July is a busy month for NEEDTOBREATHE. Between releasing their 6th studio album, H A R D L O V E, and bringing their talents to the MLB All-Star Weekend Concert Series stage tomorrow, the South Carolina rock group has their bases fully loaded.

The Grammy-nominated group will be in good company this weekend, as they open for alternative rock group OneRepublic. In anticipation of the 87th MLB All-Star Game in San Diego, the league has stacked a lineup of free concerts that’ll please fans across the lines of genre.

Having last spoke with the band in March about their Annual Golf Charity Tournament, ESPN Music was able to catch up with NEEDTOBREATHE's lead singer, Bear Rinehart, about the All-Star Game and the band’s love of America’s favorite pastime.

According to Rinehart, playing at the MLB All-Star Concert resonates on a personal level. He says he and his brother, NEEDTOBREATHE guitarist, Bo Rinehart, grew up with diamond-shaped hearts.

“All of us played and are pretty huge fans. And when I say played, I mean we grew up with pitching machines in our backyards and spent every waking moment learning to hit the curve from each side of the plate,” Rinehart said.

The All-Star roster brings together the brightest and boldest stars in the MLB. While Rinehart’s a Braves fan, it’s not a Atlanta player that he’s the most excited to see. It’s a Boston one.

“Big Papi has to be the story this year for me, but how can you not want to see Trout and Harper go at it?” he said.

While Rinehart knows the Braves is in a transitional period, that doesn’t mean that he’s not keeping the faith. He’ll get a chance to watch Atlanta pitcher Julio Teheran play for the National League team next Tuesday.

“I know we're in a rebuilding year, but I think I've watched at least 80% of the games. It's fun for me to watch the young guys come up and get a chance. I can't wait to see what we can do in the next few years,” Rinehart said.

The band heads back on their headlining tour, Tour de Compadres, this August. The tour starts with a massive homecoming concert in their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. On the track “Great Night,” the song features an appearance by Charleston-based folk group Shovels & Rope.

Keep up with the newest from the band on Twitter and make sure to check out H A R D L O V E, coming out next Friday, July 15th.

The MLB All-Star game is on July 12th. Make sure to tune into ESPN after the game to catch all the best highlights.

July Music on First Take

July, 1, 2016
Jul 1
10:30
AM ET

We're bringing you fresh new music to the First Take set all month long!

Chill Moody: "I Came To Win" (iTunes | SoundCloud)

Jerreau: "The Flow (Four Stories)" feat. Kaine off his latest album Never How You Plan (iTunes | Amazon)

Paper Route: Their single, "Laugh About It" (iTunes | Amazon)

Ricco Barrino: His latest single, "Remember My Name" (iTunes | Spotify)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

July Music of the Month

July, 1, 2016
Jul 1
8:00
AM ET

SportsCenter's Sarina Morales has all your Music of the Month on her very own Spotify playlist!

Sak Noel & Salvi: "Trumpets" feat. Sean Paul (iTunes | Amazon)

Tropkillaz: "Stop!" feat. Buku (iTunes | Amazon)

Blink 182: "Kings of The Weekend" & "The Only Thing That Matters" off their new album California (iTunes | Amazon)

Snoop Dogg: "Legend" & "Fireworks" feat. Swizz Beatz off his new album COOLAID (iTunes | Amazon)

Logic: His new singles "Flexicution" & "Deeper Than Money" (iTunes | Amazon)

Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Feasting On The Flowers" off their new album The Getaway (iTunes | Amazon)

I See Stars: "Two Hearted" & "All In" off their new album Treehouse (iTunes | Amazon)

Grenade Fontaine: "Encore" (SoundCloud | Instagram)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

Set It Off front man, Cody Carson, has come a long way since his early YouTube days. Covering All Time Low songs in his college dorm room, he had no idea that seven years later his band would be sharing a tour ticket with them.

Perseverance has been a through line for the Tampa-based pop-punk band. Set It Off’s new single, “Uncontainable”, carries on that theme. In the music video for the latest single, seen above, Carson literally puts on the gloves as he steps into the role of rookie boxer struggling in an underground league.

If the song feels like a pre-game locker room anthem, that’s no accident.

“We knew going into this that this has a sports sound to it,” Carson said. “We want people to hear this song and get just amped up and just lose their minds and feel like they can take over the world.”

Inspired by the Rocky franchise, the band wanted to combine the classic rise-of-the-rookie narrative with the grime and underground haze of Fight Club.

During the filming of the video, Carson was living his own Rocky story: Going from pop-punk vocalist to fight stuntman.

“I had never done stunts before, fighting scenes or anything like that,” he said. “Closest I got to that was wrestling with my friends on a trampoline in high school.”

He had no idea he’d be throwing punches at a stunt double who played “The Cousins” in Breaking Bad.

With only a one day shooting schedule, there was not much room for error.

“I got really excited and very nervous at the same time,” he said. “I’m like this guy knows what he’s doing; I’m just a singer in my band.”

Set It Off is slated to head back on the Warped Tour trail this summer where fans can look forward to hearing new songs off of the band’s next album. Although there’s no official release date yet, Carson is ecstatic about the new album and feels that the writing process was their most relaxed and impressive effort yet.

“We’re really confident in this record. I fully believe it’s way better than anything we’ve ever done.”

If their new single is any indication, then we feel pretty confident about it too.

Keep up to date with all things Set It Off on their Facebook and Twitter.

Jon Weiner

2016 Sports and Music Festivals

June, 4, 2016
Jun 4
3:48
PM ET

If you're loving the 2016 X Games, be sure to check out these other Sports and Music festivals happening this summer:

SportBeat Festival

Center of Gravity Festival

Ontario Beach Sports & Music Festival

 

June Music of the Month on ESPN

June, 1, 2016
Jun 1
4:29
PM ET

It's officially Summer and we've got the playlist for you! Check out our June artists of the month:

Deorro: "Bailar" feat. Elvis Crespo (iTunes | Amazon)

Leslie Grace: "Aire" feat. Maluma (iTunes | Amazon)

Meghan Trainor: "Watch Me Do" & "I Love Me" feat. LunchMoney Lewis off her latest album Thank You (Deluxe) (iTunes | Amazon)

Moosh & Twist: The duo's new singles "Woah" & "The One" (iTunes | Amazon)

The Temper Trap: "Alive" & "On The Run" off their upcoming album Thick as Thieves (iTunes | Amazon)

Ziggy Marley: "Start It Up" & "We Are More" off his new album Ziggy Marley (iTunes)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

June Music on First Take

June, 1, 2016
Jun 1
10:38
AM ET

Check out what Stephen A. Smith is rocking out to all month long on First Take:

Animal Island: "Our Style" off their new EP, Animal Island (iTunes | Amazon)

COIN: Their newest single, "Talk Too Much" (iTunes | Amazon)

Lil' Niqo: His latest single, "The Truth" (iTunes | Amazon)

Mario: His latest single, "I Need More" (iTunes)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

Tomorrow, 3OH!3 releases their fifth studio album, Night Sports.

From recording in their Boulder home studios, to stripping the influence of more commercial-leaning producers, the electro-pop duo is getting back to their roots.

Night Sports isn’t as much of a departure as it is a return.

ESPN Music chatted with one of the two 3OH!3 frontmen, Nat Motte, about the new album and his love for Colorado sports.

“I think we really overtly just wanted to get back to basics on this record and that translates to us as getting together and having a good time and trying to put everything else out the door in terms of influence,” he said. “On this we’re pretty autonomous in terms of doing it all ourselves.”

The band’s mission statement for the album is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s under-thought.

“Just to make music that’s energetic, that’s fun, that’s hopefully catchy and has a little bit of a hard edge,” he said. “We try to take that ethos into everything we do, whether it’s our music videos or our live shows and everything in between."

That doesn’t sound too different than the selling point of the band that pumped out summer ballads such as “Don’t Trust Me,” “My First Kiss” and “Starstrukk.”

Night Sports maintains that same energy.

But what is missing from the album are the commercial pop features that introduced the group to the likes of Katy Perry and Ke$ha fans.

What they’ve stripped out, in terms of commercial features and pop moments, they’ve replenished with what Motte calls “self-imposed” influences.

Motte has his own theory for the lack of collaborations on the album:

“I think more so just because no one wants to come to a creepy basement in Colorado, which is where we both started making music,” he said.

The two are staying close to home and they’re fine with that.

“Sean and I have the shortest morning commutes in the world. We just kind of go to our home studios and start working, so it’s nice to be able to do it like that.”

The same goes for their favorite sports teams. The Boulder-based group has enjoyed their fair share of the Colorado sports franchises’ success, having performed at the Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory parade this past February.

“We’ve been lucky enough to see three Super Bowls in our years and it was awesome to be involved in the celebration,” he said. “I can’t take much credit for the actual Super Bowl victory, but I’d like to.”

With a towering stature of six foot eight, it’s easy to assume Motte has seen some game time himself.

“The question I get asked pretty much every day is, number one, “how tall are you?” and the subsequent question is “do you play basketball?” he said.

While he never made it to college hoops, Motte can still dream.

“There’s still time. I have 4 years of eligibility to play for the University of Colorado and I think as a 32 year old man, you can’t give up on your dream,” he said.

This summer, 3OH!3 heads back out onto the Warped Tour trail.

With thousands of attendees, unpredictable weather and a ceaseless touring schedule, the Warped Tour is a sport of its own.

“You know, to be honest it’s pretty right in the sports world because you're doing a thirty to forty minute set, you know, sometimes in a hundred, a hundred and ten degree temperatures.”

But that won’t keep them from playing it.

“We’ll always keep coming back,” he said. “It kind of breaks that wall down between music and musician. That’s something that’s been really dear to us in our careers and music.”

For the latest on 3OH!3, follow them on Twitter and be sure to check out Night Sports available for download tomorrow!

Jimmy Fontaine

May Music of the Month 2016

May, 6, 2016
May 6
1:40
PM ET

April showers bring May PLAYOFFS! That's how the saying goes, right? Check out the music you'll be hearing all month long on ESPN »

AXWELL^INGROSSO: "Dream Bigger" (iTunes | Spotify)

Obie Bermúdez: "Vida De Colores" & "Porque Te Quiero" off his new album #Cambios (iTunes | Amazon)

A$AP Ferg: "Strive" feat. Missy Elliott & "New Level" feat. Future off his latest album Always Strive and Prosper (iTunes | ESPN Music Exclusive Interview)

TINI: "Born to Shine" off her self-titled album TINI(Martina Stoessel) (iTunes | Amazon)

The Young Wild: "Moment Goes" & "Ain't Got Nothing On Me" off their new EP All The Luck (iTunes | Spotify)

Kygo: "Carry Me" feat. Julia Michaels off his upcoming album Cloud Nine available now for pre-order! (iTunes | Amazon)

Sofia Carson: Her new single "Love Is The Name" feat. J Balvin off his upcoming album Cloud Nine (Spotify | Facebook)

Andy Black: "Stay Alive" feat. Matt Skiba off his new album The Shadow Side (iTunes | Amazon)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

Simple Plan Takes One for The Team

May, 4, 2016
May 4
9:55
AM ET

Simple Plan has long held a spotlight in the pop-punk world. Now they’re finding one in the sports world as well. From performing at the 2010 closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics to turning “O Canada” into a punk ballad at this year’s NHL Winter Classic, they’re getting some love in the sports world.

Atlantic Records

With their latest release, Taking One For the Team, the French Canadian pop-punk outfit is showing that love right back.

ESPN Music checked in with the Simple Plan frontman, Pierre Bouvier, to talk about the role sports played in their latest release and how their new album is a slight departure from their signature sound.

Released this past February, Taking One For the Team features artwork of the five members popping champagne in a locker room in a post-game celebration.

ESPN Music asked him about the driving force behind the sports themed album art.
“We wanted to illustrate the fact that being in a band is like being part of a team,” Bouvier said. “You gotta do a lot of things for the greater good if you want to succeed for more than a hot minute. You can't go around being selfish thinking only of yourself and turning into an egocentric rockstar. That pretty much guarantees a break-up.”

If you’re a March Madness maniac, then you probably heard Simple Plan’s single “Boom!” all over College Basketball programming this year. The excitement of hearing his band’s music on television isn’t lost on Bouvier.

“One of my friends heard it, recorded it and sent it to me when it first aired. I was so excited. I couldn't believe it,” he said. “I don't think I could ever get jaded enough to not be excited when I hear my songs on TV or the radio. I always crank it up and sing along.”

With surprising guest features taken from the reggae and hip hop world, and a vocal appearance from New Found Glory frontman, Jordan Pundik, Taking One For the Team strikes a balance between a departure towards a more pop sound and the quintessential pop-punk pleaser.

“Taking One For The Team is probably our heaviest record to date,” Bouvier said. “There are a few curve balls on the record that venture into the pop world, but overall, this record is super high energy and packs serious punch.”

Among those curve balls, is the new reggae pop-esque single “Singing in the Rain,” and country-inspired “I Don’t Wanna Go to Bed,” which features rap giant Nelly.

Bouvier explained how the band got the St. Louis rapper to sign on:

“We tossed around the idea of having a track featuring Nelly, never really thinking he would be interested, but he said ‘Yes!’" Bouvier said. “Nelly is such a character with a larger than life personality. We had a blast meeting and collaborating with him. He's a really nice guy and he really worked hard at making his part great. He didn't just phone it in. He is the real deal. He wanted to make sure that we loved it and he really crushed it.”

As for Bouvier’s favorite sports teams? The Canadian native doesn’t move too far from home plate.

“I'm from Montreal so I think legally, I have to say the Montreal Canadians hockey team,” he said. “It's such a huge part of the culture. Everyone watches hockey there and the crowd at the games is so intense.”

But a little relocation, Bouvier says, can change that.

“I live in San Diego now, so I gotta support the Chargers and the Padres. I'm embracing my new home teams,” he said.

With Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, following him on Twitter, he just might want to keep that sentiment quiet for now.

To check out behind the scene's clips from the band’s latest photo shoot, click here. To keep up with all things Simple Plan, follow the band on Twitter.

Exclusive Video Debut: "3 Seconds To Go" - Wildways

April, 13, 2016
Apr 13
5:55
PM ET

Just in time for the start of the MLB regular season, ESPN Music is happy to premiere the music video for Wildways newest single, “3 Seconds to Go.” Donning their own signature pinstripe jerseys, the Russian hardcore outfit showcases their love of baseball and good breakdown.

ESPN Music caught up with the lead singer of Wildways, Toli, to talk about the band’s early infatuation with the iconic American sport.

"In Russia we always watched American baseball and dreamed about playing for a team like the Yankees or Dodgers,” he said. “Now we all play in a band which feels like a team.”

In their single, Wildways aimed to capture the excitement of the final moments of a baseball game.

“In ‘3 Seconds To Go’ we decided to write a song about the last 3 seconds of a baseball game. Bases loaded, 9th inning, 2 strikes and the last pitch is being thrown,” Toli told ESPN Music. “While those 3 seconds feel like an eternity, it comes out to only 3 seconds that could either make or break your team. That is why we love baseball, and are excited to write a song about that moment."

No stranger to the American hardcore scene, Wildways has toured with music giants like Asking Alexandria and Blessthefall, among esteemed others.

Wildways latest release, Into the Wild, is available in stores and on streaming services now.

To keep up with the latest from the band, follow them on Twitter here.

First Take Music Throughout April

April, 9, 2016
Apr 9
1:00
PM ET

You'll be hearing these artists all month long on First Take!

Towkio: "Free Your Mind" (Twitter)

YACHT: "Don't Be Rude" off their latest album I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler (iTunes | Amazon)

Sogni G: His single "Show Time" (iTunes | Amazon)

Shy Carter: "Bring It Back" feat. Aleon Craft (iTunes | Amazon)

Follow @ESPNMusic on Twitter for the latest!

April Music on ESPN!

April, 9, 2016
Apr 9
12:29
PM ET

March Madness has come and gone but we've got amazing new music for you throughout the whole month of April! Check it out:

Anderson .Paak: "Celebrate" & "Put Me Thru" off his latest album Malibu (iTunes | Amazon)

Graham Candy: "Kings and Queens" & "Back Into It" off his upcoming album Plan A available for pre-order! (iTunes | Amazon)

Santana: "All Aboard" & "Come As You Are" off their upcoming album Santana IV (Billboard | Twitter)

White Denim: "Had 2 Know (Personal)" & "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)" off their new album Stiff (iTunes | Amazon)

Juan Magan: His newest single "Baila Conmigo" feat. Luciana (iTunes | Amazon)

Alx Veliz: His upcoming single "Ese Hombre Soy Yo" (Twitter)

Video Premiere: Morgan Dorr's "4x4ever"

April, 5, 2016
Apr 5
11:55
AM ET

ESPN Music has teamed with Morgan Dorr to premiere the full-length lyric video for "4x4ever". Song sound familiar? Well, if you were one of the millions who tuned into Super Bowl 50, you likely heard the song in Jeep's latest ad!

Morgan Dorr, lead singer of Best of Friends, told ESPN Music all about his new solo project saying, "4x4 is a way to live life. Brave into the unknown. Working on this song intimately with Jeep and Brian Monaco at Sony/ATV was a process I'll never forget. They really care deeply about what they're doing, and to have all hands on deck made it magical."

"4x4ever" made headlines when Shazam announced it was the most Shazamed song from this year's Super Bowl. "I still can't believe the warm response to this song. So happy Jeep used it in the Super Bowl Commercial. It was really exciting to watch the game surrounded by my family and friends." Dorr continued, "Waiting for the commercial to air knowing millions of people will hear the song was the most surreal moment of my life. My manager sent me a screen shot, so did my mom, everyone was so proud. The Super Bowl is the holy grail for a musician, so I was blown away."

Morgan Dorr is an avid sports fan with a love for all things Red Sox, Patriots and the '85 Bears. "When I think about sports growing up, I think of a hot summer night watching the Red Sox with my Dad, window open and the warm breeze coming in. My Dad loves the Sox and in Boston being a Sox fan is a part of life. If you're lucky enough, you get to watch games at Fenway Park. I can smell the mustard just thinking about it. When the summer ends and it starts getting colder you know football is right around the corner and that means the Pats."

For the latest info on Morgan Dorr be sure to follow him on Twitter!

NEEDTOBREATHE

We all know them as the Grammy-nominated, rock 'n' roll band, BUT did you know, NEEDTOBREATHE are avid golfers also? Well on Monday, March 21st, Atlantic recording group, NEEDTOBREATHE, will host the fourth annual NEEDTOBREATHE Classic which raises money to benefit the Palmetto Medical Initiative (PMI). ESPN Music had a chance to catch up with NEEDTOBREATHE frontman, Bear Rinehart, who gave us the lowdown on the star-studded golf outing.

While all the band members play golf to a varying degree, Bear Rinehart gave credit where credit was due, naming bass player Seth Bolt as the best of the four. Rinehart telling ESPN Music, “Seth played in high school, so he definitely knows what he’s doing. He can be beat though, but not often.” Alongside the rocker foursome, this year's roster includes NBA legend Rick Barry, PGA player Russell Henley, NFL star receiver Adam Humphries, multi-platinum rock band Switchfoot, singer-songwriter Mat Kearney, and alt-rock group American Authors, just to name a few.

The golf portion of the day is all fun and games but more importantly, the NEEDTOBREATHE Classic brings together the world of music and sports for a truly special charity that is near and dear to the band’s hearts. “The Palmetto Medical Initiative is important to me, because I've seen how effective they are at meeting the need for medical care in a sustainable way.” Rinehart continues, “We've actually been to Africa with them on numerous trips, and seen how it works first hand.” In 2015 alone, the band raised over $250,000 for PMI and was able to fund the organization’s first clinic in Nicaragua in its’ entirety.

With plans to continue hosting the NEEDTOBREATHE Classic for years to come, Rinehart described the event as “one of the best parts of the year for us.” With so many incredible moments year to year, there’s one in particular that really stood out for the singer/guitarist: “During the live auction at the first tournament, we raised around $60,000 and that blew us all away. It's much more professional now, but we had stayed up the night before to make up the items.” Rinehart went on to say, “We weren't expecting the response to be so great. I also love having the professional athletes here. I'm definitely one of the musicians that wants to be an athlete.”

Lucky for us, Rinehart has no plans to become a professional athlete anytime soon. NEEDTOBREATHE is hard at work recording their sixth studio album which is expected to be released late 2016. “Can't say much about it yet, but we can't wait to get out there and play it for people!,” said Rinehart.

Now, it wouldn’t be a NEEDTOBREATHE Golf tournament without some music, right?! Rinehart tells ESPN Music, “There’s a concert the night of the tournament that we’ll have a lot of fun with. It's an intimate setting, and a lot of our friends in the music world come down to play and support.”

The NEEDTOBREATHE Classic takes place at the Daniel Island Country Club in South Carolina. For those of you who can’t make it to the tournament and still want to help support NEEDTOBREATHE in their mission to raise money to benefit PMI, please visit www.commonwealthcares.org.

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