The Major Labels
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The Major Labels

Band Pop Rock

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Nov
01
The Major Labels @ Lestat's

San Diego, California, USA

San Diego, California, USA

Oct
29
The Major Labels @ King King

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oct
28
The Major Labels @ Red Devil Lounge

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


The Major Labels are featured in the Top 15 "Songs You Need To Download Now" in the September '08 edition of SPIN Magazine. - SPIN Magazine


You can play Spot the Beatles throughout this one: in 37 minutes, the Major Labels (East Coast ex-pats Bleu, Mike Viola, and Ducky Carlisle) mimic horns with their voices, take a music-hall detour, reprise their own themesong, and toss winks at "Blackbird," "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)," and Abbey Road's B-side. But that's only the start of it. As their name implies, the Major Labels (or the "Major Labes," as they call themselves in song, dutifully fitting their shout-outs into rhyme and meter) plant their tongues in the cheek of pop miscellanea. Aquavia is full of songs about making music and loving it, about musical obsession and disillusionment, about girls singing in the shower and guys playing in Aerosmith cover bands. It's both the meta-power-pop album of the year and the most inspired record that Bleu and Viola have made in years. From the stuttering bash 'n' pop of "Jimmy Kenney" to the lightheaded ballad "Velveteen Queen," the trio weld goofball charm with homespun arena-rock warm-ups, summoning '70s-era McCartney and Cheap Trick. "Sometimes a song can change your life," they testify on "Don't Hear a Single," clearly indebted to what made them, but ready to return the favor.

The Boston Phoenix (CD Reviews)
August 4, 2008
- 4.0 Stars - By Zeth Lundy - - Zeth Lundy, The Boston Phoenix


The Major Labels are featured in the Top 15 "Songs You Need To Download Now" in the September '08 edition of SPIN Magazine. - SPIN Magazine


Usually supergroups are disappointments—but not these guys. The Major Labels are Boston powerpop favorites Bleu McAuley, Mike Viola and producer Ducky Carlisle. Their debut album, Aquavia, is a masterful culmination of the songwriters' addictively quirky, pop garage rock via '70s McCartney.

Aquavia melds grand pop ambition and a fun-in-the-studio vibe—with off-mic laughing, a song about a rejected song and even a tune about Carlisle's neighbor ("Jimmy Kenney," who Bleu says "jams the song every day").

"Most of the songs were written on-premise, together," says Bleu from the trio's new Los Angeles home. "Like the classic Elton John records, with Bernie Taupin writing the lyrics in the morning, Elton writing the music in the afternoon, recording in the early evening and by bedtime the song would be finished. There's something awesome about capturing the musical moment at its freshest and most exciting, which was our goal."

Keeping the ideas fresh seemed to be no problem. For one, the song "Hummingbird" was written and recorded outdoors. "We woke up and Ducky suggested we write a 'bird song,' so we sat outside and wrote it. Everything on it is real—the birds chirping at the appropriate moments, and even the bubbling water." The three had worked together previously on L.E.O., Bleu's astounding all-star homage to Jeff Lynne. "I have so much respect for both of those guys," Bleu says, "so it was easy to trust that everything would turn out well in the end."

The results are surprisingly cohesive—especially from two fiercely independent solo artists like Bleu and Viola, the former with a Queen / Jellyfish fixation and the latter with a thirst for all things Lennon / McCartney. "It was truly a total democracy between the three of us. The whole idea was to start a real 'band,' with veto power and complete equal collaboration.

"When I was a kid, I always imagined that was how records were made," he says, "with people just sitting in front of microphones and playing their hearts out. It's almost never exactly like that, but for this it was."

[Aquavia is available for free download (or a suggested $8 donation) at noisetrade.com. The band will be playing a return gig at the Lizard Lounge on 9.27.08. myspace.com/themajorlabels]

The Weekly Dig (Boston)
July 23, 2008
- The Major Labels - by Brian E. King - - Brian King, The Weekly Dig


The Major Labels bring us a dream-team of sorts pulling together three old friends and fans of AM 70s pop radio (consisting of Bleu, Ducky Carlisle, and Mike Viola) to make one fantastic album called Aquavia. Bleu, otherwise known as William James McCauley III has been releasing albums since the late 90s, and has collaborated with a varying list of contributors from members of Jellyfish, Chicago, Hanson, PuffyAmiYumi to Matt Mahaffey, which seem an odd little pop-list of collaborators but fits the backdrop perfectly for Bleu's work on The Major Labels debut. The Candy Butchers' Mike Viola--who has also been known to collaborate with locals Jim Boggia, and The Figgs (and of whom you may also already know from his title song for the movie, That Thing You Do! co-written with Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne) makes a perfect addition coming off of his most recent success co-writing with Dan Bern for the soundtrack to John C. Reilly's comedic spoof; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. And along with Ducky Carlisle; the group solidify their hooky, crunchy, and hopeful power-pop gems for an album of true greatness.

For the same reason that people covet The Beatles over The Rolling Stones, the statement remains the same--what both legendary acts have in common, is the ultimate timelessness of their own genre. Pop music, rock music, whatever you want to call it....made properly; if you're a music lover, it's ultimately what sonically makes your World go BOOM! "Sometimes a song can change your life, you never know." (Don't Hear A Single, by The Major Labels). The Major Labels have made one of those timeless albums that you immediately want to tell your friends about, but selfishly (because it's so DAMN good) want to keep to yourself, and then proclaim that they were robbed when the Year's Best Albums lists come out. We could easily point out that you need to hear this band simply on the basis that if you love: Nick Lowe, Big Star, The Beatles/McCartney, Straight Up-era Badfinger, Bowie, Harry Nilsson, E.L.O. (all three members are also a part of E.L.O. tribute group L.E.O.) and for goshes sake, those two well-tuned men in glasses; Elvis Costello, and Marshall Crenshaw--that it's going to be right up your alley. But we won't. We'll leave the rest in your hands. Just make sure that you don't miss them when they play Philadelphia for the first time as The Major Labels this coming September at The M Room.

Philly Girl About Town
August 28, 2008
-Posted by Carly Marcoux - - Carly Marcoux, Philly Girl About Town


Usually supergroups are disappointments—but not these guys. The Major Labels are Boston powerpop favorites Bleu McAuley, Mike Viola and producer Ducky Carlisle. Their debut album, Aquavia, is a masterful culmination of the songwriters' addictively quirky, pop garage rock via '70s McCartney.

Aquavia melds grand pop ambition and a fun-in-the-studio vibe—with off-mic laughing, a song about a rejected song and even a tune about Carlisle's neighbor ("Jimmy Kenney," who Bleu says "jams the song every day").

"Most of the songs were written on-premise, together," says Bleu from the trio's new Los Angeles home. "Like the classic Elton John records, with Bernie Taupin writing the lyrics in the morning, Elton writing the music in the afternoon, recording in the early evening and by bedtime the song would be finished. There's something awesome about capturing the musical moment at its freshest and most exciting, which was our goal."

Keeping the ideas fresh seemed to be no problem. For one, the song "Hummingbird" was written and recorded outdoors. "We woke up and Ducky suggested we write a 'bird song,' so we sat outside and wrote it. Everything on it is real—the birds chirping at the appropriate moments, and even the bubbling water." The three had worked together previously on L.E.O., Bleu's astounding all-star homage to Jeff Lynne. "I have so much respect for both of those guys," Bleu says, "so it was easy to trust that everything would turn out well in the end."

The results are surprisingly cohesive—especially from two fiercely independent solo artists like Bleu and Viola, the former with a Queen / Jellyfish fixation and the latter with a thirst for all things Lennon / McCartney. "It was truly a total democracy between the three of us. The whole idea was to start a real 'band,' with veto power and complete equal collaboration.

"When I was a kid, I always imagined that was how records were made," he says, "with people just sitting in front of microphones and playing their hearts out. It's almost never exactly like that, but for this it was."

[Aquavia is available for free download (or a suggested $8 donation) at noisetrade.com. The band will be playing a return gig at the Lizard Lounge on 9.27.08. myspace.com/themajorlabels]

The Weekly Dig (Boston)
July 23, 2008
- The Major Labels - by Brian E. King - - Brian King, The Weekly Dig


This is a big deal. Mike Viola, Bleu and Ducky Carlisle have just released a killer summer album under the name of "The Major Labels". I've listened to this three times and it is absolutely great! To my ears, lots of 60's pop mixed together with Queen/ELO/Wings style vocal choruses. Think a cranked up sequel to Bleu's LEO project (a fabulous effort if you haven't heard it). Anyone who has any interest in the music talked about on this blog should own this.

Here is the kicker. You can pay what you want to download a digital version of this. Follow the link below. Listen before you buy. I guess they get the money... so support these guys. What are you waiting for? Get this. You will not be sorry.
www.noisetrade.com

Pop Fair
July 12, 2008
Posted by Haper - - Pop Fair


You may have noticed on the left hand side of this blog, there is a widget dedicated to a group called "The Major Labels" and their new album, Aquavia. I urge everyone reading this to stop and click on the widget. This is a brand new album by Expert Popsmiths Bleu, Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle and it is exquisite. I've personally had it on a loop for 2 weeks straight. It's a very addictive confection. You can listen to some samples of the album, but I recommend you dive in head first and immerse yourself into the album, start to finish. Although I loathe the term normally, the album is Beatlesque. The album is also T-Rexy, Bowie-y, Lennon and Mccartney solo-y and, to my uncannily trained ears, Hudson Brothers-y.

The opening and closing songs ("The Major Labels Got It Made" and "TML4EVA") bookend the inner content with the first proper song within those bumpers being, "Don't Hear A Single"; a paean to the great pop records of the past. If you're past 35, you'll be able to fully appreciate the sentiment here. There is some incredible Lennon/McCartney-ism going on with 2 seemingly different songs welded together to form a whole.

The next song is simply the best 3 and a half minutes spent in 2008. "Velveteen Queen" can be called a number of things: Baroque, Glam, Psychedelic... they may all fit, but labels aside, it's simply pop brilliance. The guitars, vocals, lyrics all come together with the nudge of a higher power's hand.

"The Bitter Pill" shares a kinship with "Don't Hear A Single" in it's record store delving theme.

"Richard Randolph" is a curious song. It's about a harmless middle aged man child who wants nothing more than to play with the local children. The parents, however, won't stand for it. The vaudeville type melody belies a darker lyric about automatically deeming anyone with a love for children and remaining a child himself (the Peter Pan Syndrome) a pervert. A worthwhile, challenging song.

"Hummingbird" is Bleu's beautiful second cousin to McCartney's "Blackbird". Simple and lovely.

This is where side two on a vinyl record would be (and one is forthcoming, I've been assured!) and it is an Abbey Road type suite of sweeping themes and melodies. It kicks of with the assaulting driving rock of "Jimmy Kenney" and lands on the doorstep of "The Sweet", a fascinating pop piece with movements and themes that would've made Brian Wilson proud.

Then there's "An Ode To Something To Cry About"... This is an oddball one joke one off. Possibly the weakest cut on the album, but it's a funny joke piece that reminds me of Nilsson's "Ivy Covered Walls" off of his Sandman Album.

"Deja Vu (All Over Again)" is a short and sweet Merseybeat like tune that comes complete with Ringo Drums and 12 string Rick melody lines. It's just an appetizer for the album's namesake.

"Aquavia" is a devastating and haunting song that wouldn't be out of place on an early 70's Elton John album. The melody and chorus will stay with you for days.

After the "TML4EVA" closer, the cheeky bums had the nerve to round out the album with 6 minutes of noise.

Seriously, this is one wonderful album and one of the best albums I've heard all year. Download it for free, or better yet, throw 6 or 7 dollars their way. They more than deserve it.
www.noisetrade.com

The Shockedelic Cafe
July 12, 2008
Posted by Lord Shockedelic - - The Shockedelic Cafe


This is a big deal. Mike Viola, Bleu and Ducky Carlisle have just released a killer summer album under the name of "The Major Labels". I've listened to this three times and it is absolutely great! To my ears, lots of 60's pop mixed together with Queen/ELO/Wings style vocal choruses. Think a cranked up sequel to Bleu's LEO project (a fabulous effort if you haven't heard it). Anyone who has any interest in the music talked about on this blog should own this.

Here is the kicker. You can pay what you want to download a digital version of this. Follow the link below. Listen before you buy. I guess they get the money... so support these guys. What are you waiting for? Get this. You will not be sorry.
www.noisetrade.com

Pop Fair
July 12, 2008
Posted by Haper - - Pop Fair


Discography

Debut album "Aquavia" (completed 2008), currently shopping to labels, self promoting

Photos

Bio

Three cult pop heroes come together to make the record that they always wanted to hear. Mike Viola, of Boston's pop cult band The Candybutchers, Bleu most widely known for his 2003 critically acclaimed Columbia Records release "Redhead," plus Boston's cult producer Ducky Carlisle. The three have formed a powerpop trio that brings to life an authentic mix of 60's/70's am radio. McCartney, Nilsson, XTC, 10CC, to be sure, but The Major Labels don't sound like parody, they sound like piers.