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Pixies and their influence on the independent music scene

A week or so ago I received an email from Pixies’ mailing list. This was monumental enough in and of itself because I have been on Pixies’ mailing list for approximately a million years, and they send somewhere in the region of 2.2 emails a year, if that. The email was about their first new material in nine years, ‘Bagboy’, which in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, I’ll post here, because it has honestly been traveling through cyberspace faster than TRON (apologies to any sci-fi purists who don’t think this is an adequate or correct use of a TRON metaphor).

Alt-Rock Bluegrass Band Tornado Rose releases Dust in my Shadow EP

Dust in my Shadow EP embodies a full Parthenon of musical influences capturing aspects of Bluegrass, Rock, Folk, Blues, Red Dirt, Funk and Soul for a reverberant mix of substance and surprise. From melodic electric guitar riffs to the sweet sensibilities of an old time string band, Tornado Rose offers a fresh look at the evolutionary nature of music and transforms a wide spectrum of inspiration into pure musical fusion.

Dust in my shadow cd cover - Tornado Rose

Dust in my Shadow EP is streaming at http://www.tornadorose.com/Tunes.html – where an MP3 of the hit song ’80 Acres’ is available for free download.

“Dust in my Shadow EP represents a year of soul-searching, songwriting, and really coming into our sound as a band,” said vocalist Brooke Bell. “I feel like the luckiest girl alive to get to play in a band with some of the kindest, coolest and most talented guys I know. The hardest part of making Dust in my Shadow EP was picking the genre of music we fit into because the songs on the EP are so diverse. I would consider us alternative bluegrass, alternative folk, alternative rock, alternative alternative. It is so hard to classify our style that we don’t really care to.”

The close relationship between the hipster and independent music

Defining the hipster:

Hipsters: nobody knows what they are; nobody will ever self-identify as one, but still, everybody knows that they hate them.

Well, I don’t, and if you’re a big fan of independent music, then neither should you.

Like any much-ostracized subculture, hipsters have found themselves the victims of an online target hate loop unique in its vitriol, unparalleled in its universality, and unprecedented in its weirdness. What’s to attack when you don’t know what you’re attacking? (Fig. 1)

hipster hate loop

Note how the class of hipsters and the class of non-hipsters both hate hipsters. This is just a way of saying that everyone in the world hates hipsters, or at least claims to do so.

It is an absurd wild goose chase of epic proportions because a) no-one knows what they’re attacking and b) the attacked attack and the attacked of the attacked attack and the attacked of the attacked of the attacked attack and so on, meaning this hate process probably looks more like an infinite regress spiral thing. (Fig. 2)

hipster hate spiralWhere this ends, as they say, no one knows. (Or where it begins, or where the middle is, or whatever else.)

Getting Lost in Costa Rica with the Roses and the Waves – Melanie Edwards Returns with Her Sixth Studio Album

Nine months after the release of Back to Basics, NYC-based musical scientist Melanie Edwards returns with her sixth album, entitled Las Rosas. Recorded over February and March of this year in San Ramon, Costa Rica, Las Rosas uses ambient sounds of the Costa Rican jungle as a backdrop. Edwards has the habit of choosing new production locations with every album she makes (the previous one, Back to Basics, had her recording in the woods in Finland), but Las Rosas seems to take the immersion further—the animals, ocean waves, and thunder actually play on this record. Shortly after her return to New York City,  I spoke to Melanie about Costa Rica, her new album, and perfectionism in the studio.

Singer Songwriter Melanie Edwards

You recorded your newest album, Las Rosas, in Costa Rica and used a lot of nature’s ambient sounds. How did the location fit in with what you wanted to create and express here? How did the ambient sounds fit in?

The Fate of the Music Industry – A Musician’s Bedtime Story

the web wizardOnce upon a time, there was brilliant and wonderful wizard who created a magical technology called the internet. The great minds of the time were so excited about the new technology, they decided to join forces and work together in harmony, for the good of the people. There job; to make the internet accessible to the working class and to discover a new way of connecting villages throughout the land. The collection of great minds hailed their breakthrough as, The World Wide Web.

Just as the great technologies before it, many artisans, musicians, craftsmen and businessmen saw great opportunity for wealth, at a time when there was none. They created games, digital music boxes, moving pictures, and knowledge gateways. They launched magnificent and wondrous portals into the human experience. A wave of renaissance spread through the land as the people shared technology and ideas. There was a long and prosperous period when a vast number of new businesses and people flourished. In time, many businessmen grew wealthy beyond their dreams.

Acoustic Pop Duo Minor Soul Discuss Work with Dave Stewart and Making Music in the Big Apple

minor soul music

The two young brothers in acoustic-pop band Minor Soul have a bit of a complicated background — I’d tell you where they’re from, but I’m still not quite sure. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain that they even know for sure. What I do know is that Jack and Max Wagner were born in England, grew up in Hong Kong, and now live in New York. To spice up their bio even more, the two brothers even made a few pit stops along the way, including one in Los Angeles, where they joined forces with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) at Henson Studios to record some songs. Later that year, Minor Soul released a video for “Beneath my Skin”, a song that came out of these sessions.

These days, Minor Soul is staying extremely present online by releasing videos on YouTube, as well as posting tunes that might one day end up on an official Minor Soul release. But, before they release an album, the guys are keen on making an impression on their latest city of residence — New York, New York. Their latest song/video, “Streets of New York”, was produced and co-written with renown hit maker, Toby Gad; whether you’ve heard Minor Soul play before or not, the catchy number is a good briefing on where the band is in 2012, both literally and figuratively.

Hailing from the Baltic Music Scene (Lithuania) Post Punk Revival Band “Deeper Upper”

Deeper Upper Indie Band

Formed in 2010, Deeper Upper are a young band from Vilnius, Lithuania, who eclectically mix post-punk influences with modern synth-driven sounds. Daktaras Kestutis (vocals, guitar, keys), Evaldas Arlauskas (keys), Ignas Ivaska (guitar), and Rimas Nasutavicius (drums) played their first gig at a rock contest a few years ago, and won first prize. As winners, Deeper Upper earned a chance to record two songs in a professional recording studio. Soon after, the band would release “Things Behind the Eden doors” and “Last I Saw You, You Were Dreaming of a Blue Sundown”, which earned them their first radio spins, as well as exposure in and out of Lithuania. Throughout the rest of 2011, Deeper Upper played across their home country and released “I Am the Colours”, a single that Mercedes-Benz eventually picked up for one of their promotional mixed tapes. In 2012, the band released their first video, for the single, “In the Sands of a Desert”.

Everybody is a Music Producer – the LA thing

Record ProducerIf you’re familiar with Los Angeles – whether you’ve lived there, traveled there or simply dealt with people from there – you are probably aware that there is an infinite amount of musical resources to be explored over there. There are thousands of musicians, thousands of bands and just as many engineers, singers, conductors, promoters and producers. It can be very confusing when you’re trying to find the one person that can help you with one particular project. There are so many pianists, so many singers, so many studios, so many everything! However, since I’ve had to deal with a lot of people in the LA music bubble lately, I’ve realized one thing: everybody is a “producer”. And I mean everybody. It’s almost an honorary title at this point. But really, what is a producer? And what isn’t?

Just for laughs and giggles, go on the LA Craigslist page and browse the Musicians section. Chances are, within the first 10 postings, one of them will say something like:

Hey, I’m a producer looking to collaborate with other like-minded individuals. If you’re a talented singer looking for a producer to take you to the next level, hit me up! I have tons of beats and I work with all the best computer gear.”