4.30.2007

Promoting Independent Music

Promoting Independent Music / Ten Suggestions

When I started this Blog in June of last year my intentions were to feature and write about music that “I Can’t Get Enough Of”. My original concept has not changed. What has occurred is my music palette has expanded. I continue to be passionate about the music I’ve written about. Fickle is not part of my vocabulary.

My quest to understand how the independent music market is promoted via the Internet continues. My goal has been to learn about how it is utilized to promote great music.

I listen to mostly independents and their situation is unique. A band can have good work ethic and talent, but that does not mean people will respond to their music or find them. As a serious career choice a bands survival depends on people listening, going to shows, buying CD's, purchasing merchandise and then spreading the music around in as many ways possible.

Suggestions for bands and singer/songwriters to think about:

1. Creating a band name that can be easily found on the Internet. If you have already established a non-researchable name, explore alternatives to help people find you. Be creative.


2. Support the Bloggers,
Podcasters, Vloggers and On-line Communities that you respect by linking them to your site. They are and will be an important part of your future.

3. Align yourself with the artistic community: illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, filmmakers, video artists and writers. Everybody needs an opportunity to start somewhere. You are all at the beginnings of your careers, so exposure for all is good. The art of bartering and sharing benefits everybody.

4. Create your own culture. Working outside the mainstream can develop into something that benefits many and broadens opportunities.


5. Thank people that help you along the way. This should not be awkward. The relationships you foster will be there for you in the future. As you develop so do they. Don’t make the assumption that they are not important or not necessary, fans included.


6. Arrange that someone video tape your shows and take pictures that you can share. This
naturally occurs for many bands, but for newcomers just getting to the venue and booking shows is hard enough. This detail is important. It is self-promotion but can be done without appearing self-congratulatory.

7. Create your own band philosophy will help you focus and be the focal point of how you want to present yourself.


8. Elicit fans and friends to work for free. They will make buttons, fan sites, websites, silkscreen tee shirts, put out flyers, sponsor shows, write copy, design promotional material, and do a creative video. Make sure the people you work with share your sensibilities and philosophy.


9. Collaborate with other musicians. This will broaden your world and audience.


10. It never hurts to ask
.

Comment and Add your own suggestions to the list.

The Problem With Music Steve Albini

4.28.2007

Ramona Cordova "The Boy Who Floated Freely" review

Ramóna Córdova
"The Boy Who Floated Freely"

After following Ramón Córdova’s music virtual style for most of this year, I was thrilled to purchase the CD "The Boy Who Floated Freely". I had a few brief conversations via myspace, watched his touring on youtube and enjoyed his escapades with The Big Purple Van Club. Ramón has been playing in Europe for most of the year, had a brief US winter tour and is currently in Asia. He gets around.

This CD took my breath away. I was deeply moved. Each glorious low fi track is rich with sincerity and tenderness. Ramón's soft tenor reaches high androgynous octaves. Playing skillfully a nylon string guitar in most of the recordings, he weaves clapping, walking feet, tambourine, organ, cello, accordion and birds chirping. All of these elements create a charming, quirky and imaginative component.

The CD presents a lyrical narrative that portrays life’s hardships, disappointments and joy. Revealing a philosophical openness to life that welcomes happiness despite recollecting the residual affect of pain.

Every song has a lead-in that invites the listener to linger. The melodious journey unfolds beginning with a chirping bird on the first introductory track. The Song “The Givers Reply” proceeds with an organ and two verses. Suddenly the unexpected sound of an antique twister noisemaker leads the rinky-dink orchestra of pots and pans to create a joyous ruckus. / I will shout out to the sky / and I'll sing along my little songs / to help me move the day along /

“Heavy On My Head” is a confessional song with poignant words / what I couldn’t ask with my mouth / and sadly / I was raised with hands / I pushed through some pad lock doors / the lyrics and delivery are penetrating.

The saddest most revealing song is “Brother” where he forgives his brother who shares the painful memory of their father’s neglect and abandonment. His brother chooses a different path that creates distance between them / you decided to fight like our father/ you decided to leave like our father. But he tells his brother of his regrets that / Underneath the lies I breathe / I know I mean the most lovely thing /.

Ramon expresses the beauty of the sunlight on the trees, a simple walk with a friend, paper airplanes and love. He gently paints a magical picture of a music landscape of unexpected animated sounds that capture the imagination and move the heart.

ECA (US) Clapping Music (FR) Sleeping Star (IT)
Buy: The Boy Who Floated Freely
"The Givers Reply" Video premiered on MTV Europe
Spectacular Cover Art: John Heron

4.21.2007

Langhorne Slim Unplugged at The Rock Star Bar

Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles at the Rock Star Bar

Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles tear it up unplugged at the Rock Star Bar. After performing “I Love To Dance” the technical sound difficulties ensued. Langhorne Slim, Malachi Delorenzo and Paul Defiglia made a decision to unplug the defunct PA system and go ahead with the show. And so they did…

The supportive crowd quickly took their places on the stage platform and closely packed the surrounding areas. Being in such close proximity to the band, the crowd assumed responsibilities of a support cast of veteran “War Eagles”.

Together they did a fifteen song set of old and new material including encores that didn’t take much prompting. On the song “Checking Out” the audience weighed in with / I’m going home, I’m coming home / that’s where I’m going / building momentum. During “Restless” the crowd/ band did their best. Langhorne as band leader reprimanded us like a loving parent. Smiling he said, “You got to learn the song”

Crammed together, and in it together, Mr. Slim still found space for his convoluted antics. He strutted with his guitar in the confined space, made priceless facial expressions and sang on a drum set to maximize his voice level. Malachi subdued his usual drumming intensity and picked it up only for effect. Paul lent support on bass playing some fine solo interludes. With little room to breath, they never missed a beat.

Tonight sealed my belief in this band’s ability to connect with an audience. They have heart, authenticity, talent and a love for music performance that sets them apart from other bands. Whether they are opening for the Pogues at Irving Plaza or playing acoustically at the Rockstar Bar, Langhorne Slim knows how to deliver.

This curated night of music at the Rock Star Bar, happens rarely in the music scene today. The nights mix of eclectic music styles created an atmosphere that celebrates diversity of genre. In between acts music tracks set a mood with songs by Hank Williams III, Musical Youth, Mongo Joy and a few awesome recordings of the one-man band Abner Jay.

The night started off colorfully with a cover band that did a fine job channeling Janis Joplin. Janis appeared in the form of man extravagantly dressed to replicate. This was the only band not part of the original line up, but was a fun opening.

Jazz duo Tyler Miller vocalist and guitar player and trumpeter Dan Blanketchip played jazz standards. We were treated to tunes like “Saint James Infirmary”, "Dinah" and "Honeysuckle Rose". They exchanged duties throughout the set. The trumpet playing was pristine while Tyler played guitar with ease and dexterity. His vocals were perfect.

The mood switched gears as the stylish Honne Wells stepped up to the platform and slowly sat with guitar in hand. He steps, picks, slides, whistles and sings with a voice that has never seen the light of day. He brings reverence and humor channeling a slice of Americana with a refreshing new twist.

The time was r
ight for the upbeat original folk styling of Hop Along Queen Ansleis. Her fans gravitated towards her as she began her set with “Spinach Water” holding a small touring guitar. She glowed and emanated joy as her powerful voice reached a range of high octaves with ease and veracity. Her set was a mix of favorites from her 2005 debut “Freshman Year” and new tunes soon to be recorded. She sang an outstanding cover of Hank Williams “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry”. It rang with originality and was so beautifully arranged I almost didn’t recognize it. She is a captivating performer ready for a wider audience.

The crowd wa
s not prepared for the Charm City Drug Band, but thoroughly embraced their NY debut performance. This Baltimore collective assembled their instruments on site. Finding at the bar anything that can be banged, rubbed or hammered. The night’s set up was a plastic bin, metal piping, wooden dowels, a metal urn and discarded refrigerated shelving that was propped up against the back wall of the platform. The improvisational clatter beat and surged organically creating a beguiling sound. The audience was perked with interest. As the players went into overdrive, so did the PA.

The PA failure lead to a delightful accident that propelled Langhorne Slim's impromptu acoustic session. The melding of great musicians was no accident. They were a sampling of one person’s eclectic and passionate taste, and in my opinion a masterful night of music.

04 /19 / 07 Rock Star Bar line up curated by: Marlon Ziello
Related articles by Obsession Collection: Langhorne Slim

Hop Along Queen Ansleis
Honne Wells
Rock Star Bar 04 /19/ 2007
Click on picture for Album Link / pictures by Artifact.

4.09.2007

Willy Mason at Webster Hall 4 /07 /2007

Willy Mason Webster Hall 4 / 07 / 2007

Willy Mason walked on the stage alone bent over his guitar, as his signature picking moves and deep soulful voice started to register. The song "Into Tomorrow" continued as band members Sam Mason on drums, Mike Macky on bass and Nina Violet on viola and vocals emerged on queue.

Webster hall
has a strong sound system, but it lacks the intimacy of the other venues that I’ve seen Willy play. The best show was at the Housing Works Used Book Cafe in Soho, that seats two hundred people. What made that show so special was the three acts shared a common thread not a common label. It was a curated show.

It is difficult being a support act especially with the time constraints imposed. It was evident to me
, that Willy wanted to present as much of new recording "If The Ocean Gets Rough" as he could. He unfortunately sacrificed his typical engaging personal connection with the audience. The music made up for his serious demeanor. Nina Violet stepped in with her lively upbeat support. Sam Mason bore down, immersed in his drum set.

I watched the attentive and captivated
young crowd gazing up at the stage. After the first song, I realized that most were not familiar with his music. That was clearly evident, when they didn’t recognize "Our Town" a crowd pleaser that his ravenous British and Irish audiences enjoy. Many were there to see Sondre Lerche, whose music is of another sensibility and genre.

Willy and Nina’s voices worked magic together, and the band presented the recordings diverse texture without all the effects that the CD affords. The viola was used effectively in Simple Town, creating sonic backdrop for the sad and impressive words. "Our Town" rocked,
as Willy sang my favorite line describing the food offerings during a short prison stay / I got some white bread/ some cheese spread / and some mayonnaise /

After the set, I spoke with two lovely young woman, who were there to see Sondre Lerche. They were impressed and moved by Willy Mason’s music. I left them as they clutched their freshly bought CD's close to their hearts.
It’s nice to see that instant connection. Great music can have that kind of effect.

A must see / Archived: A live set at KCRW with short interview, it is very impressive.

Set list: Into Tomorrow (Oxygen single), We Can Be Strong, When the River Moves On, Save Myself, Simple Town, Our Town (Where the Humans Eat), If The Ocean Gets Rough, When The Leave Have Fallen. The other songs off the New CD "If the Ocean Gets Rough"

Album Web Link


4.06.2007

Bright Eyes "Cassadaga" Review:


Bright Eyes: “Cassadaga” Review
Conor Oberst The Crooner Can Turn a Phrase

Conor Oberst’s voice, timing and phrasing is at it’s best in “Cassadaga”, Bright Eyes seventh Full Length release. I have always felt that Conor Oberst’s phrasing style and lyric delivery could be compared to Frank Sinatra, but in “Cassadaga” the connection is more evident. He artfully structures words in a frame without sacrificing the timing, while the acute measurement of empty space guides the listener to linger. The emotional weight of his poetic verse is highlighted with the subtle nuance of his singing style.

The songwriting blossoms with inference. It is uncanny how Oberst can attach imagery to thought, creating a pathway between the visual and cerebral cortex. Like: Standing on a doorstep full of nervous butterflies / or / vanish in a thick mist of change /. Utilizing this format he accentuates the unpredictable nature of his song craft.

Adding to Conor Oberst’s inspired vocal delivery is the inventive music mixing by Mike Mogis and orchestra arrangements by Nate Walcott. Together they rework the Bright Eyes discography into a polished combination of alt country styling, digital effects, orchestral lushness, and gorgeous choral flourishes. With outstanding guest appearances throughout, including, Dave Rawlings’ signature guitar, the vocals of Rachel Yamagatta, Gillian Welch, Sheri and Stacy DuPree, Jason Boesel and M Ward contributions on “Soul Singer”.

The Bright Eyes tradition of starting the first track with unusual sound effects like, cassette recordings, children reading, keys turning on the car engine or story telling, is continued in Cassadaga. “Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)”, opens with a psychic reading, while supernatural orchestration leads into the atmospheric song. It explores the subject of destiny. Destiny that is determined by individual choices or in contrast beyond the range of control like in manmade and natural occurrences. This song sets the tonal direction for the entire collection of songs to follow.

“Four winds” is a rollicking fiddle driven fare disseminating a tirade of social, religious, political epithets, and emphasizing the hypocrisies of destinies offerings. Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe / There are people always dying trying to keep them alive /. Here he extols the state of civilization as it repeats history.

“The Brakeman Turns My Way” emphasizes self-determination and desire to search for answers. / It’s an infinite coincidence but it doesn’t make a plan /. Some people are lucky to have the opportunity to change their fate and level out. The paradox presented so cleverly in the line / People snuffed out in the brutal rain /. The dichotomy is forcefully clear as the pulsating strumming and forceful rock/country styling take hold.

The fateful direction unfolds with “Classic Cars” as memory awakens to recall a passing love affair / like two quaint ships in the night / She leaves him with these thoughtful words / everything is a cycle / you’ve got to let it come to you / And when it does you’ll know what to do /. The wise offering guides him and ultimately influences his life.

In “Make a Plan To Love Me” Conor’s crooning shines, as sentimental strings pipe in on queue and the lavish vocals of Rachel Yamagata are added to dress this romantic escapade. As they sing during the chorus / make a plan to love me / make a plan to love me sometime soon /.

The saddest and most heart wrenching song “No One Would Riot For Less” is circa Bright Eyes at its best. As he sings / So love me now / Hell is coming / Kiss my mouth Hell is here /. And / Little soldier / little insect / you know war it has no heart / it will kill you in the sunshine or happily in the dark /. This is where the forbidding future, impending doom and love collide.

The last song “Lime Tree” starts with simple guitar plucks and Conor’s voice. At the end of the second verse the string arrangements arrive to exemplify the heart-felt words. Rachel Yamagata and Stacey Dupree choral affectations are sublime, cascading the song to breathtaking levels. The song ends dramatically as he decides to take a major step out into the world. Stepping gingerly into his destiny. / I took my shoes and walked into the woods / I felt lost and found with every step I took.

Turning a phrase, dreaming big dreams Bright Eyes has established their destiny, with every track on this stunning recording.

Label: Saddle Creek Records

Artwork and design by Zack Nipper
Utilizing the invention of a focal decoder, viewers can scan art and see encrypted images and messages.

Focal Decoder by www.3dimages.co.uk patent no.2315240

"Four Winds" Review / Artifact

4.03.2007

Honne Wells with special guest Gregory Jamie At Tonic

Honne Wells with special guest Gregory Jamie from O’Death at Tonic.

Dolled up in suit and silk bowtie it is hard to look away, when Honne Wells steps on the stage. Then he speaks and takes the audience off guard, as they lean in to hear him speak. With an unusually deep range he intertwines tall tales that lead to song.


Joining Honne Wells on stage was Gregory Jamie lead singer and guitarist of the band O’Death. Honne Wells voice is a deep guttural baritone in contrast Gregory Jamie has a high intense nasal voice. While the disparity is startling and distinctive, their shared sensibilities about music is what makes the pairing so extraordinary.

They both embrace the roots of Americana and use that platform, as a vehicle to transform music. What evolves is inspiration, and collaboration meant to be fostered.

Donning two guitars, a banjo, some slides, tambourine and a metal sheet. The gentleman played, sang and two stepped in succession.” Holler At Da Holy” was very effective, because it capitalized on just the voices and the step. In-between Honne played a nice instrumental “Dram From A Dog”. The last song was a bonus “George P. Lennin Blvd.” about dirty water. Honne’s foot tapping, progressed into leg slammin, and the atmosphere became edgy and immediate as the pace thickened.

Witnessing this pairing was a highlight in my quest to find great music.

Set List

Oh-Literate Man Blues

The Seed That Ne're Got Sewn

Been Licken
Dram From a Dog Holler At Da Holy
George P. Lennin Blvd.

Web Album Link show pictures by Artifact