Q&A: Blaudzun Talks Inspiration, SXSW & U.S. Debut

Photo by IAMKAT

Holland-based artist Blaudzun last week officially made his U.S. debut with new album Heavy Flowers. It is the third full-length for Johannes Sigmond, who played in several bands before venturing out solo as Blaudzun, a name inspired by a relatively unknown Danish cyclist.

VOTE: Whose Spring Album Are You Most Excited About?

It's no secret this year is already promising some of the biggest album releases, with some of the biggest names returning for highly anticipated new LPs. While it's only January, and this list will only continue to grow, we want to know whose album you're particularly looking forward to this year.

Variance 2013 Reader Survey

It's the beginning of a brand new year, and we want to make Variance better for you! As we mentioned in our latest issue, without you, we simply don't exist. Your feedback, your suggestions and your submissions are critical to what we do. In order for us to maintain a focus on The Sights and Sounds You Love, we're asking readers to take this short survey to improve the site and our content.

Opinion: Chet Faker, Alt-J Should Collaborate

Two up-and-comers of 2012 are still a couple of our favorites heading into the new year, but wouldn't you agree that maybe next year alt-J and Chet Faker should collaborate? Britain's Mercury Prize-winning quartet alt-J and Melbourne, Australia electronic soul artist Chet Faker have been featured on the same bill opening for The Temper Trap, so perhaps a joint musical effort isn't out of the question. What do you think?

'Nashville's' Tilky Jones Talks 'Glossiness' of Show

Photo by Blake Pellenberg

Tilky Jones may not yet be a household name, but his star is definitely on the rise. Following prominent roles on One Tree Hill and Pretty Little Liars, the 31-year-old actor-musician is back in the spotlight, recently joining ABC’s top freshman drama Nashville as Sean Butler, the new love interest for Juliette Barnes (Hayden Paynettiere).

As evidenced in last week’s episode, Jones’s character is having quite the impact on Juliette—the country starlet originally paired up with Sean for good PR. Now, the football charmer—a “Tim Tebow type,” according to Jones—is all wrapped up in the sudsy mess that is “Music City,” albeit a fictionalized version.

Gotye, Kimbra, Temper Trap Big ARIA Award Winners

Gotye, Kimbra and The Temper Trap took the glory Thursday night at the ARIA Awards, between them collecting most of the big honors.

The Australian record industry's flagship awards ceremony is a showcase of the Australian success stories over the previous year. Though on this occasion, the most deafening screams were reserved for the "internationals" on the show, who included Taylor Swift (performing her electro-pop hit "I Knew You Were Trouble"), English comedian and presenter Russell Brand and U.K. boyband One Direction, who weren't even in the house.

Do We Really Need to See Rihanna On 'SNL' Again This Year?

Earlier Wednesday, Saturday Night Live announced updates to its schedule for the current season, adding Anne Hathaway as host for Nov. 10 with musical guest Rihanna, as well as first-time host Jeremy Renner on Nov. 17 with music by Maroon 5. Hathaway has previously hosted the NBC comedy show and garnered high marks from critics and fans, but this will mark the fourth time for performances by Rihanna and The Adam Levine Band.

EXCLUSIVE: The Script's Danny O'Donoghue Talks New Album, New Sounds

Photo: Kevin Westenberg

It’s been more than four years since a rock band by the name of The Script topped charts worldwide with their eponymous debut album. The Irish-born trio, which has produced a number of hits over two albums, returns this month with its third full-length effort, appropriately named #3.

Fans have certainly become familiar with the band’s signature sound over the last few years, but according to frontman Danny O’Donoghue, there are some changes in the new set.

“[It is] a lot more hip-hop orientated,” O’Donoghue revealed in a new interview with Variance. “With the first album, we would write the verses and then we would also add melody to those verses, and that’s how we made our own kind of style [with] ‘We Cry’ and songs like that. I guess on #3, instead of adding melody, we just said, ‘You know what, let's leave melody away from it, let's just actually have a vocal word or rap.’”

First Things First

Over the last two years, something incredible has happened within the music and entertainment industries. They have become more social, more interactive. The voice of the people--that’s you!--has become more powerful. And all along, Variance has been here.

As the world becomes a smaller place, Twitter and the blogosphere have become the new town square, where people share their opinions and speak their mind. We’ve been listening and doing our best to give you a voice.

We’ve tried our hardest to read every tweet, every Facebook post, every e-mail and every blog comment. Top 40 radio not your thing? We get it. You’re a fan of the underdogs and undiscovered talent. We are, too. As we celebrate our second birthday, your voice is the most important element about Variance.

We’re proud to have featured many of your favorite musicians, actors, writers and other creatives. We’ve brought you stories from The All-American Rejects, Ben Rector, the guys from MTV’s The Buried Life, The Civil Wars (pre-Grammys), Dev, Eric Hutchinson, Explosions in the Sky, fun. (before and after their explosive rise), Gavin DeGraw, Gotye, Gym Class Heroes, Ingrid Michaelson, New Girl’s Jake Johnson, best-selling author Jon Acuff, Karmin, Kate Voegele, Kristin Chenoweth, Lights, Mat Kearney, Mayer Hawthorne, Miike Snow, MUTEMATH, The Naked and Famous, Patrick Stump, Phantogram, Switchfoot, and Viddy (before it became the hottest video app on the planet).

Many of those stories were driven by you, the readers. You asked, you suggested, you demanded, because it’s your magazine. The stories that show up on our website? They’re driven heavily by the things you’ve told us you care about. And with this new issue, we’re excited to feature someone of the people you’ve requested most, starting with the cover.

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