Am I Willing To Be A Crumb?

To say that the last six months have been a whirlwind for me would be a huge understatement.  Hundreds (if not thousands) of hours combing the internet, looking for the next great group of musical performers and trying to spread the word about those I have already found.  My entire life, my entire routine has been forever altered by this maniacal drive to help indie musicians get to the next level and be able to succeed.  I know that I fall far from my personal goals with all this, but I continue on, in the hopes that just one thing I do can help the career of a single musician in some small way.  It is that hope that keeps me going, and it prevents me from just closing up shop and fading into the background (which has crossed my mind more than once).

Just last night, my wife commented on how I have changed as a person, how my mood changes when I put on the headphones, the smile that overtakes my face when listening to my indie music.  I often worry about what she thinks about my endeavor, as it does occupy a very large chunk of my time, time that we could be doing other things.  Her support of my ‘hobby’ is critical to its success.  I’m smart enough to recognize that this is not something that will ever make me rich financially, but rather something that enriches me personally.  I do what I do for the love of the craft and a love of the art form.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Of course, there are those fantasies of “hitting it big” and becoming the next huge social media influencer, someone who’s name is known and opinion is constantly sought after.  But those dreams are met with the very real understanding that obscurity is the more likely option, and I’m fine with that.  In effect, I have modeled myself after the life of the typical indie musician.

I’ve been doing this long enough to realize that while there may be visions of wealth and popularity running through the brains of many of the musicians I follow, the sad reality is most of them will never know that success on a scale large enough to financially survive on.  The art they love so much and work tirelessly to perfect will never occupy a spot bigger than a serious hobby in their lives, something they devote countless hours to when they are not working to pay the bills.  It doesn’t take a doctoral economist to understand that the entire musical microcosm is in serious need of a financial facelift, but that is a topic for another article down the road.  Suffice it to say the vast majority of those who create and perform do so solely to express themselves and the contribute to the art.  They do what they love.  I do what I love.  Life is good for all of us.  No matter how frustrating it can be at times, we all continue on, in the hopes of making a difference.  But it also begs the question- what if we were all to just throw our hand up in the air and say, “Forget it”?

That may seem like a silly situation, and you would be correct in that assumption.  The great majority of musicians I encounter are simply not capable of walking away.  For some, they have tried and failed miserably, going right back to the routine of constant practice and playing the local VFW halls to get exposure.  They can’t walk away, because their music is a vital part of their very being.  Hell, I tried to put it behind me, and yet here I am, a part of the music world once again.  I don’t perform (I learned some time ago that performing was not my place), but I have found a place where I can contribute (hopefully) to the success of others in my own small way.  For the true musician, life does not exist without music.  But the world of music extends much further than the musicians themselves.  There is an entire ecosystem of support, promotion and engagement that is vital to the continuation of today’s music.  And it is to those people that I direct the question, “Are you ready to suffer along side of the musicians you support?”

Today’s music world is a tangle of very disjointed, seemingly opposing and competing forces.  There are thousands of bloggers like myself and probably ten times as many outlets where music can be heard.  The days of the big media outlets are being replaced by a group of smaller entities, who’s reach may not be as wide, but who’s passion for the art exceeds that of the mainstream by a factor of a hundred times.  And despite the appearance of competition, I find that the entire community is comfortable and eager to be working toward the same cause- promoting indie music and doing whatever necessary to help these incredible artists succeed.  The movement is bigger than any single piece of the pie, but the pie is not complete without the efforts of every single piece.  Honestly, the pie is made up not of pieces as we would normally think, but rather a collection of thousands (if not millions) of individual crumbs that complete the bigger picture.  Lose enough crumbs, and eventually there is no pie left to dine on.  In order for any of this to show any kind of success, we need as many crumbs as possible to complete the pie.

The role of the non-musician in this movement can be extremely frustrating at times (if not completely frustrating most of the time).  We worry about how impactful our reach is.  We worry about how effective our method of communication is.  We worry about our abilities to truly drum up support for the musicians we have come to love.  But, despite all of the worrying, we do each make a difference, in our own small way.  The frustration and worry is counter balanced by the smallest of ‘thank you’s’ received from those we treasure most, and any measure of ‘success’ needs to use this as the standard.  The goal is not to conform to any standards or sets of rules, but to create the kind of commotion that draws peoples’ interest, which then draws attention to the artists we are all so desperately trying to bring attention to.  Much like the musicians, we have made a conscious decision to not conform and to do everything we can to create a new mainstream, one that highlights the true talent in the music world.

So, I implore those that support these incredible artists to dedicate every second to being a crumb.  The world is hungry for great music, and the pie needs to be as big as humanly possible to satisfy that hunger.  As frustrated as I get, and as defeated as I sometimes feel, I am happy to be a crumb, doing my very small bit for the greater good.  I’ll never apologize for how I do it, and I’ll be very happy with any positive results, no matter how small they may be.  I’m in it for the long run.  Are you?

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Cozmic Crew- The “Numbers”

Here it is, the first installment of the Cozmic Crew.  Today, I’ll be focusing on those groups that start with a number (you’ll see what I mean).  My goal here is simple- to give you enough information to make checking out these musicians a priority, just a basic tease and how to find them.  I’m also going to mention my personal favorite song from each artist, and provide links to explore their music.  Your job is simple- find some of these musicians that you can easily fall in love with, and then go out and buy their music!  This list means nothing if we don’t all do our best to support these artists in any way possible.

 

11:95 pm

Hometown: Unknown  Style: Experimental     Coz’s Pick: “Plasticized Communication”

Testing the limits of technology in music, 11:95 pm takes you on a wild aural journey, with multiple layers of great guitars, synths and vocals reminiscent of ’80’s progressive rock.   A modern day Pink Floyd, exploring the boundaries of sound and harmony.

Social Media: Twitter (@1195pm), Facebook

Music available on Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud

 

 

2nd Mouse

Hometown: Ireland    Style: Experimental EDM  Coz’s Pick: “Out Of My Control”

A little trance mixed with a lot of EDM, which gets thrown into the experimental beaker and given a good swirl.  That’s the best way to describe 2nd Mouse.  Layer upon layer of melodies, counter melodies, beats and counter beats make this really fun to listen to.  This is not your typical EDM!

Social Media:  Twitter (@The2ndMOUSE), Facebook

Website:  www.soundcloud.com/2ndMOUSE

Music available on Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud

 

 

3 Bricks Shy

Hometown: Overland Park, KS   Style: Folk Rock   Coz’s Pick: “I Love To Boogie”

This is the kind of music you want to play at a big family reunion or backyard barbeque, fun music for all ages.  The perfect blend of acoustic and electric storytelling in every song.  The dance floor will fill up quickly when 3 Bricks Shy is playing!

Social Media:  Twitter (@3BricksShyBand), Facebook

Website: 3BricksShyMusic.com

Music available on Spotify, YouTube, Reverbnation, Soundcloud

 

 

3D In Your Face  

Hometown: Omaha, NE.  Style: Glam Metal   Coz’s Pick: “Forbidden City”

Crank up the volume for this Midwest metal hair band.  Some punk undertones really make this high energy and fun.  Incredible guitar work throughout their catalog, with classic metal vocals and a great party feel.

Social Media: Twitter (@3Dinyourface1), Facebook

Website: www.3dinyourface.com

Music available on Spotify, Reverbnation, YouTube, Soundcloud

 

53 Across

Hometown: Tularosa, MN   Style: Blues Rock   Coz’s Pick: “Don’t Tell Me The Blues Are Dead”

There’s a big throwback feel to 53 across, which takes you back to a time when Deep Purple and Bachman Turner Overdrive were filling the airwaves with no frills blues rock.  This is not overproduced commercial garbage, but rather a basic and raw sound that pays great tribute to some of the legends of yesteryear.

Social Media: Twitter (@53_Across), Facebook

Website: www.53Across.com

Music available on Spotify, Reverbnation, Soundcloud

Introducing the Cozmic Crew

The Cozmic Crew.  My affectionate pet name for all of the talent I am trying to help get the word out about.  Currently comprising over 700 bands, groups and musicians, the list of musical talent I have stumbled on to date deserves some recognition.  So, over the course of the next few months, I will devote space here to giving everyone a small taste of what these incredible musicians have to offer.

My plan is to introduce them alphabetically, through a series of articles that will each deal with one letter of the alphabet.  A brief intro/bio of each act will be included, including where you can find their music.  If nothing else, this should test my endurance (700 bands means a whole lot of introducing) and my creativity, as I hate using the same words over and over again.  You’d be amazed at how many words and phrases you can substitute for “awesome”.  Look for the first installment to hit early next week.

 

****Side Notes****

A very special thank you to Reto Bachman, creator of the Swiss prog rock band “Coreign.”  Upon reading my last article, which asked musicians to share the Cozmic love with their fans, Reto has started going through and asking his 5,000 fans and followers on social media to look us up.  The effect on Cozmic Debris has been incredible- an almost 30% lift in followers, which means a much larger number of people are being exposed to the music I’m sharing.  There is no better way for bands to get the word out than through social media, and I know these new folks are going to fall in love with some of the music they will get a chance to explore.  Sincerely, Reto, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I will be in Nashville, June 19-25th.  My hope is to listen to as much incredible music as I can, as well as meet some of the incredible Nashville talent that is a part of the Cozmic Crew.  If you are playing in Nashville that week, please drop me a line, letting me know when and where.  I’d love to not only hear you live, but get a chance to chat face to face.  Saying I’m excited about the trip would be a huge understatement.

In addition to the Cozmic Crew list, you should start seeing much more here on the blog.  Life got a little chaotic for me, as it always does this time of the year, but I’ve reached the end of the pandemonium.  I’ve also struggled with a huge case of writer’s block over the last couple of months, which also seems to have finally resolved itself.  Expect to see a couple of really cool album reviews, along with some more of my editorializing on the state of the music business.  That’s right, biotches, I’m back and ready to set the world on fire!

Finally, I have done a very poor job of expressing my love and appreciation of all who have shown support for this endeavor.  I started this after having been removed from the business for an entire generation.  I am humbled by not only the open acceptance of me back into the music community, but the incredible positive words used to describe what I am doing.  You’ve given me an incredibly high bar to maintain, but I’m going to do my best not to disappoint!

 

A Call For Help

Yeah, I know…it’s been a minute since I posted anything here.  I’ve only been working on this article for about a month.  I’ll blame it on life deciding to get a little out of control.  Nothing serious, nothing bad, just a whole lot of everything all at once.  I promise to be much better going forward.

I’m five months into this wonderful roller coaster ride called indie music.  When I started, I had this dream of finding 100 or so great bands and helping them expand their fan bases.  After all ,there can’t be that much good undiscovered music out there.  Fast forward to today. 625 incredible musicians identified to date, and my ‘hobby’ has become a full-time occupation.  I started this blog as a vehicle to document my own journey, only to find a huge need to expand that focus to include artists and their works.  In short, I completely missed the mark in identifying my place in this world of indie music.  And in doing so, I find the time commitment to be crushing (to say the least).  However, I’m having the time of my life and wouldn’t change a thing.  Well, maybe just one thing that I would change.  More on that in a bit.

I need to stop here and thank everyone for the incredible support and encouragement.  The embracing of the Cozmic Debris brand by indie musicians and others in the business has felt more like a big old bear hug.  I am humbled beyond words by the incredibly kind words and almost instant credibility many of you have bestowed upon me.  It is so much fun to talk about great music as only musicians can, to speak in the secret code only we understand.  Each ‘thank you, Coz’ puts a big smile on my face, as it shows that I’m having a small impact on the efforts of these incredible musicians.  My own confidence grows daily, and I now feel like a full member of the indie music community.

I’m now to the point where I recognize my place as that of a social media influencer.  Granted, I’m nothing more than a micro- influencer at best right now, but my reach grows a little bit more every day, the impact of what I do becomes a little more powerful as the weeks pass by.  This is not said to be boastful or to stroke my ego, but rather to be real about the state of Cozmic Debris.  I see musicians that are starving for recognition, and rightly so. The music that I talk about is of such a high quality, with such incredible artistic perfection, that it deserves to be played every hour on the hour by every radio station on the planet.  It is that good.  However, I’ve run up against a brick wall, of sorts.  And this brings me back to the one thing I would change.

The great majority of followers I have amassed are the musicians I have followed myself.  This isn’t a bad thing, as I love them all, but in the end, it only allows me to share incredible music with other musicians.  Granted, I do have a small following of music listeners, but not nearly to help bands and musicians grow their fan bases.  After all, this is one of the primary reasons I started this journey- to help great indie music gain visibility and expand their fan base.  And to do this, I need your help.

Most of my Cozmic Debris time is spent sharing music via social media, specifically on Facebook and Twitter.  Again, most of the visibility these posts get comes from musicians and industry folks.  If I can tap into the fan bases associated with these bands, the lift in awareness of this music grows exponentially, and everyone wins.  Your fans become their fans, and their fans become your fans.  Instead of just being local or regional phenoms, you can pick up a following that spans the globe.  This is where I want to have an impact, but in order to do so I need your help.

Send your fans, your friends, your enemies, your families and random people on the street to Cozmic Debris on Facebook and Twitter.  The more people I can influence, the more the indie community can thrive.  It is not about me being able to brag about having a huge number of followers (because none of this is about me), but rather to allow the musicians to boast about their growing fan bases.  With your help, I can do my little part to make the indie music world a little stronger.  This may be the one and only time I ask for anything from the community, but to me, it is an important ask.

 

 

 

Song Review: “Compromise”, Near Deaf Experience featuring Tamanie Dove

History is riddled with musical combinations that appear to be doomed to failure on paper, but defy the odds to create memorable and incredible music together.  David Bowie and Bing Crosby.  Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.  Robert Plant and Allison Krauss.  The apparent clashes in musical stylings would prove that these artists have no chance of creating something beautiful, don’t they?  Fortunately, for all of us, the musical prowess of all these combinations far outweighed their styles and comfort zones, and they produced some of the most beautiful music of a generation together.  They put aside their musical differences and demonstrated that the art form was the important factor, and not the public’s perception of their limitations.  Which bring me to the focus of this article.

Near Deaf Experience. A duo (Jeff Hill and Josh Mitchell) producing some of the best electronic music around, and doing it all for charity.  Their unique sound comes from an amazing use of the musical space, weaving melodies and countermelodies in an environment of constantly changing phase, with resounding bass, multiple layers of sound and the spot-on precision required to deliver a ‘ready for primetime’ portfolio of astounding music.  You can learn much more about them and check out their latest album ,’Cognitive Dissonance”, at http://neardeaf.us.

Tamanie Dove.  Rooted in country music, this indie music diva is a song producing machine, with very few weeks going by without at least one new song being released.  Often whimsical and fun with her musings, Tamanie has made it a goal to blur the lines of musical stylings and genres by exploring areas outside of her comfort zone.  From the whimsical and fun sounds of “Cotton Candy” to the laid back and jazzy soul of “Sweet Stormy Soul”, she writes and sings with a bold authenticity that is refreshing to hear.

I was fortunate enough to see this all unfold.  A couple of months ago, in the show chat of a Music Mafia Radio show, Tamanie made the statement that she wanted to do some electronic music, to really stretch the boundaries.  In almost no time, Jeff Hill responded that he could make that happen, and from there things were set in motion.  In a display of the marvels of today’s technology, files went back and forth from Georgia to Florida, and in a matter of just a few short weeks, “Compromise” was born.

On paper, the combination of a carefree country artist and a precise electronic duo didn’t make sense.  Fortunately, the paper is wrong. “Compromise” showcases the talents of everyone involved.  From the slow, mysterious and rhythmic intro, to the strong vocal offering, to the awesome beat created after the first verse, this song hits on all cylinders.  Having listened to both artists do their own work in the past, it was a little overwhelming to hear the combination working together.  The complex instrumentation, with its layers of movement (many of which are extremely subtle) combined with the vocal stylings of the country girl, all comes together in a wonderful celebration of fruitful collaboration.  The short timeline from idea to finished product does show in places with somewhat dry vocal processing, but this in no way takes away from the beauty and mastery of the song.

If you’re looking for a fun, high energy song to add to your playlist, look no further.  Another “oddball” combination has produced musical gold.

“Compromise” is currently available on Reverbnation

New Releases, Part One

What better way to celebrate the beginning of Spring than to share some new indie music releases, something I plan to do on a regular basis.  I have complete confidence that this list is not complete, and I apologize in advance to anyone I missed.  As a result, expect a part two to this list in the coming days.  If you are a musician that would like to have their releases included in future lists, you can email the details to cozmic.debris@comcast.net.

 

New Indie Singles

The Wayne Hoskins Band, “Drive”.  A great indie rock song from a perennial favorite.  A fun song with a nice buildup to the chorus.

 

Rick Shelley, “Waiting on a Friend”.  Another fun indie offering with an interesting California country feel.

 

Eric & The Soo, “Every Time I Fall in Love”.  Coming from Canada, this indie rock offering has a driving beat with an ELO/Tom Petty thing going on.

 

Apollo Junction, “Paris”.  A top-flight pop song, with an energetic beat, precise instrumentation and awesome vocals.

 

Angie & The Deserters, “Stay”.  Americana at its finest. A great arrangement with pedal steel, mandolin and fiddle adding depth to the recording, combined with spot on vocals to create the perfect mood.

 

A New Nowhere, “You and Me”.  A fun alt rock song from a fan favorite.  Energetic beat with absolutely awesome vocals and harmonies.

 

American Road, “Homebound”. Indie country rock that will captivate you with its polished and perfect sound and feel.

 

John Tracy, “I’ve Got to Find Myself”.  The latest from one of the true contemporary troubadours, with the song reflecting the true life and times of the artist.

 

The Heart Vandals, “Fade Away”.  Awesome indie rock with shades of an alt feel.  High energy beat with strong vocals and intriguing vocal harmonies.

 

State of Ember, “Denial”. Straight ahead hard rock that is not for the faint of heart.  Precise instrumentation combined with strong vocals will make this a favorite for any hard rock fan.

 

Venice Cathouse, “Shreds of Glass”.  Another hard rock release with some funk in the neat.  Outstanding guitar work and strong vocals with a high energy beat.

 

David Starr, “I’ve Come for You”.  Rocky Mountain Americana.  Bluesy rock with great vocals and beautiful guitar work.

 

Fickle Friends, “Hello Hello”.  Spot on vocals and precise instrumentation pull off the perfect background for this fun alt pop song.

 

Tamanie Dove, “Home Run”.  Jazzy, bluesy goodness with top notch instrumental and vocal work.  Her voice transcends musicial styles.

 

Hippo Campus, “Way it Goes”.  New alt pop from these indie legends.  You feel a little bit of an ELO influence, and the strong vocals complete the perfect package.

 

Seven Story Fall, “I, Spy”.  Another fun indie alt rock tune with great instrumental work and ear catching vocals.

 

The Fame Riot, “Heart Stray”.  Amazing song straight out of the ‘80’s from soon-to-be alt pop royalty.  A great beat with awesome use of the musical space to create a new dance hit.

 

Daniel Trigger featuring Sally Trigger, “Reach Out”.  Classic stadium anthem rock, featuring a strong instrumental base with monstrous vocals over the top of it all.

 

Flood Hounds, “I Wanna Know”.  You’ll want to move when listening to this great indie rock song.

 

Ashley Wineland, “She’s Gone”.  Indie country with an authentic and classic country sound.  Everything you would expect from one of indie music’s up and coming stars.

 

Unlikely Heroes, “Up For Days”.  Hip hop punk?  It works in a great way, with high energy and some amazing guitar work.  It’s just plain fun all the way around.

 

Fortune & Glory, “The Worst of Me”.  Single from their premier album, a great alt rock song with some great switch ups that will keep you guessing.

 

Johnathan East, “American Farmer”.  Good ol’ big sound country, with great instrumentation and perfect vocals.

 

Color of Chaos, “Fadeaway”.  Stadium rock with a big, big, BIG sound.  Great instrumental work with awesome vocals and harmonies to complete this awesome song.

 

Album Review- COREIGN, “Equality”

cdcover_equalityLeave it to me to agree to review one of the most challenging groups out there for my first official album review.  Married couple Corinne & Reto Bachman’s project COREIGN falls into a category of experimental progressive orchestral rock that is unique to the European continent.  Add on to this the fact that the album was completely self-produced from beginning to end, and you find a project of huge scope.  And while some may point to the production quality when trying to rate or rank this album (something the band acknowledges as a goal to constantly improve upon), it is the quality and complexity of the music itself that draws the listener in.

“Equality” is the third 2016 release for COREIGN, following the previously released “Sphere” and “Affinity”.  As with any release by COREIGN, the listener is challenged to follow a highly complex and unconventional path through each song, with each song standing on its own individual merits.  The moods and styles change from one song to the next, and the use of multiple layers of sound, intriguing counter melodies and unique harmonic movement take the listener on a musical journey with surprises around every corner.

The duo  of Corinne and Reto draw on their love of groups such as Within Temptation, Led Zeppelin and UFO, and build on this foundation a menagerie of true avant-garde delight.  From “Biker Girl”, which harkens back to the era of vintage Yes and King Crimson, to the more complex “Desperation”, which challenges the ear with unexpected cadence and harmonic movement, the entire album showcases a form of music that constantly defies categories.

I should take a moment to mention the technical production of the album, which some may categorize as ‘raw’ or ‘rough’.  The mix presented on the album is very much by design.  In the duo’s own words, “Using few correction and re-recording, their songs keep a very vivid and live-sounding character that prefers the authentic, direct, raw and pure sounding over the nowadays over-corrected and over-produced.”  I can appreciate the approach, and it does result in a very non-commercial, in the moment kind of feel.  A perfect example of the music taking precedent over everything else.

This form of music is not meant for the casual music listener, but instead requires a selective ear to appreciate not only the complexity of each song, but the use of non-traditional harmonies and voicings in each song.  In other words, this is not the stuff of American pop radio.  But, if you are willing to go on a wild and fantastic musical journey, this album is worth the price of admission.  COREIGN is promising a new release, “Lucidity”, in the coming months, which should continue to expand on the groundwork laid out here and give us even more reason to listen to this ‘outside the box’ group.

“Equality” is available on iTunes, Amazon and iGroove. 

Cozmic Debris Indie Music Sampler Announcement

I’ve been a little lax in writing here.  It has been another whirlwind month in my world.  As I type this, I am currently following and sharing the love of almost 375 of the best indie musicians on the planet, and the number continues to grow daily.  It is becoming a full time endeavor, and it would be completely unmanageable, if it wasn’t a pure labor of love. But enough about that.  On to the announcement.

In order to spread the word about these indie acts in an effective way, I have started compiling public playlists on Spotify.  The easiest way to find them is to search for “Cozmic Debris” on Spotify.  Each one highlights 25 different acts, which gives the listener right around an hour of great music to listen to.  Each sampler contains music of many styles (at least for now), and because I am the one doing the compiling, I get to choose my favorite song from each artist.  You may like everything on a particular sampler, but I’ll guarantee more than one group will peak your interest.  Right now, there are three volumes available, with new volumes coming out every few days.  My goal is to highlight all of the artists I have found in at least one list.  I am also working on compiling specialty samplers that will focus on a particular style of music, or a particular region of the world.  The bottom line is that you’ll end up finding a ton of great music by listening to these samplers!

The goal here is simple.  Expose people to as many of these incredible musicians as possible.  I encourage everyone to not only listen, but support the artists you enjoy.  Go find their music and purchase it.  Get their merchandise.  Go listen to them live, when possible. Follow their social media accounts.  Share these playlists with your friends, so they can do the same things.  Do whatever you can to share the love!

Here are the lineups for the first three Cozmic Debris Indie Music Samplers:


Volume One

The Puss Puss Band, “Bucko’s Lullaby”

Tamanie Dove, “Sweet Stormy Soul”

Matt Maloof, “Worn Out Boots”

The Ninjas, “Morphine”

Austin Peckham, “Unexpected Memories”

Saint Luke’s Drifters, “Battle of Wounded Knee”

Royal Canoe, “Walk Out On The Water”

Red Light Effect, “Phosphorus”

The March Divide, “Take Your Chances”

Three Left, “Let Me Go”

Crow Mother, “Dirty Van”

The Internal Frontier, “Gravity”

Flowers in Syrup, “Ten Feet High”

Cure for Gravity, “Push”

Here We Harbour, “Dangerous”

Albany Down, “Mercy”

Woodshed Red, “Forget Regret”

3 Bricks Shy, “I love to Boogie”

Randall Rahn, “Home”

Ships Have Sailed, “Up”

Blue Helix, “Aliens”

The King Stan Band, “Texas Flood”

Che Orton, “Boogie Woogie All Night Long”

Michel Zanoboli, “Day Party”

Jess Weimer, “Telltale Signs”


 

Volume 2

Halfway Home, “Little More Love”

Notice Grace, “City On a String”

Oogee Wawa, “Tips”

Prettier Than Matt, “The La La Song”

Made Of Eyes, “Wishing Well”

Facing West, “Scars to Your Beautiful”

2nd Mouse, “Out Of My Control”

Kerosene Stars, “Holy”

Starflight, “Rocket Like a Stone”

The Young Presidents, “Loner”

Static Fires, “End of the Road”

Lunar Rogue, “Circles”

Eric & The Soo, “My Hometown”

Cletis Carr, “All I Can Think of is You”

Chris Watkins and Drunk Poets, “Cheerleader in Love”

Camille Rae, “Shadows Dance Tonight”

Big Kettle Drum, “Holding Me Up”

Barstow Bats, “Play Piano”

Almost July, “Better Plans”

Beyond the Break, “The Way It Was”

Black Powder County, “Rain”

Free Ride, “Outsider”

John Tracy, “It’s a Miracle”

Kylie Hughes, “Take Me Anywhere”

The Lately, “Come Back to You”


 

Volume 3

Jimi Falls, “Shine Again”

Henry Maybury, “Lost Days”

Hit the Shadows, “Day in Day Out”

Jaq Mackenzie, “I Tell You”

Leslie Krafka, “Black Cadillac”

Air Crash Detectives, “Can’t Wait Another Minute”

Podracer, “Hammers and a Handgun”

Steve Bonino, “Never Come a Day”

The Battle Of Winter, “Slow Burning Country”

The Minerals, “Ball of String”

Who Shot Lizzy?, “When She Looks in the Mirror”

Zack Walther Band, “Get out of Your Head”

Iris Corporation, “Highest Love”

Ciera MacKenize, Learn to Fly”

Black Cadillac Kings, “420 Girl”

Atlas Run, “Bookshelf”

Scott Celani, “Delhi”

Swampbox, “4 AM”

Hello Shannon, “Pressure”

Janna Pelle, “Memory Lane”

The Foresters, “I’ve Got Confidence”

Tanyamae Mandigo, “Don’t Go”

Quinn Archer, “Dark Places”

Veil Unknown, “Behind These Eyes”

Jantsen, “Massive”

 

It’s Time For Some New Music!

I’ve been talking about the business an awful lot lately.  Time to talk about some of the new music coming out.  If you hear something you like, support the artist!!

Note- I came up with this list on my own and it is much shorter than it probably should be.  If you have new music coming out, get me the details and I’ll include it in future posts.

The Puss Puss Band, “Bucko’s Lullaby”.  One of the perks of doing this is I got to hear this before everyone else.  Two guys from Wales who experiment with sound and space, “Bucko’s Lullaby” is the first single off their soon to be released album.  As with most of their material, the song is a very strong, yet emotive offering, highlighted by the haunting vocal style that is the signature indie alternative sound of the group.  https://soundcloud.com/pusspussband/buckos-lullaby

Scream of Sirens, “Your Mind or Hers”.  Another single in advance of a new album.  Due to be released on Thursday, the newest offering from this all female British trio will hopefully continue their tradition of providing their fans with indie hard rock goodness.  I’ll update with the link when available.

Apollo Junction, “Paris”.  A group getting ready to drop their first album, Apollo Junction leads off with the first single from that album, released just yesterday.  “Paris”  has all the makings of a fun alt-pop dance hit, with a great beat, vocals and harmonies and a super mix.  This is a group alt-pop fans will want to watch!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmEAXfKfcJ8

A New Nowhere, “You and Me”.  Debut single soon to be released by another UK indie band, this promises to be a must have for indie grunge/hard fans, if it follows in the steps of their previous work.  Available for pre-order on iTunes.

Daniel Trigger, “Here Comes The Rage”.  Due out February 18th, this should promise more of Daniel’s hard arena rock sound with screaming guitars and terrific vocals!  Available on Bandcamp February 18th

Ships Have Sailed, “Up”.  Nice alt-rock-pop offering from this LA band.  Awesome, laid back feel with a great mix and that signature sound found on many of their earlier recordings.  According to the band, the single is available everywhere.

 

 

The Used Record Store Discount Bin

When I was a student at Berklee in the early ’80’s, there was no internet to discover new music on.  And while there was some great alternative commercial and college radio going on in Boston at the time, there was no easy way to get out across the globe and find new, non-local talent.  That is, there was no easy way, unless you were willing to roll the dice at the local record stores’ used discount bins.

There were dozens of used record stores around the city.  We were fortunate to have two surrounded by the Berklee campus.  Both of these stores had discount bins that mainly consisted of music nobody had heard of before, with the albums priced anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar apiece.  And because they were located in proximity to one of the largest concentrations of diverse musicians on the planet, the stores were smart enough to make sure these discount records really were the unknowns of the musical world.  It was possible to discover a desired artist amongst the piles, but it was rare.

Because this was a time in my life when my musical taste was expanding exponentially every day, I took a much different approach to the discount bins.  I would go in with $10 dollars in my pocket (big money for a college student) and head straight to the bargain section.  Once there, I would start going through the bins and pick out albums, basing the decision solely on the album art.  If it looked cool or interesting, I’d put it in my pile.  Usually, I could walk out of the store with 25-30 albums for my $10.  I’d run back to my apartment and start listening to them.  Like I said, I was rolling the dice.  Most of what I purchased was not up to my expectations. But just about every trip resulted in one or two gems, music that was incredible, went into the regular rotation pile and were the start of a new artist catalog in my collection.  It was worth the $10 to find those few albums each time.

Boy, how the times have changed.  I haven’t been in a record store in twenty years. My album collection has been replaced by a Groove Music account containing almost 2500 albums, most all of which would be categorized as classic music today.  And now that I am back in the hunt for new music, I turn to the modern day version of those discount bins- the internet.

Now, there are a couple of differences between the two.  Unlike the discount bins, I can actually listen to the music before purchasing, guaranteeing that I will enjoy everything I buy.  No more rolling of the dice.  Another difference is that an artist’s full catalog is usually available wherever I’m doing the buying.  No need to spend months (or years) looking for the missing pieces to complete the collection.  I may not be able to get an album for 25 cents, but I’m guaranteed that my $10 purchase is going to be music gold!

And yet, as much as they differ, they share one common trait.  You have to wade through the weeds to get to the good stuff.  This is what I experience.  There are days where I find one band after another that totally knock my socks off and have me grooving in my seat for hours at a time.  These are a rarity, especially the longer I explore, having found all of the easy gems, the low hanging fruit.  Most days, I may listen to 50 bands and only find interest in one or two of the groups.  I find myself flashing back to the old days, where al the hours of listening to those discount records resulted in just a few keepers.

Why am I telling this story?  I tell it because it demonstrates one of the biggest challenges in the indie music world, both for the listener and the artist.  There is a ton of music available to sift through, and the hard fact that most of us don’t talk about is that most of it is really not that good.  I don’t say that to be mean, I say it because it is reality.  There is a subset that is plain noise, a bunch of ex-college frat boys who bought guitars to get the girls, and never really learned how to play them, let alone how to sing.  Then there is a much larger group that I call the “not quite ready for primetime bunch.”  You hear talent, you hear the potential, but the sound isn’t quite there yet.  The mix is muddy, the balance is off, or any number of things that need improvement.  For the casual listener, the possibilities of the talent is not enough to pull the trigger, at least not yet.

This all presents a challenge for the average listener.  The sheer volume of music out there can overwhelm most folks. Factor in the large proportion of that music that is not good enough to justify the expense, and it is possible that they throw their hands up in frustration, give up the search and go back to commercial music. The problem is complicated if they have a narrow music preference.  If the are looking for nothing other than progressive rock, as an example, they may run out of steam long before they start finding the real gold.

For those artists that do stand out from the rest, these same issues exist.  They can easily get lost in the weeds, unrecognizable from all the other music out there.  It amazes me when I come across truly legendary music with next to no fan base at all.  And for those unpolished artists that haven’t quite figured out the sound yet, the lack of attention from the buying public can lead to frustration and, unfortunately, to these talents giving up the dream.  It sounds like an impossible problem to solve.  However, there is one more piece of the puzzle in this new musical world.

This is where the influencers come in.  They come in many shapes and sizes.  Good independent internet stations, who find the cream of the crop and put them in rotation.  A place where the casual listener can go to find great music.  Bloggers and reviewers who give honest feedback and develop a fan base of their own, a fan base that is hungry for good new music.  Hell, I’m even an influencer, in my own little way, throwing my support behind great musicians and getting the word out about them any way I can. In addition to that, I can also point listeners to the internet stations.  With all of this support, incredible music has the potential to gain the visibility it so richly deserves.  And those of us that have chosen to become the influencers have to realize the great responsibility we have in this universe, because we can be the difference between success and failure if we are not doing our homework, constantly looking for the next great sound.

The influencers have an additional responsibility as well.  We have a responsibility to that second tier of artists that aren’t quite there yet.  We have to encourage, while giving honest feedback to help them get over the hump.  We have to do this in a way that does not discourage, but rather helps the artist to grow.  To me, this is the toughest part of the job, but maybe the most important role, as it can result in the next generation of great music, if done correctly.

The point of all this is pretty simple.  We, as influencers, are the key to the treasure chest, both for the artists and the listeners.  We have the ability to connect one with the other.  We can make the snipe hunt of the discount bin a thing of the past, never to be seen again. We can grow our fan bases, but only to make music more visible, and not to stroke our own egos.  After all, it is ALL about the music.  Nothing else matters.