“Rock & roll, baby!!! That’s what you’ll find on Cooper Cobra, the debut EP of New York band Lily Sparks. No samples, loops, or weird electronica, just guitar-heavy, punk-influenced songs about having a good time. The tried and true formula works like a dream. The instrumentation is tight and the range and depth of lead vocalist Niamh (pronounced “neev”) is astonishing.” Karen Duda - Feminist Review
Niamh ("neev") - Vocals.
KG* - Guitar and backing vocals
Margaret La Bombard - Bass and backing vocals
Mick Fumento - drums and percussion
Cooper Cobra - EP - Jan 2010
Lily Sparks Rock Band Interview
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Lily Sparks Rock Band Interview 1.What inspired your passion for music and who has been there sup...Lily Sparks Rock Band Interview
1.What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
Niamh – The first time I sang in front of people was in church and I was so nervous that my knees kept banging into each other. But my voice didn’t shake so I figured if I could just keep my knees still I might be able to do this! ;)
2. How do you feel about people downloading music rather then buying physical copies?
Downloading music is just a fact today and it’s becoming the norm, especially if we all start using cloud computing for more of our storage needs. There will be people who will still cling to physical copies, just like there are still vinyl fans, but the majority of people will probably think of music as something that you can download instantly. So we accept it.
3.How do you feel about the music industry today?
In some ways it’s more egalitarian but in other ways it’s more difficult since you’re expected to wear many hats and pay attention to everyone individually. Artists didn’t have to worry about those things as much in the old days. What you worried about was getting the golden ticket so that a record company would take care of everything for you. But now there is this DIY sensibility that says that you can do it all yourself. But in reality that’s a huge task so it’s still a very difficult road. But the scenery has changed…
4.Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years from now we’ll be starting our Australian tour and be just about to kick off opening night in Sydney. We’ve been very fortunate to have played multiple times in Europe, obviously the US is our home base so our goal is to hit up the rest of the continents. And this is not a dream, one way or another we’ll be touring Australia –be it on the big stage or the small stage – and hoping they’ll throw some veggies on the barbie for us…
5. Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better then the original?
Songs are like play-doh, they’re to be molded into many different versions and creations. Some cover versions have captured very different aspects of songs that have resonated with audiences in completely different ways. Regardless, it’s a gift.
6.Who have you always dreamt of working with and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
Annie Lenox seems like she would be a lot of fun to work with since she’s written a lot of great tunes that have stood the test of time and she is a fearless performer. The emotion that she evokes when she sings is palpable and her connection with the audience is vivid. But we’re not sure how we would go about contacting her… anyone got any ideas?
7.As you are starting out your career in the music industry what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
a- Your focus should be on you, your band and what you create. Be true to that.
b- Learn as much as possible about the industry, how it works and where it’s headed. But don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s gonna change tomorrow.
c- Hear the “no’s” and appreciate the “no’s” –but don’t carry them with you.
8.Have you found that as you are starting out your career in the music industry there are aspects that have taken you completely by surprise. If so, what are they?
DIY is not all it’s cracked up to be. While on the one hand it’s great to have control over your career throughout, having to manage all aspects yourself is difficult to handle every day.
9. What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
The greatest thing is the opportunity to make music that people can enjoy. It’s our passion and we love doing it. But if we could change anything we’d like to be able to have more hours in the day in order to do all the things that we want to do- and get paid a living wage. It would be nice to see some crisp… green… bills…. (thanks).
10.If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting out. Who would you have liked to ask?
It’s kind of a hard to question to answer since there’s so many bands we grew up listening to and we followed their journeys as they became more mainstream. But our questions for any of them be it Ann Wilson from Heart or Bono or Matt Bellamy would be the same. (see below)
What would you have liked to ask?
“How did you get the momentum going and how do you keep it going? What were the big breaks?”
What would be your answer now?
Be appreciative of the feedback that other people give you and take out of it what you will. But ultimately recognize that it is one person’s opinion and it’s not the be all and end all.
11.From your experience in the entertainment industry what advice could you offer people looking to get where you are today?
Don’t try to please too many people. Do what you enjoy doing and do it with gusto. There will always be a ton of people who will want you to change this or that in order to be “more popular.” By the time you master the latest trend it will have passed. So don’t fall into the popularity contest trap. Like mom said, “Just be yourself.”
12. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the music industry?
One should master their craft and understand how the industry works. Actually, the ASCAP Expo is a great place to learn about the industry even though it isn’t an actual course or class. And then it’s always good to take classes in the specific areas that you’re interested in whether it be in production, recording, marketing, business, etc.
13.How many years were you fighting to get to where you are today and what was that time in your life like?
Niamh- My lifetime to date. As corny as it sounds, I may not have been singing or playing music as I came out of the womb, but as soon as I could, I was.
14.From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
It’s very challenging to be in a band these days since you have to juggle all the various roles of musician, songwriter, promoter, marketer and manager. It’s like running a small corporation and it can be exhausting. Not only do you have to oversee your musical output but you also have to manage your image, your time, your money, and all your social networks. We try to spread out some of the responsibilities but it’s a lot of work and not everyone has an aptitude for all the different tasks. You need to be able to maintain a central vision so that you can convey a consistent message. We have a lot of band meetings!
15.Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
One of our biggest highs was playing at the Taubertal Festival in Germany in the summer of 2009. After winning the East Coast finals of the Emergenza Festival in the US we were flown to Germany to compete with 19 other bands from all over the world. We got to stay in a beautiful medieval town in Bavaria, meet people from all over the globe and see amazing bands like Taking Back Sunday and Flogging Molly. But when Niamh won the award for Best Vocalist that was the icing on the cake!
Artist Interview – Lily Sparks
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Lily Sparks is a rock band from New York consisting of Niamh (Lead Vocals), KG* (Guitar & Vocals), M...Lily Sparks is a rock band from New York consisting of Niamh (Lead Vocals), KG* (Guitar & Vocals), Margaret La Bombard (Bass), Nick Cavagnero (Guitar) and Mick Fumento (Drums). When we checked out Lily Sparks latest music we loved their vibe and commercial rock sound so were delighted when they completed a full feature interview. Read on to find out about what they’ve been working on, what songs they’re currently listening to and what they’re hoping to achieve for the rest of 2011.
Q: Who are you called?
Our band is called Lily Sparks. We came up with the name one night when we were all hanging out and telling war stories about relationships. Our drummer, Mick, told the winning tale. He was dating a chick named Lily and one night he happened to walk in on her attempt to cook him dinner in his apartment. Unfortunately, she had managed to set the kitchen on fire and nearly barbequed his apartment. The whole scene cracked us up so we all started playing with the name “Lily” using various images from the story. Since “Lily Arsonist” didn’t quite cut it, after a number of drinks Lily Sparks was born.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
Rock with a touch of Pop and Classic Rock.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
If Heart and Joan Jett had a baby you’d get a hard rocking band with killer vocals called Lily Sparks!
Q: What is your musical background?
Our lead vocalist, Niamh (pronounced “neev”), was born to sing. As a child in Ireland she sang traditional Irish songs, performed in choral groups, played lead roles in musical theater and was awarded a choral scholarship in college. She’s classically trained in voice and piano.
Since landing in NYC a mere 6 years ago, Niamh has honed her craft by playing across various genres and with some of the best musicians NYC has to offer.
One of our guitarists, KG*, has been in all kinds of bands from punk to country and back. She didn’t play music at all as a child but was inspired to give the electric guitar a try after a long discussion backstage with Brad Whitford from Aerosmith. She’s never gotten over it.
Margaret, our bass player, originally played classical trombone. When she moved to NYC she lived with her brother who is a guitarist. Since she had no friends and happened to have a broken foot at the time, her brother encouraged her to learn the bass so he could “get the band back together.” She found the bass to be a natural transition from the trombone.
Drummer Mick has been avidly playing music since he was a child. He has a degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami and has played with all kinds of bands. He enjoys everything from funk to jazz to blues and can be found sitting in at the local jam sessions whenever he gets the chance.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Our inspirations as a band are quite broad. We love everyone from The Black Keys to Heart, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and Van Morrison. We meant really broad tastes!
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have really peaked our interest this year. Their latest self-titled album is packed to the brim with up-tempo, well written goodness that makes you want to get up and join the party. We love, love, love her gritty vocals and sassy ways!
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Our dream bands to gig with would be The Black Keys or The Raconteurs. And it would be amazing to collaborate with songwriters like Dan Wilson, Ari Levine or Linda Perry someday!
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
The Crash Kings are in heavy rotation these days. They take high energy songs to a new level in a way that is very reminiscent of the Freddie Mercury days of Queen. Our two faves are “Saving Grace” (which has a killer piano opener, solo and soaring vocals) and “Mountain Man” which has an infectious grove that is totally addictive. Great driving music!
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
The process changes from song to song. Sometimes we hit on a melody that is infectious and won’t leave the brain and other times we are deeply affected by an event and the lyrics flow first. The unpredictability is exciting and keeps the music fresh.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Both are important. You need a catchy melody to get folks interested and you need great lyrics to keep them interested after that performance. You’re always looking for that perfect marriage.
Q: Where are you based?
Our band is based in the New York metro area: We represent Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey. But we’re always on the move so look out-- we may be visiting your town soon!
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
New York is an intense place. In the city that never sleeps it helps to be a night person—and we are definitely not morning people! But it’s full of fascinating characters and unexpected opportunities. You can have a great conversation with a stranger at the bar and then 10 minutes later they get up on stage and blow your mind with their incredible talent. You just never know who’s standing next to you. We’ve had the good fortune of meeting some ridiculously gifted musicians and genuinely talented Sparklers in our various nightlife encounters. It’s not for the faint-hearted but it’s never boring so it suits our personalities to the core.
(BTW, we call our fans “Sparklers.” Anyone can become a Sparkler by joining our mailing list.)
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
We’d like to leave you with an excerpt from The Book of Lily Sparks:
Lily Sparks formed from primordial goo festering in a basement on New York’s Lower East Side. In time they saw the light and crawled up upon a stage. There, as electrical charges coursed through their instruments, a sound emerged and it was sparkling…
Editor’s Note: Lily Sparks ooze a rocking style and at Song Revelation we believe that 2011 could be a truly successful breakout year.
Lily Sparks - Sparkling Champagne and Rocking Riffs 04/26/11
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Lily Sparks – love that name! I like to ask bands how they got their name, and after hearing the sto...Lily Sparks – love that name! I like to ask bands how they got their name, and after hearing the story behind how this band chose theirs I have asked them to share it with you as well. Ladies?
Well, it was a fine spring evening and we were all hanging out and getting to know one another just after Niamh joined the band. Somehow we ended up telling war stories about relationships. Our drummer, Mick, told the winning tale. He was dating a chick named Lily and one night he happened to walk in on her attempt to cook him dinner in his apartment. Unfortunately, she had managed to set the kitchen on fire and nearly barbequed his apartment. The whole scene cracked us up so we all started playing with the name “Lily” using various images from the story. Since “Lily Arsonist” didn’t quite cut it, after a number of drinks Lily Sparks was born.
This past Christmas holiday you decided to spread some cheer with a Christmas single and video. What was it like filming your video in the city during the holidays?
It was a holiday video sans snow since the snow hadn’t yet engulfed the city until after we’d shot all the footage! But New York is a really special city to be in during the holidays because it’s got a lot of excitement in the air what with all the lights, the decorations, and people rushing around trying to find the perfect gift. There’s something really magical about it and we wanted to capture that feeling. It was a true DIY attempt at our first holiday video. We used clips from all kinds of cameras, some professional and some not. We loved being able to include friends and family and getting lots of help from people close to us. For us the entire project was a labor of love that really embodied the goodwill of the season. We’d like to do a new one each year and we’ll be looking to cast a new set of characters so please hit us up if you want to be part of this year’s madness!
You have been compared to the likes of Heart and the 4 Non – Blondes– there seems to be softness to your sound as well though. It’s almost like rock with a hug. How would you describe your sound? (no I am not asking for your genre…the most dreaded question)
Lately a lot of people have been comparing us to Grace Potter and the Nocturals with a dash of Adele. But we don’t focus on trying to sound one way. The sensuality in our sound comes from the tension that we deliberately try to maintain between the soft and hard elements of rock. It’s not supposed to be in your face all the time. Our goal is to focus on the story and capture a multitude of emotions. Everyone hears something different in our music and we’re OK with that.
How did the band form and who does the writing in the band? Is there one main person or do you all write together?
Here is an excerpt from The Book of Lily Sparks:
Lily Sparks formed from primordial goo festering in a basement of the Lower East Side. In time, they saw the light and crawled up upon a stage. There, as electrical charges coursed through their instruments, a sound emerged and it was sparkling…
There is no one writer. We’re a band and we encourage everyone to come to the table with ideas.
How long has the band been playing together and playing out in NYC?
We’ll be celebrating our leather anniversary in May! We’ll be accepting gifts, cards, and bottles of expensive champagne. Don’t be shy.
Do you have plans for a tour?
Yes. Summer 2011. We’re still working out the details.
How do you feel about the music industry as a whole right now? Since you are DIY artists you must be getting your hands dirty in the business side of the music as well. Do you consider this a plus?
Given that both of us come from a business background there are a number of elements that we enjoy having more control over. While there’s a lot of freedom in being a DIY artist, you also have to be really strict with your time. You have to figure out how much time to spend on the administrative side versus the creative side because one can’t dominate the other. But we really don’t think DIY is an accurate way of describing independent artists. Regardless of whether you’re signed or not everyone needs a team of people to help them with publicity, recording, photography, videography, fundraising, etc. It’s not a solo practice. You need other people. You need their expertise.
The internet has become a powerful tool as well, do you find that online marketing is helping your promotion?
Online marketing is pretty much the basis of all our promotion. Gone are the days of massive postering and flyering. It just doesn’t catch people’s attention anymore. What catches people’s attention is online marketing because that’s where people are going for news and information. And it helps you reach way beyond your local perimeter so that you can actually have international outreach.
What is the goal for Lily Sparks? What do you have in store for us in 2011?
We’ve got so many things in the works right now that we can’t even articulate them all! But expect our first US tour, a new EP, and some provocative new pictures. Avoid the mob and pre-order your signed copies now. ;)
Where can we find more information and learn all about Lily Sparks?
You can find us at: www.lilysparks.com
Email us anytime at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cooper Cobra By Lily Sparks 02/02/11
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A Review By Andrea R. Garrison - Onlinewithandrea Cooper Cobra is a CD release by Lily Sparks a ho...A Review By Andrea R. Garrison - Onlinewithandrea
Cooper Cobra is a CD release by Lily Sparks a hot highly driven band featuring the powerful vocals of Niamh. Whether you are taking in the driving force in Stars, listening to Let Go, Walk Away, Where Are We Today or The Girls you will enjoy them all. In fact you will want to hear more of their music. The musicianship is excellent. You can tell that this band is not a studio creation. Once you listen to Lilly Sparks on CD you will want to see them live. For more information on Lily Sparks visit www.lilysparks.com and listen to the Onlinewithandrea interview with Lily Sparks.
A new take on the holidays: Lily Sparks' "Bright Christmas" 12/07/10
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Somewhere where Skeptical and Surly meet, you can find my December “seasonal spirit”. Cold winds, da...Somewhere where Skeptical and Surly meet, you can find my December “seasonal spirit”. Cold winds, dark days, and the tinsel-deep repetition of glazed tradition hammer me into a brittle brassy hrmphingness. Yes, I realize that the return of all this cheers many people, and I realize that I want to coax, then celebrate, the sun’s return – we all do, and that underlies (without implying that it covers much of the meaning of) Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Solstice… which I’ll call, as a convenient metonomy based on my background rather than a form of exclusion, Christmas.
Well, some good news. On December 8, after I wrote this but before you read it, the sun will set a few seconds later in New York, rather than earlier, as it has for six months. So that’s the first sign of spring, something I always celebrate as the beginning of Christmas. And the definition of cold comfort, mutters Surly.
To deal with that dude, I turn to music. Lily Sparks is a bluesy, rocking local band I’ve heard play a couple of times. They’re well-suited for a Sunday BBQ at LIC Bar, accompanied by beer, burgers, sunshine, and humidity. Knowing that they’re working on a new disc, I wanted to check out a recent show - indoors, pasta, chill gusts through the door, but still bluesy and rockin. Afterward, their lead singer Niamh Hyland handed me what could have been a credit card (she didn’t have to fight any line forming to do that these days), but in reality provided access to download their new single, “Bright Christmas”. Skeptical and Surly sauntered over.
And promptly got their asses kicked. The tune is refreshingly different from any Christmas song I’ve heard. It deals directly with holiday malaise, noticing that connecting our childhood joy with the joy of people in the city allows us to draw what we want and need from Christmas. There’s nothing preachy or sanctimonious about this mid-tempo blues shouter, fringed with a swinging horn section; it’s fun.
The musicality of its rhythm, melody, lyrics and harmony have a single rival in the genre, Ralph Blane’s original “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Yes, it’s a thin field, but that’s no damnation via faint praise. If you’re skeptical (or Skeptical), our tech folks have provided a nearby, convenient link so you can download it. No, I’m not going to hand out credit cards – I’m always a bit surly anyway.
Moth Pick of the Week - Cooper Cobra
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Cooper Cobra by Lily Sparks is proof positive that classic rock albums are still being made and that...Cooper Cobra by Lily Sparks is proof positive that classic rock albums are still being made and that it doesn’t take years to mature into a classic. When you have it, you have it–and Lily Sparks has it!
Lily Sparks makes up Niamh (Lead Vocals), KG (Guitar & Vocals), Nikki 7 (Guitar & Vocals) and Mick (Drums). Lead singer Niamh (Pronounced “neev”) is an Irish born classically trained vocalist, and it shows. About halfway through Cooper Cobra I fell madly in love with her voice. Niamh’s voice has the soaring melodic tempo of Heart’s Ann Wilson and the gritty soul of Janis Joplin. Some of the band’s punk-like vibes, especially in the track “Stars” I suspect is due largely to Guitarist KG, who learned to play in a punk-rock band. The punk influence gives the band an extra edge that cranks things up to eleven and allows Nikki 7 and Mick to amp it up to twelve, thirteen and well beyond.
“Stars,” the first track off of Cooper Cobra isn’t the deepest track lyrically, but who the hell cares? It rocks! Stars is all about the kind of rock that you jam out to and just let everything go. I have never been to one of Lily Sparks live shows, but this song makes me want to book a flight to New York just so I can hear them in person.
“Let Go” is a sultry little rock song that leads you into temptation and makes you feel good for all the wrong reasons. Again, Niamh’s vocals are stunning in this track, but more over major kudos go to the guitar rifts that are sinister yet extraordinarily sexy.
This may sound a bit out there, but the track “Walk Away” reminds me a lot of Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” Maybe it’s because both tracks are melody driven rock ballads about young love. Whatever the reason, this is one of my favorite tracks off of Cooper Cobra. Still…
“Where Are We Today” is my favorite song on this album! I mentioned earlier that I fell madly in love with Niamh’s voice–this was the track where it happened. This girl has some pipes on her! I compared her to the likes of Ann Wilson and Janis Joplin, but in my opinion she blows them away! She very seriously could be one of the best female rock singers of our time.
The last song on Cooper Cobra is “The Girls.” This track is the perfect end to an amazing album. It’s soft folk-rock vibes just shows how versatile this band really is. Stunning. Simply stunning.
Lily Sparks’s Cooper Cobra is by far one of the best rock albums that I’ve come across. With incredible vocals and a classic rock feel, this is an album for anyone that likes great music. Buy this album!
Via Zack “The Mothman” Daggy
Lily Sparks – ‘Cooper Cobra’ EP 07/29/10
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This 5-track EP from the band Lily Sparks is filled with music that will make any rocker a very happ...This 5-track EP from the band Lily Sparks is filled with music that will make any rocker a very happy person. The band’s music is filled with great instrumentation via its smoking guitar and drum parts along with stellar lead vocals that grab your attention and never let go for the entire song.
The EP starts out really strong with the up-tempo rocking track, “Stars.” The song features big guitars and drum parts and deals with living out your dreams. Next up is, “Let Go”, which as the title suggest is about helping someone to let go of a past relationship. “Walk Away”, is up next and deals with past loves and broken relationships. Followed by, “Where Are We Today”, a track that starts out more laid back but builds as it progresses along including a nice little rocking guitar solo that’s found on it.
Things wrap up with the last track, “The Girls”, a melodic narrative type of ballad with lyrics that deal with the upcoming weekend and partying plans in the band’s beloved NYC.
Lily Sparks makes music that you want to hear over and over again and in my opinion that’s about the biggest compliment you can give a band.
Fans of artist like, Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde, and Heart will really enjoy the classic centered rocking style of the band Lily Sparks.
Lily Sparks - The Hamptons - Dublin Castle Review 07/05/10
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Monday, 05 July 2010 20:10 If ever I wonder why I've run a studio for the last 31 years, tonight wa...Monday, 05 July 2010 20:10
If ever I wonder why I've run a studio for the last 31 years, tonight was a great reminder. It's because I love great Rock and Roll music and it doesn't come much better than this. For the 4th July, The Dublin Castle put on two great bands with strong American connections. One of them I know pretty well and the other was a joyous surprise.
First up, straight from New York City was Lily Sparks. Lead by the simply stunning Niamh on vocals, this band are great and are truly going somewhere. Niamh sings like a cross between Patti Smith and Joan Jett at their best. She struts like the queen of New York City and she means it. The songs are reminiscent of the halcyon days of the CBGB's scene at its best, but updated and played with passion. Highlight of the set was the rip roaring "Stars" and "Where are we Today". I was blown away and made a point of picking up a copy of their Cooper Cobra EP. Managed to have a chat with Niamh after. She's switched on. I'm all for girls in rock and Lily Sparks are one of the best bands I've seen for ages. Check them out on their website.
Next up were "The Hamptons". Lead by Charlie Honderick, who moved from Florida to London to team up with Alex Sarychkin on guitar, they are a truly individual and awesome band. I must confess to having a vested interest as Charlie and Alex first collaborated on a Pusherman by my band, The False Dots as guest vocalist and guitarist.. They hit it off and formed the Hamptons earlier this year.
I thought that Lily Sparks would be a hard act to follow, but follow them they did (and then some). The set started with Mona Lisa, a track from Charlies previous band "The Most". The set has progressed immeasurably since the days of the Most, and PEACE and CASTAWAY were the highlights of the set. PEACE is a true classic, a lighter in the air moment, with thought provoking lyrics in a stonking rock and roll song. The Hamptons are a hard band to pigeonhole, they sort of remind me of an up to date cross between The Doors and Pink Floyd circa Syd Barratt. Charlie is a truly awesome performance. The Dublin Castle was packed (extraordinary for a Sunday night with two unknown bands). By the end of the Hamptons set the venue was buzzing. The Hamptons are set to record their first demo shortly and if they can capture the energy of the live performance, I'm sure they'll be on their way.
I'd expected a good evenings entertainment, I got the best gig I've been to in a small club for years. Check these bands out, while they are still playing the smaller venues. I'm sure they are both destined for greater things.
Rock & roll, baby!!! 06/22/10
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Lily Sparks – Cooper Cobra Rock & roll, baby!!! That’s what you’ll find on Cooper Cobra, the debut ...Lily Sparks – Cooper Cobra
Rock & roll, baby!!! That’s what you’ll find on Cooper Cobra, the debut EP of New York band Lily Sparks. No samples, loops, or weird electronica, just guitar-heavy, punk-influenced songs about having a good time. The tried and true formula works like a dream. The instrumentation is tight and the range and depth of lead vocalist Niamh (pronounced “neev”) is astonishing.
The first few seconds of the opening track, “Stars,” are enough to tell you what Lily Sparks is all about: guitarists Nikki 7 and KG* showcase their guitar chops on a short and sweet song with a thrumming beat, and Niamh lets loose with a devil-may-care attitude: “I don’t care what they’re saying / ’cause I’m not about to change my ways / I’m living it up till my dying day.” The refrain—“Stars, guitars, and muscle cars make me happy”—gives us an instant understanding of the band's raison d'être: celebrating life and having a ball making music. Like the best classic rock songs, the music makes such trite lyrics work. (And to be fair, there are some inventive lyrics on other songs—it's just that this one doesn't need them.)
“Let Go” has an ominous vibe, as if something rather unpleasant is about to happen. The languorous pace and chiming guitar add to the ambiance; the song is about wanting to help someone let go of the past and broaden horizons. The band returns to a more driving pace on “Walk Away,” a nostalgic but upbeat song about past love anchored by a heavy bass line. “Do you ever wonder what became of yesterday? / And all of those summers when we gave our hearts away?” Niamh asks. Soaring backing vocals on the refrain compliment her sultry tone perfectly, and the tune boasts some original images: “I go on about my days and dream about you anyway / like a ghost or a martyr, keeping watch at a grave.” The fast tempo juxtaposes with the sentiment of the lyrics, creating a memorable song.
“Where Are We Today” features a laid-back groove, strumming guitar, and drawn-out vocals. Niamh shows off her abilities, belting out the lyrics and going to the top of her range. Once again, the poetic lyrics paint atmospheric images (“Days fall to dusk now, undefined”). The song builds as it progresses, with increased instrumentation and a blistering guitar solo building a wall of sound. The album ends with the mellow “The Girls.” Ostensibly about the narrator’s weekend plans with friends, it’s really a love letter to her hometown. “Glad to be at the end of the week / now I can spend some time with my city / New York City.” Specific details add to the picture of the city and the depth of feeling: “See the moonbeams drag as the Hudson ripples by / pace as fierce as those cabbies zipping by.” Niamh has a gentle, almost maternal croon as she repeats “New York City.”
It's probably inevitable that a trio of female musicians will attract comparisons to other female and female-led acts, and reviewers have drawn parallels to Heart, 4 Non Blondes, Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde, and Lita Ford. While it's discouraging that a fantastic group such as Lily Sparks is automatically held up against only female musicians, one hopes their tight, hard rocking sound, wailing guitars, and hook-filled songs will grant them a place of their own in the rock world.
Review by Karen Duda
Crash, blaze, music on fire…Lily Sparks
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Annie Lennox, Def Leppard and Melissa Etheridge collided into a Lily Spark. Forged in the crucibl...Annie Lennox, Def Leppard and Melissa Etheridge collided into a Lily Spark.
Forged in the crucible of the New York rock scene, Lily Sparks has emerged with a unique voice. Flanked by glitter guitars that alternate between crunch and wail, the singer’s got a set of pipes that can go from fragility to fury in a heartbeat. These girls play hard-rocking, toe-tapping songs that’ll make you want to shout and sing along.
Lily Sparks is lots of guitar, a driving beat, and sexy as hell.
SPECIAL: Lily Sparks 06/22/10
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Club Indie luvs to rock... Who are Lily Sparks? Verb tense issues aside, this is one mother lovin...Club Indie luvs to rock...
Who are Lily Sparks? Verb tense issues aside, this is one mother lovin', hard rockin' girls band. Oops, sorry Nick, nobody questions your masculinity (at least not while you're wielding those drum sticks)! They're taking NYC by storm, and taking no classic rock 'n roll prisoners. Spend some time this St. Paddy's day getting to know Niamh (pronounced: Neev in her native Ireland), KG (owns more guitars than most anyone you know) and Nikki (don't let all those tats fool you, she studied music and recording engineering at Berkley).
Their debut EP, Cooper Cobra tells your ears all you need to know. Every note orchestrated and sung as sweetly and powerfully as any muscle car engine on the line at Colchester Dragway (that's in CT, folks). Purrfect!
Lily Sparks is one band to watch
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From the very first guitar riff on Cooper Cobra, the listener quickly realizes this isn’t your typic...From the very first guitar riff on Cooper Cobra, the listener quickly realizes this isn’t your typical debut EP. Full of energy, Lily Sparks’ lead vocalist Niamh has a certain rocker quality that peaks interest. Accompanied by Nikki 7 and KG* on guitars and vocals and Mick Fumento on drums, the sound rounds out well and the five-song release leaves the listener begging for more. While Lily Sparks have been compared to Siouxsie and the Banshees, the band’s talent and versatility is undeniable. Blending 80s rock and killer guitar interludes for a truly unique experience, Lily Sparks is one band to watch.
Together just a year and a half, Lily Sparks have gone from playing acoustic shows in bars to playing the main stage at New York’s prestige venue Webster Hall – no small feat for a new band. The music industry has taken notice too, as Lily Sparks have won the East Coast Finals of the Emergenza Festival beating several hundred bands in the competition. After winning, the band performed at the Taubertal Music Festival in Germany where Niamh won Best Vocalist.
Hard to believe, Niamh grew up in Ireland singing traditional Irish songs. Classically trained in voice and piano, she went on to perform in choral groups and played lead roles in musical theater. These experiences no doubt trained her as frontwoman of Lily Sparks.
First track, “Stars” is catchy and bound to stick in the listener’s head long after the last chord is played. “Starlight on the open road and I may not ever come home/Now I don’t care just what they’re saying/’Cause I’m not about to change my ways/I’m living it up ‘til my dying day/Stars, guitars, muscle cars make me happy,” Niamh sings with fitting electric guitar accompaniment. A perfect way to start the album, Lily Sparks drags the listener in right away.
“Let Go” switches gears and is more of a rock ballad than the high intensity showcased on “Stars.” Niamh alternates from rocker scream to delicate croon. “Is there a place that I could show you/I could show you, you don’t know/There are things I wanna show you if you only would let go” she sings seductively.
Cooper Cobra ends with “The Girls,” a slower ballad and a New York anthem many can relate to, regardless of the city you’re from. It’s the end of the week and time to relax, grab a drink with friends, and catch up with the girls “on everything from hair to men.” Extremely descriptive, the listener gets a sense of the familiarity and love the singer has for New York City. With a bit of a twang in her vocals, Niamh professes the comfort and adoration of a musician’s life in the city that never sleeps. “Glad to be at the end of the week/Now I can spend some time with my city/New York City,” Niamh belts.
At just five songs, Cooper Cobra impresses. With so much to offer listeners, one can only expect big things from Lily Sparks in the future. Each track ranges between three to four minutes, never overextending its welcome. Throughout Cooper Cobra, Lily Sparks proves they have what it takes to successfully perform up-tempo, high energy tracks as well as softer, chilling ballads. As each track closes, the listener never quite knows what will be played next, but can be certain he won’t be disappointed. - Annie Reuter
Lily Sparks: Rock with Attitude
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What do you get when you cross Pat Benatar with Chrissie Hynde, add a bit of Linda Perry and a dash ...What do you get when you cross Pat Benatar with Chrissie Hynde, add a bit of Linda Perry and a dash of Lita Ford? You get Lily Sparks with a twist. Women of rock ‘n’ roll take heed. Lily Sparks has come out swinging with their album Cooper Cobra.
It begins with “Stars,” a fantastic song about stars, guitars and muscle cars. I t’s also about feeling fine and free, cruising down the road with some good tunes blasting and the wind in your hair. This is a killer track that simply rocks. Niamh’s vocals are spot on and she sounds extraordinary. The guitar screams, the drums and the bass are right in synch, and “Stars” sounds spectacular. There is an old school feel to this piece that makes me feel cooler just by listening to it.
“Let Go” starts a little slower and I totally dig the guitar riff. Niamh’s vocals are sultry and sexy and she sounds nothing less than perfect. I thought she sounded great while listening to the previous track, but I had no idea the sheer talent she had in those pipes of hers until I started listening to “Let Go.” Voices like that are few and far between. The whole song is seductive from Niamh’s voice to the rhythm of the drums and the bass to the guitar riff. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more seductive song. I would love to see this performed live. I could just imagine the looks on the faces of every male concert goer in attendance. They would be standing there gaped mouthed and drooling on themselves. That’s the power that this song has. That’s the power of Lily Sparks.
The next track, “Walk Away,” has a catchy groove and rhythm to it, and I am once more impressed with Niamh’s vocals. There is a bittersweet undertone to this piece, and beneath the pure unadulterated rock feel of it, there lies a quiet peaceful sort of pain that tugs at the heart. “Walk Away” gives me a sense of the softer side of Lily Sparks, especially while listening to the lyrics. At the end of this track, I am left remembering good times that have passed but have left me with warm memories.
“Where We Are Today” is definitely a softer tune and I’m glad to hear it. They slow it down a notch and I find myself really focusing on the instrumentation in this one. As usual, Niamh hits it and she sounds amazing, but this track allows me to see what the rest of the band is made of. The sound of this piece it truly phenomenal and each member of the band are in tune with the others, and I’m not just talking about being musically in tune. I get a sense that the members of Lily Sparks are in tune with each other mentally and emotionally as well. This is a great collaboration of talent and it could not possibly sound any better.
The final track, “The Girls,” has a slightly country vibe to it and this catches me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting a country flavor, but I welcome it. It only goes to show that Lily Sparks is diverse and can play several different styles of music, which is always a good thing for any band. “The Girls” is definitely the slowest track on the album and it’s more of a story than it is a song. The lyrics take me to other places in my mind and I am there; in New York City, on Bleecker Street, heading to O’Donnell’s to have a few rounds with the girls. There is excellent imagery in this piece. I feel warm and friendly towards a place that I have never been, and I feel even warmer towards this band that has made me feel a little bit of everything. I went from feeling cool and walking with a strut, to remembering old memories and feeling that old bittersweet pain, to feeling nostalgic for a place that I have never been. When a band can bring forth so many emotions that are so wholly unconnected, that’s when I know I’ve just heard something extraordinary. - Rhonda Readance
20's Up Interviews Lily Sparks 4/30/10
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I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Lily Sparks new EP Cooper Cobra. After their EP release, and i...I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Lily Sparks new EP Cooper Cobra. After their EP release, and in anticipation of their upcoming tour of the UK and Ireland, band members Niamh and Nikki 7 were good enough to sit down and talk with me about their hectic year so far, their upcoming plans and a bass player with criminal timing…
How did Lily Sparks come together as a band?
Nikki 7: KG* and I were already in a band called Minx, the lead singer had a family and decided to leave, so we started auditioning for a new lead singer. We auditioned a lot of people and Niamh was the very last one to audition.
Niamh: I arrived to the audition kind of on the fly, I wasn’t too familiar with their songs and I didn’t feel ready to go through with the audition.
Nikki 7: She didn’t feel ready to audition but we made her do it anyway, we needed to make a decision. So she auditioned with some of our songs, but she put her own twist on the material and brought something fresh and new to the table.
Where does the band’s name ‘Lily Sparks’ come from?
Nikki 7: Well, we wanted to come up with a new name rather than continuing on with Minx, because this is a new band with a new fresh sound.
Niamh: We wanted a name that was somewhat feminine, because the band is fronted by three women, but also a name that reflected that this is a rock band. So, we were all sitting round one day, just hanging out and getting to know one another when the drummer told us a story about his ex-girlfriend, Lily, who had set his kitchen on fire and so we ran with the idea and we became ‘Lily Sparks’.
You won the East coast Emergenza Battle of the Bands last year, tell us about that:
Nikki 7: We had been together a few months at that time and had only done a few shows together, so we entered to get more experience of working together and to get a set list down. That first night of the competition is definitely one of our favorite stories…
Niamh: The very first night of the competition, I was on my way to the club for our performance when I got a text message from our bass player to say that he was already at the club setting up. I had been nervous and felt a bit calmer that things were coming together. We got to the venue and the bass player was no where to be found. So we went ahead and did the sound checks but he still didn’t appear. At this stage, there was a packed house and we had to go on, but we still had no bass player. We found out right before we had to go onstage that he had been to the club earlier, then went outside and somehow managed to get himself arrested. We haven’t seen him since.
Nikki 7: So we had to go on stage without a bass player which was crazy, but it put us in the frame of mind to just go out there, give it our best shot and have fun. I think the last minute pressure gave us such energy that we gave a great performance, but we were still surprised when we came in first.
Niamh: So that really got the ball rolling. The final was made up of the top bands from Boston and Chicago and the top 12 bands from New York. Winning the competition was very much a surprise win for us, we didn’t walk onstage expecting to win, we just wanted to entertain the crowd and have fun and I think that came through and the judges saw that.
How did winning the Battle of the Bands change things for the band:
Niamh: We got to play the main stage at Webster Hall with its fantastic sound system to 1400 people which was an amazing experience and then we went on to perform in Germany representing the USA in the international competition.
Nikki 7: That was a great experience, because we got to meet so many bands from different places that we have stayed in touch with. Niamh also won best vocalist in Germany which was brilliant.
How does the songwriting process evolve?
Nikki 7: Niamh and KG* do a lot of the writing but it is really a collaborative thing, especially the newer material. At the beginning we were working with a lot of older material because we just wanted to get out there and get started, but with the newer material, we are working more as a group, which is great because we are all really invested in it.
Niamh: It is very collaborative process, KG* or Nikki may come up with a guitar riff or the drummer with a beat, or one of us will have a lyric and it just develops from there.
Nikki 7: It takes time, there are days when it flows great and it’s really productive and there are days when it is much harder, but it is good that it is a group effort.
Tell me about the EP ‘Cooper Cobra’, are you happy with how it turned out?
Niamh: We were working on the EP before the Battle of the Bands and so after we won, we found ourselves in a time crunch to get the EP recorded before going to Germany so we basically had 5 days to get it done. We recorded it in Brooklyn at Newkirk Studios with Ben Rice who did a great job. Overall we are happy with it, we keep evolving as a band so it feels a little old to us now, even though it’s new to the fans, so in our performances we have to work to keep it fresh and new.
Nikki 7: We are excited about the new material that we are working on but we understand that the EP is new to the fans and that if we don’t play “Stars” at every show we will have a riot on our hands!
What type of feedback have you been getting since the EP release?
Niamh: Since the release, we have had a lot more attention and publicity in terms of podcasts and interviews. The EP has been compared by some as a kickback to the ’80’s and compared with Heart, Pink and to some extent Evanesence. The guitar sounds really have a very classic rock feeling but the vocals provide a more modern twist.
What demographics seem make up your fan base:
Niamh: Demographically, it’s hard to pigeon hole our fan base into any one thing, it’s so diverse. We have had teenagers reach out to us as well as older classic rock fans. The fact that we are a female fronted rock group sets us apart to some extent in that it is a combination that is not overexposed in this era.
Nikki 7: At our shows, we often have girls come up to us at the end of a show, but men often hold back a bit. The songs all have different influences and a different vibe so it appeals to a broad range of people.
What’s next for the band short and long term:
Niamh: We have a very busy few months coming up. We have a tour in Ireland and the UK lined up for July, our new video will be coming out soon, we are hoping to do a live recording in New York as well several shows in May. We also have a Christmas song lined up for release in December and will be appearing as guests at the Emergenza competition this year. We are also hoping to have another recording out by the end of this year.
Lily Sparks upcoming shows are as follows:
May 2, 2010 – Sugarland, Brooklyn
May 20, 2010 – Crash Mansion, NY
June 11, 2010 – The Bitter End, NY
Get Rocked With Lily Sparks 01/07/10
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Rating: (5 stars) Reviewed by: Elfslut Summary: Cooper Cobra is a rocking EP that will turn all...Rating: (5 stars)
Reviewed by: Elfslut
Summary: Cooper Cobra is a rocking EP that will turn all of its listeners into Sparklers! Lily Sparks’ lead singer Niamh is a powerhouse, whose voice grabs hold of the listener's ears and doesn’t let go. The EP is 5 songs long and that’s not nearly enough of this awesome band!
Lily Sparks rocks hard and when I say hard, I mean hard in the vein of Lita Ford with maybe a hint of Siouxsie and the Banshees. This comes from having a lead singer with a huge voice. When you hear Niamh belt out a song like Walk Away, you probably won’t forget her and that’s a good thing. There are too many vocalists that just sound the same out there.
That’s why it’s so disappointing that Cooper Cobra is only 5 songs. From Stars to The Girls you are really drawn in. Niamh’s voice grabs on to you and you can’t stop listening, it doesn’t matter if she’s rocking out, like she does on the album’s opener, Stars or if she’s going bluesy, like she does on the New York City inspired The Girls, or taking the power pop route with Where Are We Today. Whatever she’s singing, you’ll feel compelled to listen and you’ll find yourself bopping along to the music. At times it’s hard to believe Niamh grew up in Ireland, because her singing is very American.
Lily Sparks creates music that makes you want to crank the volume all the way up and sing along. If you aren’t driving there will probably be some air guitar-ing going on as well. The music is very modern with a touch of 80s girl rock, particularly Walk Away, which will remind some listeners of fun rock made by Vixen only without the big hair. This kind of rock band is few and far between. This is a band that’s out there to make good music, not to cater to an image. This is a band of great musicians and an even greater singer. Hey, it’s not just me, Niamh’s won awards for her vocals. So don’t just take me word, give Cooper Cobra a listen.
The EP is a fun romp of good old-fashioned rock and roll, with nothing to mask the things that make it great. It’s got wailing guitars, it’s got a vocalist that you can’t stop listening too, but most importantly it’s got songs that really stick with you. It’s fun music, pure and simple. How can it not be fun with lyrics like “Stars, guitars and muscle cars, make me happy”? I know after hearing Stars I was happy. I was bouncing around the room and that lyric was stuck in my head. It’s still stuck in my head. Why? Because it’s a catchy lyric.
One of the best things about Cooper Cobra is its playability. You pop this CD into you player or on your iPod, or whatever and you want to listen to it often. It gets you moving. It makes you feel alive. You want to share its goodness with your friends. The only flaw is that Cooper Cobra is just an EP and 5 songs aren’t nearly enough when you get rocking with Lily Sparks. This is one band that you’ll want to hear more of, so let’s hope Cooper Cobra is the start of something big for this band, because I know that once you hear this EP you’ll be just like me, wanting more!
Sparks fly at Webster Hall 07/22/09
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July 22, 2009 The Irish all-girl rock threesome Lily Sparks will be winging their way from New York...July 22, 2009 The Irish all-girl rock threesome Lily Sparks will be winging their way from New York to Germany after winning the recent final of the Emergenza Festival at Webster Hall in Manhattan.
"We were totally taken by surprise but delighted at the opportunity to take our show on the road and play on an international stage. A huge thanks to all the people who came out to support," said Niamh Hyland from Leitrim, who fronts the group.
Lily Sparks came through the Webster Hall contest by beating 13 other bands. They were chosen as winners by a combination of audience reaction and a panel of judges.
The band, along with another group from Los Angeles, will now represent the United States next month at the Taubertal festival in Rothenburg, Germany, which takes place August 7-9.
"Bands from all four corners of the globe will be arriving to compete to win a choice between a six week paid recording session or a mini international tour," said Hyland.
This article was written in the issue of July 22-28, 2009
(c) 2009 Irish Echo Newspaper Corp.
Hoping sparks will fly at Webster Hall 07/08/09
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y Irish Echo Staff email@example.com July 8, 2009 Leitrim native Niamh Hyland fronts one of ...y Irish Echo Staff
July 8, 2009 Leitrim native Niamh Hyland fronts one of New York's newest and most promising female rock bands, Lily Sparks.
This Friday, Niamh is hoping that sparks will fly as the hard rocking threesome takes to the stage at Webster Hall to compete in the East Coast finals of the Emergenza Festival "battle of the bands."
Formed about a year ago, Lily Sparks has attracted a loyal following by playing in venues such as Fontana's, The Bitter End and Crash Mansion.
On Friday July 10, Lily Sparks will take the stage at Webster Hall to duke it out with other bands from New York, Boston and Chicago. At the end, one band will be left standing.
The ultimate goal is to compete against bands from all over the world who have won out in their respective countries and who will travel to Germany to play at the end of the summer to an anticipated 30,000 people.
"We need help to get there," said Hyland.
"Audience votes and enthusiasm is a huge part of the night so I hope people come on out and support us. It will be a blast," she said.
Webster Hall is at 125 East 11th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. The time for the contest is from between 8:15 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. Discounted tickets are available from any band member for $20 or the cost is <$25 at the door.
Lily Sparks have a website, www.lilysparks.com and the band's music can be checked out at www.myspace.com/lilysparksrock.
This story appeared in the issue of July 8-14, 2009
(c) 2009 Irish Echo Newspaper Corp.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.