about the band’s online slots game, is there anything we can tell you about the album? The answer to that question is “yes,” but sadly, not very much. In interviews, Gibbons has said that the recording process has already started. Most of the songs that will appear on it were originally written for “Hardware,” but Gibbons felt that they weren’t a good fit for his solo work and would sound better with the whole band. While he’s aiming for a late 2021 release and hasn’t experienced any issues with the process thus far, he’s not ruled out the possibility that it might slip into early 2022. Even if it does, that’s only a little over six months away. Having waited almost ten years for a new ZZ Top album, we’re sure fans won’t mind waiting a little longer to get the finished product.

The unlikely return of ZZ Top
Rock and roll was once thought to be a young person’s game, but that isn’t the case any longer. There’s a lack of high-profile rock bands coming through the ranks at the moment, so we still look to the stars of the past for entertainment. It’s apparent that so long as ZZ Top, The Who, the Rolling Stones, and Guns n’ Roses still feel able to set foot on a stage and entertain us, they’re going to keep doing so. You can add KISS to that list, too. The face-painted rockers have promised everyone that the tour they’re playing now will be the last one they ever do – but they’ve told us that before! From the Eagles to Aerosmith and even a version of the Beach Boys, the sounds of the 60s and 70s are still there to be experienced if you’re prepared to go out and find them. They can’t last forever, so enjoy them while you can!

Read more celebrity and entertainment articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay & Creative Commons

Australian Rock Duo The Hots Dishes On Their Debut Single “Before You” As They Aim To Take Their Music To The Next Level

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Australian rockers The Hots are an electrifying combination, bringing together front-woman Foxie Kelly’s blazing stage presence and guitarist Ronnie Simmons’ aggressive playing. Recently, the duo released their debut single “Before You” which is the spark ready to ignite the fire of female fronted rock heading into 2019. We chatted with The Hots on “Before You,” the challenges and obstacles that they faced in their career and how they managed to overcome them, and their advice to others looking to pursue the same path that they took in becoming rock stars.

Cliché: What initially sparked your interest in wanting to write music together? How do you keep things fresh and try to stay unique as artists?

The Hots: It happened really organically. We’ve known each other a long time, we reconnected a couple of years ago after going our separate ways and started writing songs together, fast forward and now we are married. Our relationship and our working relationship happened all at once. Life is like that for us, there is never a dull moment. Things are always moving so quickly, we try to be open and ready for things when they happen. I think it comes from knowing who you are, what you want, being open to the world and embracing change.

Being Australian-born artists and then moving to Los Angeles, how did you manage to adjust to a new culture? What were some challenges and obstacles that you’ve faced and how did you manage to overcome them?

It’s interesting because Los Angeles and Sydney are very similar cities, however, we are definitely separated by a common language at times, the slang and humor can get lost in translation. 

I think the main challenge that we (and other rock artists) face universally is people telling you that rock is dead and that you should be following the trends. That is one of the hardest things because obviously, we want to do well and we want to have a career, but we also don’t want to compromise our artistic integrity. We are in a genre that people are saying there is not really a market for. However, we disagree. We are being true to ourselves and sticking with what we want to do, we are diligent and we just push forward. I think having each other and knowing who we as artists help. 

How did you choose your name The Hots?

As well as the fact that Foxie has red hair and both of us have fiery personalities, it comes from having ‘the hots’ for each other.

How do you mentally prepare yourself before stepping on stage? What are some skills that you feel you still need to improve on?

By blocking everything out, it’s really hard sometimes because you can have so many people wanting to talk to you. I try to find the place in my head where I can block all of the noise out. I always remind myself why I started doing this in the first place. I have heard stories about other artists getting stage fright. However, I am quite the opposite. I can’t wait to get onto the stage. It’s also a therapeutic way of me letting out my anger and aggression and I just focus all of my energy on getting up and performing for the people in front of me. I think enhancing that focus can always be improved on. 

Can you describe your relationship with your record producer Mark Opitz?

Working with Mark Opitz was a dream come true. We really did things the old school way with everyone tracking live in the same room at once with no click track, onto an analog Neve console – just like he did with AC/DC on Powerage, The Divinyls with Desperate and all the other classic albums we adore. Mark really knew how to get a good performance out of us, capture a vibe and make us feel comfortable. We had a blast all sweating it out with vintage Marshall amps on 10 until our ears were ringing, fingers were bleeding and throats were sore. To have our vision not only nurtured but respected by someone we look up to so much is such a humbling feeling. To hear Mark compare Foxie’s vocals and attitude to Chrissy Amphlett, the late and great frontwoman of the Divinyls – we were speechless, as she is such an inspiration to both of us. We are very grateful and would love to work with him again in the future. 

Recently, you released your debut single “Before You” with an accompanying music video, how much work and preparation did it take you to record this song?

We had been preparing for well over a year when we went into the recording studio. We had written nearly two albums worth of material, a lot of which was via correspondence while Ronnie was touring the world with Richie Ramone. When it came time to record the EP with Mark Opitz in early 2018 we chose what we felt were the three strongest songs that represented who we were, and accompanied it with the Rose Tattoo cover “Nice Boys” as an homage. 

What’s the message of the song and what do you hope listeners take away when listening to the lyrics of the song?

That we’re grateful to have each other and that we are aware that what we have is very unique and special. We’re in an industry where there are so many destroyed relationships, and just like in life where the odds are usually stacked against you, don’t give up hope. If there’s something worth fighting for, stand your ground and fight for it. 

Over the years, you have toured with some rock royalties like Rose Tattoo, The Screaming Jets, and Richie Ramone. What were some things you learned from those experiences and what did those experiences teach you about your own music?

They taught me more than anything that legacy is the most important thing. Some of these artists that have been around since the ’70s and the Ramones, Rose Tattoo, and The Screaming Jets are legends. What I learned from them is that if you are going to get up on stage every night and play the same songs, you want to mean it and love what you do. And when you’re gone, that is what you’re going to be remembered by. That was what was instilled in me from them and I am very grateful for that. 

What was the best advice about the music industry that you’ve received and who was it from?

It was from the late great Mick Cocks who was the rhythm guitarist for Rose Tattoo. He said, “If you want a friend in this business, buy a dog.” 

What’s your advice to others looking to pursue the same path that you took in becoming rock stars?

My advice to others is to never be ashamed to dream. Don’t quit and don’t lose track of who you are. Recognize why you are doing it in the first place, you really have to want it. Understand that it takes a lot of work and it is a 24/7 job. You’ve got to put everything that you have into it and it doesn’t happen overnight. You will fail more than you will succeed, you will be put down for trying, but if it’s what you really want then it will all be worth it – the people that mind don’t matter and the people that matter won’t mind, it’s your life, not theirs – so get out there and live it!

What’s next for you?

We are working on another music video for ‘Please Me’, a lyric video for ‘Shame the Devil’ and are playing our first show of 2019 for Soundcheck Live, at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood on January 30th. 

 

Read more Entertainment articles at ClicheMag.com

Australian Rock Duo The Hots Dishes On Their Debut Single “Before You” As They Aim To Take Their Music To The Next Level. Image Credits: Tony Mott 

Music Tour Fashion from Absolute Merch

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It’s officially June and the long-awaited music festival is here! Bands from all over are getting together to prepare for the traveling festival of a lifetime, The Warped Tour. With an epic lineup and dozens of bands, this tour is sure to satisfy all rock music lovers. But what will they wear?

 
Classic band tees are the typical go-to, but to fit in with this band scene, standing out is the way to go. That’s why many bands and artists are teaming up with music tour fashion brand, Absolute Merch, to create custom and unique pieces to not only meet the needs of fans, but to give them an experience.

Absolute Merch’s co-founders Billy Candler and Noah Russell set out to change band merch as we know it. They wanted to create a community with their fashion while making complex and unique pieces of merchandise to fit the bands and artists they work alongside with.
All of their pieces are different, fun, and definitely worth checking out, especially if you want to be ready for the upcoming music tour. We know we will be ready! Here are some of our favorite designs from Absolute Merch’s new Limited collection.
 

ETF – Hate Me Red Dyed Tee, $21.95, absolutemerch.com


ETF – HATE ME RED DYED TEE
The Hate Me Tee is a custom dyed red tee with a unique spin on one of Escape the Faith’s popular songs. The red and black tie-dyed shirt is only available online for pre-order, giving the brand’s buyers an opportunity to get a limited edition shirt that not everyone else will be wearing. Having a subtle front and edgy back side, this tee is perfect for everyday wear or a night out with friends.

FFAK – DEATHGRIP SPECKLED CUTOFF TANK, $21.95, absolutemerch.com


FFAK – DEATHGRIP SPECKLED CUTOFF TANK
This Fit For A King cut off tank is so beautifully unique, you won’t be able to resist getting one for yourself. With a dip-dyed tip and low-cut arm sleeves, the Deathgrip Speckled tank top will ensure you stay cool and stylish while exploring various bands. Pair it with a strappy bralette and ripped jeans or some trendy cut-offs to really add to the overall effect of the awesome graphic.

STRONG MINDS – STAR WARS TEE, $9.95, absolutemerch.com


STRONG MINDS – STAR WARS TEE
Taking an epic movie twist, this Strong Minds Star Wars tee will be sure to elevate your style to a galaxy far far away. At only $9.95, the lightspeed tee will grab attention whether it’s for one of your favorite bands or for a rockin’ movie. Pair with jeans and combat boots and you’ll be ready for any occasion.

If you love the band scene and want to join a community of music lovers who are excited about new, unique, and limited edition band merchandise, Absolute Merch is the brand for you. So get ready for the music festival of the year and get some tee’s that won’t just hang out in your closet, because these shirts will definitely be getting their share of sun.
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Music Tour Fashion from Absolute Merch: Featured image and all images courtesy of absolutemerch.com