Mind Equals Blown

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Murjani Rawls

Author, freelance writer, and photographer mj@mjrawls.com

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Skills: Photographer, Feature Writer, Editor
Specialisms: News, Music, Journalism, Film, Entertainment

Latest Articles

Incubus Continues To Put Their Longevity On Display With Live Show

There’s likely a song in Incubus’s long storied career that you can relate to on a personal level. Perhaps you used “Stellar” to mark how you felt about a significant other. Maybe you played “Drive” during that epiphany moment where one life choice brought you to a new horizon. The alternative rock, five-piece from Calabasas, Calif. has found a way to stick with their fans, no matter the age or the album cycle. You would think that a tour with Incubus and Jimmy Eat World would be a no-braine
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Love and Euphoria Reigns Supreme Within Kaskade's Spring Fling

Not to say that there is some synchronicity between good music and weather, but as the beginning of Kaskade‘s two-night Spring Fling began at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the relatively gloomy weather began to clear up. Before the show, there were many fans  showing their appreciation via social media, whether it be through homemade signs or tattoos with Kaskade. In this new musical spectrum that we live in where fans have more access to a musician than ever before, personality is key. Fans wan
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Linkin Park Sacrifices Signature Comfort For A More Uniform Sound With "One More Light"

All throughout the now 22-year history of Linkin Park, one thing has been certain. Fluidity through change. You can look back at their discography and point to specific instances. From the much beloved, rap-rock infused Hybrid Theory to the hard rock and angst The Hunting Party, the band have tried to retain some semblance of who they were while incorporating other types of popular music. In an interview on the Zach Sang show, lead singer/guitarist/pianist Mike Shinoda had mentioned that One
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Interview: Jeremy DePoyster of The Devil Wears Prada

For almost eleven years, Dayton, Ohio’s own The Devil Wears Prada has been powering along the metalcore scene and as time went on, progressed into a band who has broken out of that mold. Their 2016 release, Transit Blues takes in all that they have learned and is one of their most musically accomplished albums to date. MEB writer/photographer M.J. Rawls caught up with guitarist/vocalist Jeremy DePoyster for an interview about their latest album, Transit Blues, the history of the band, life on
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

'Rings' Finds Itself Left Behind Like the Technology It Was Created From

When the original 2002 American adaptation of The Ring was released, it was the head wind of many J-Horror releases (The Grudge, Shutter) long before it became a parody of itself. Director Gore Verbinski was able to create an atmosphere within the film that both felt refreshing and intriguing – the notion that there’s a killer video that would bring about certain death in seven days was not so far fetched in its style over an abundance of gore. Skip ahead to Rings, which is held 13 years lat
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Interview: Paul Jason Klein of LANY

Los Angeles, California three-piece LANY have made strides with their own flavor to the alternative rock scene. Starting off opening for acts such as Halsey and X Ambassadors, the band is making their on indent with their own ascetic, great songs, and a very dedicated and devoted fan base that is sure to grow when their first album is released this year. I caught up with lead singer Paul Jason Klein for an interview about the name of the band, their new album, and more. MEB: You guys kicked
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Trailer Talk: Thoughts On 'Rings' and the Second Full Trailer

It’s hard to believe that we are almost 15 years past the original American adaptation of The Ring directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl). The first movie did a really good job in fusing suspense with the folklore of the 1998 Japanese release, Ring – that used the visuals to enhance the creepiness instead of gratuitous violence or gore. After an lesser received sequel in 2005, The Ring Two was not well as well received and the franchise laid dorma
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Ghost @ Kings Theatre

Ghost is a sight to see. A Ghost concert is like an even more theatrical version of Alice Cooper or King Diamond. I recall seeing Ghost for the first time at Lollapalooza 2013 — although seeing them in an early day time slot may not have been the most ideal viewing experience. The Swedish band ended their Popestar Tour with a sold-out show at the Kings Theatre — one of the most elegant venues in all of New York. In retrospect, the antique look of the venue almost fits perfectly to the aesthe
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

'Fast & Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious' : First Impressions

2015’s Furious 7 would have made the perfect send off for The Fast and The Furious franchise. With Paul Walker‘s unfortunate demise, the end of the movie wrapped up that story arch nicely (queue up Wiz Khalifa‘s “See You Again”). Nope, there are THREE more movies announced. Now, in defense, these movies have been getting progressively better as they go on fully embracing the action and heist movie spectacle. What is left for Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the gang? The first full trailer w
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Icon For Hire @ Webster Hall

From the days of gracing the Warped Tour stages to their latest headlining tour, Icon For Hire has been through quite a journey fighting for themselves and the creativity that they stand for. You Can’t Kill Us, the third full length from the Decatur, Illinois duo sees the band back fully independent – YCKU itself in result of a Kickstarter campaign that lead to the album’s inception.The title itself A perfect match of reciprocation between the love of the fans and the band who is literally p
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Evanescence @ The Wellmont Theater

It’s been five years since Evanescence has released their last album and four years since the band has gone on tour. Since that time, lead singer/pianist Amy Lee has done music for the 2014 film, War Story and released her own EP of covers. Around November 2015, Evanescence performed in the Japan iteration of Ozzfest and some wondered if the band would return for new music – perhaps, this was another one off performance. Recently, there has been some signs of life in the Evanescence camp. Re
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Kanye West's Coldest Winter

It was 2013 at the Madison Square Garden date of the Yeezus Tour. I sat in my seat awaiting the spectacle that I heard about throughout the social medial channels of the shows before. Kanye West brings Jesus out? There’s a huge pyramid-like structure? There was a second where I thought I was watching West’s own interpretation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. You had the usual glitz and glamour, but there was one moment in particular that caught my attention. West began to sing the last song o
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

The King and Queen of Hearts Tour @ Madison Square Garden

For some people, music is a form of escapism, and for others, a rite of expression that can both repel the bad and enhance the good. Given the heavy-hearted election season, many needed that same medium to be an getaway — even if it was just for one night. Madison Square Garden was full of romantic couples, some maybe weeks into their union and some that had been together a long time before. This was the King and Queens of Hearts tour, co-headlined by R&B singers Maxwell and Mary J. Blige. B
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Marian Hill / Verite / Shaed @ Webster Hall

Sensual. Seductive. Old school flavor. These are some of the things that come to mind when you think of Marian Hill’s debut album, Act One. In many ways, New York was primed for a show like this. This show in particular was like one of those nights in a club where an interesting person catches your eye. Maybe it’s their eyes, perhaps the aura about them, or even in the way they move — you just want to know more about their story. SHAED, a threepiece from twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst a
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

The Devil Wears Prada / Memphis May Fire / Silverstein @ Webster Hall

It was 2010 at a little concert venue called the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. The venue was a bit cramped, a bit steamy, but just a right amount of space for a chaotic show The Devil Wears Prada embarked on the Back To Roots Tour, where they played songs from their 2006 debut album, Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord. I had gone to a few TDWP shows in the past, but something about this show exhibited that no matter how big the quintet from Dayton, Ohio got, there was always a semblance
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Let's Get The Vanguard Award Ready For Missy Elliott

Back in June 1997, the Hype Williams-directed video for Missy Elliott‘s first solo single, “I Can’t Stand the Rain” was released. The video showcased one of the most creative uses for a garbage bag that anyone had seen at that point. Elliott, within the middle part of video, sat in on top of a hill staring into space, and there were little digital quirks that would make her eyes and lips pop out. Of course, I was nowhere close to having a license at this point, but I could not count the many
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Blink 182 / A Day To Remember / All Time Low @ BB&T Pavilion

In some way, shape, or form, Blink 182 is embedded in the fabric of everybody’s punk rock experience. Whether it be watching MTV and seeing the “What’s My Age Again” video or 1997’s “Dammit” which is showcased in a plethora of movies and video games such as Can’t Hardly Wait or Guitar Hero: World Tour – there’s influence everywhere. Early 2015 saw a second exit from guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge with Alkaline Trio‘s only Matt Skiba taking over. The trio previously endured an indefinite hiatus i
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

"Simba" To "Love Yourz": J Cole's Story With His Words

“How the f*ck do I look/When I brag to you about some diamond?/Said all that I could say/Now I play with thoughts of retirement” – J Cole Say what? J Cole can’t be thinking of retirement now, could he? (I mean, we are still anticipating that Kendrick Lamar joint project) “Jermaine’s Interlude”, the track off of DJ Khaled‘s newest album, Major Key raised a few eyebrows with the last words of his verse. Could the North Carolina born rapper be thinking of putting the mic down for a while? The w
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Slipknot & Marilyn Manson @ BB&T Pavilion

If there were any pillars that were still present in the powerful medium that is metal music, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson would be two acts that you point to. Many would think that this tour would be a no-brainer given both bands’ history to revel in the counterculture of what rock music was interpreted to be. Since his start as Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids back in 1990, Manson has dared to push the boundaries of the imaginations of musical and religious mores. Slipknot, a nine-men freneti
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Brand New & Modest Mouse @ Madison Square Garden

At first glance, it’s no coincidence that bands like Brand New and Modest Mouse could sell out Madison Square Garden. Although the bands are a little different within their own musical perspective, they have equally devoted fan bases. Both bands are in the grey area of their genres. They are not too mainstream, but well-known enough to make their imprints. The crowd which was a mix of 20 and 30-year-old fans who either glued themselves to the front of the barricade or calmly watched their show f
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Vans Warped Tour Camden Makes It's Case To Be Great Again

Vans Warped Tour needed a bounce back year. The 2015 installment saw much controversy attached to it that took away from the music and essence itself. With that, it also brought awareness and calls for better treatment of women in the scene. It was time to get back to the music and glee. For many, this is the high point of the summer for those looking to get into their first huge music festival. Given some of the missteps that happened, “the scene” was proclaimed dead and in order for Warped Tou
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

'Heathens' - Twenty One Pilots' Address to the Skeleton Clique

Take a full listen of Twenty One Pilots‘ 2015 album, Blurryface and you get a sense of camaraderie through struggle and seeking identity. In the videos for both “Car Radio” and “Lane Boy”, there are two scenes towards the end of each where fans go in a silent like trance – then when the bottom of the song drops out, carry on into a frenzy. Ski masks were almost symbolism into turning into a musical superhero-like character. I got to see part of the start first hand at the 7th annual Radio 104.5
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Crown of Asbury Park: Shadow of The City 2016

The 2016 festival season is in full swing – one can almost liken it to a sports season. Each lineup and setting are just grabbing for your attention and hard-earned dollars. This past weekend saw the return of Jack Antonoff‘s personally curated festival, Shadow of The City. Antonoff, who was born in Bergenfield, New Jersey, did not want his home state to get left out of the festival mix. A successful inaugural 2015 year warranted the return for something that the Garden State can call its own. O
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Make Music Safe Again

Paris, France at the Batclan theatre. New York, New York at Irving Plaza. Once again, we have to wake up while wiping the haze out of our eyes and add an unfortunate tragedy to within our musical community. Singer Christina Grimmie, who was an alum of the NBC show, The Voice, was shot and killed last night as she signed autographs for fans after her set opening for the band Before You Exit at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida. She was only 22 years of age. It’s heartbreaking to refer and descri
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Vic Mensa: There's A Lot Going On

There’s been a notable absence in regards to Vic Mensa and his last release, 2013’s Innanetape. The mixtape was met with wide acclaim and showed the dichotomy of Mensa’s harsher lyrics in relation to his Chicago upbringing and crossover appeal. Time has proven that if you create strong material, even if you do take a brief absence, you will always have some semblance with your core base. Fans have been anticipating a full album release from Mensa for a couple of years, aside from a guest spot on
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Interview: Miesa

MEB writer/photographer M.J. Rawls recently caught up with r&b/pop singer Miesa who Tidal has called one of “tomorrow’s biggest names.” They briefly discuss her musical upbringing, her singles, “Blame My Ex” and “Too Bad For You”, and her forthcoming first album MEB: You come from a background with a vast musical melting pot. You’ve mentioned when you were younger that you were in pageants, casting calls and talent shows. Has being in those situations at a young age conditioned you to face the
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown

Lights Lolo @ Webster Hall

“If you would have told me this was going to happen, I would have thrown my f*cking headband at you.” Lights said to a sold out crowd in the Marlin Room at Webster Hall. The recently released acoustic album, Midnight Machines is not the first venture into the rework of songs of previously released Lights material. There were the Acoustic and Siberia EPs, both released in 2010 and 2013, respectively. It’s something when another artist can remix your songs, but it’s another feat when you can re
By Murjani Rawls
Mind Equals Blown