Strange Talk – “Climbing Walls” [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Strange Talk

Australia keeps exporting great new music, evidenced yet again by what I’m hearing from the band Strange Talk.  The group combines musical talents from different backgrounds; the ‘vocalist/producer Stephen Docker immersed in the classical world, playing violin for the Australian Youth Orchestra and bassist/producer Gerard Sidhu, crafting house and electro as a regular fixture on the Melbourne DJ circuit’. After months of songwriting together the result is a self-titled EP through Neon Gold Records and Fine Time Records, which features singles Climbing Walls and Eskimo Boy.

Their most famous track is arguably ‘Climbing Walls’, which has been picked up everywhere from surf clips to Aussie TV dramas, and even by boutique French label Kitsune for their popular ‘Maison Kitsune’ compilation series. “It was definitely good for us, the whole Kitsune thing. I guess it’s sort of a stepping-stone for an up-and-coming band, a tick in the box, so to speak. It let us know that we must be doing the right thing, and it’s a plus that their clothes are so cool.” The indie synth-pop band draws inspiration from, “our record collections, and all of the incredible local and international music getting created and toured around Australia.”

Strange Talk

“I guess it’s a good mould, as a lot of our stuff has a heavier band influence,” tells Strange Talk’s frontman Stephen Docker. “A lot of our music is structured not so much in the loop based clubby fashion but more in a basic song structure, with more of a classical element shining through. It means we have strong ideas about vocals and melody lines, which is a bit different to some other electronic bands.”

 

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

Ten Out of Tenn at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Where can you find ten of the best singer/songwriters from Tennessee in one place to play a concert together?   Nashville’s own free concert series: Live on the Green!

Ten Out of Tenn is more than a band comprised of ten of Nashville’s best singer/songwriters.  It represents a community of friends and artists that make up one of the best emerging artist scenes in the country.  When most people think of Nashville, they think about pop country and honky tonks, but Music City has much more to offer the current music industry.  That is part of the reason why Ten out of Tenn came to exist.  The band showcases the raw talent in a group of friends that “create organic pop music in the shadows of today’s slick commercial country music industry.”  They travel together as a band supporting each other, and as a sum of creative talent on stage, showcasing some of the best and brightest songs and songwriters that Nashville has to offer.  Ten Out of Tenn features Katie Herzig, Andy Davis, Tyler James, Trent Dabbs, K.S. Rhoads, Griffin House, Matthew Perryman Jones, Butterfly Boucher, Jeremy Lister and Erin McCarley.  Will Sayles is the group’s talented drummer.  Check out these clips from some of my favorite new songs!

The idea to form this singer-songwriter supergroup was born while Kristen and Trent Dabbs were on the road.  They recognized that some of their favorite music came from their friends who were also emerging artists.  “We were thinking about how much music we like that happens to be our friends,” said Trent.  “There’s a community of people here with a lot of talent.”  That idea turned into a perfect reality when they were able to get a group of other incredibly talented artists to join them.  Since then, “Ten Out of Tenn has produced compilation albums, a Christmas album, four tours, showcases at music festivals like SXSW, and an award winning documentary, Any Day Now, that debuted during the 2009 Nashville Film Festival.”  The documentary fully illustrates the concept and the purpose behind Ten Out of Tenn, and gives an excellent view of what it means for the individual artists that are part of this team.  Check out the trailer for Any Day Now, filmed by Jeff Wyatt Wilson.

Ever go to a concert and can’t wait until the band plays their best songs?  Well imagine hearing 20 excellent songs in a row from some of the best singer/songwriters in Nashville.  These talented artists and musicians don’t just stand around while one plays their song.  They are also the backing band for each other, and it creates such an amazing vibe.  As individual artists, these singer/songwriters have “released over thirty albums, had song placements in countless television programs & films, and shared the stage with musicians such as REM, Sarah McLachlan and John Mayer.”  However for Ten Out of Tenn, fame or fortune isn’t a priority.  The drive behind their purpose surrounds the age-old concept of creating and sharing their music with other people.  The bottom line is that this group is amazing.  Unfortunately, Ten Out of Tenn has only two more stops on their tour!  Stay up to date with the latest music and tour dates from Ten Out of Tenn and learn more at 10outoftenn.com.

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

How To Get Great Kick Drum Sounds [MUSIC HELP]

Kick/Bass drum is what drives rock music. It’s what makes hip hop danceable. It’s how jazz drummers push the band. Such a special drum needs special treatment, especially in the studio!

First and foremost… you need good source material. Sound on Sound interviewed several professional engineers and it was nearly unanimous.

As with recording any instrument, the choice of drum and the manner of its tuning and preparation can make a huge difference to the sound you capture, so this should always be the place to start.

So don’t forget to tune the drums before you record – I wouldn’t recommend the human-ear-sweet-spot positioning method though, unless you want to go deaf. Nile Rodgers goes so far as to say (in the SoS interview)

Even if the band uses one drum kit for the whole record, I want it tuned right for each song. We’ll change the heads or tune it differently, all that kind of stuff. Sometimes we change the beaters… It all depends on how those frequencies are responding to the key of the music, to the pulse of the music. Every record is different, every song is different, every tape is different.

It’s important to note that there are a wide variety of opinions on how to get the best kick drum sound even among sound engineers. These are only some of the possibilities.

Microphone Placement
Joe Chiccarelli likes the two mic approach, which is especially popular in rock music.

“In most situations I tend to use two mics: one inside to gather the impact, and one outside to capture the “tone” – the overall note and picture of the drum.”

If the drummer doesn’t have a hole cut in the front head, or doesn’t want one, you can point a mic at the contact point of the beater on batter head. This will deliver a similar *click* sound to a mic inside the drum. Be careful of sound bleeding into this mic though, since it’s not shielded from the other sounds by the shell of the drum, you’ll need to be wary of phase problems.

Adjusting the distance of the outside mic(s) is the best way to deal with phase problems, but if you don’t have the time to experiment until you have the two mics in phase with each other (maximizing the amount of bass they pick up) you can always add a few ms of delay to one of the mics to get them in phase later on.

Chiccarelli also shares one of his tricks on how to get a processed/low-fi drum sound.

Old cassette decks with built-in limiters can deliver quite a quirky picture of a drum. It instantly sounds like a processed drum loop.

He specifically mentions putting said cassette deck inside the bass drum, to get a squashed sound, as well as putting it in the room to pick up the whole kit.

Equalization
I’m not the first to come up with this, and many other (much more knowledgeable people) have already written up how EQ affects the kick drum sound. Here it is as Laskow states in his Taxi FAQ:

If you need more bottom end, try boosting @ 60 or 100Hz. Try rolling off lower mids (300-700Hz) to get rid of a box-like sound. To add more attack, try boosting in the 1K to 3K range.

For bottom end there is no substitution for running a spectrum analyzer to find the fundamental frequency and boosting that specifically. Believe me it works 100 times better than just randomly boosting some random low frequency.

Also, Boosting between 600-900Hz will give you more punch. If necessary, you can try to reduce bleed from the cymbals by reducing above 3k with a LPF or a High Shelf.

Microphones
Close mics (the ones you put inside the kick, or point at the contact point of the beater) These are for capturing the attack:

For the outside/distance mics, large diaphragm microphones work well to capture the low frequencies:

If you’re only going to use one microphone on the kick, you’re better off using the one that can capture the attack and using a triggering plugin or an exciter to get the low end.

Again, what really matters is that the drums fit the mood/atmosphere of the song, not just “objectively good” drum sounds.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The 1922s – Porcupines & Balloons [VIDEO]

It was always gonna be a challenge for the 1922s to follow up their previous EP “In If It Is” (released under their old name Evil Harrisons). Thankfully The 1922s‘ latest single “Porcupines and Balloons” is proof that the band still effortlessly splice catchy melodies together with intelligent song structures. “Porcupines and Balloons” marks not only the beginning of the band as a potent 5 piece (Nicolas moves to piano with Paul Mallon on bass and Paul Campbell on guitar duties.) but it is also the first taste of their eagerly awaited debut album set for release in September. The bouncy lead single showcases the band’s strengths. From Ronan’s soft poetic melodies, Nick’s fluid piano playing to the creative rhythms of Paul Carolan, The 1922s ooze with confidence and style. Catchy melodies and instrumentation are evident as ever, but in sync with the new line up they have taken an exciting new direction which is merely hinted at in their glorious lead single.
The new name and line up change liberated the band, a first sold out show as the 1922s, previewing the album and announcing the line up, was proof enough of the audience’s demand as well as the quality of the material. The recording process for the bands forthcoming self titled album was a long but fruitful process. With 16 tracks, the album demonstrates the range and scope of the band.

Directed by Eamon Murphy, Cameras by Chris Clarke & David McEneaney & Edited by David McEneaney

 

for more info check out – http://the1922s.com/ 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

 

NERO – “Crush On You” [VIDEO]

nero - welcome reality album cover

Everyone says it’s always about your timing especially when dropping any sort of news and I must say it was pretty damn good right now as NERO just posted their latest video release. The video features the forthcoming single, “Crush On You” which is to be released October 16th 2011. This initially cheerful track takes to chaos as the killer dubstep bass tones take over your ears and the life of the video. Definitely a great one to have stumbledupon at such a perfect moment. Not really much to add here as I was in the middle of some other work but I just had to get this out to you as I was hearing it for the first time!

The New Division – “Shadows” [NEW MUSIC]

The New Division

The New Division began as a college dorm room project for songwriter John Kunkel back in 2005. After moving from Uruguay (where he resided for 18 years) to Southern California. Kunkel began experimenting with synthesizers after being heavily influenced by the sounds of Joy Division, New Order, and Depeche Mode. Originally, the name “New Division” was meant as an artist working title for songs that would never be released. Within a few months Kunkel developed a series of songs that attracted other fellow college students at California Baptist University. By the end of 2007, the one man New Division project had transformed into a four piece.

**My favorite track, Starfield, off their previous E.P**

 

Currently, The New Division is John Kunkel (vocals), Brock Woolsey (guitars), Janzie (synths), and Mark Michaslki (synths). With over 300 songs in their “demo roster,” the band is continually writing new material on a regular basis. “We believe the best way to make good music is to write a lot,” says frontman John Kunkel. “I wake up every day with fresh ideas, and I seek out sources of inspiration. Sometimes, I’ll write three songs in a day if I have the time. It’s what I love doing. It’s therapeutic.”

The New Division - Shadows

While Kunkel focuses on the production and songwriting aspect of the band, the other members play a vital role in developing their live performance and sound. “We used to be crappy live, I won’t lie,” says Janzie. “But we’ve come such a long way from what we used to be. Whereas before we just plugged in an ipod and pressed play for certain tracks, we’re now doing basically what Deadmau5 does with Ableton. The only difference is that we’re a four piece, we’re new wavish, and we sometimes use a live drummer [Kenny Wells].” This may be the brightest year for the band to date. Already receiving critical acclaim for “The Rookie” EP, the band has big plans and just released their first full length album – Shadows.  The retro 80’s-esque vibe floats in an ambient haze with no ending in sight.  I highly recommend checking out this Riverside, California band’s new-wave  album – you won’t regret it!

 

 

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Skin We’re In – Silhouette [NEW MUSIC]

 

 

Hailing from Newry, Co Down, The Skin We’re In was formed in late Jan 07 when singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Chris “Cricky” Markey wrote and recorded 15 tracks in a 10 day period. He has been writing and recording since and has well over one hundred songs written and recorded. His music is contemporary rock infused with soul, jazz and funk licks drawing from diverse influences from Tom Waits to Prince.

 

To date, the single ‘Something To Prove’ has featured on several nationwide radio stations including Phantom FM, U105 FM, WLRFM and BBC Radio Ulster. The song has also received airplay on XFM London, which led to The Skin We’re In being named one of XFM’s Uploaded winners.

In 2009 The Skin We’re In released their debut EP in 2009 which is now on digital release via iTunes, Napster, Amazon etc. The EP was engineered and co-produced by Tony Perrey and recorded at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin. In  support of the EP release a live band was set up and the band performed several gigs including support to CODES in Crawdaddy, a slot at the Ruby Sessions and a headlining hometown gig with support from Television Room and We Should Be Dead.


In the past year, Cricky has been writing and recording at his home studio in Newry. When not writing for his own act, he has been writing pop/R&B songs for other artists to record. He is currently putting the finishing touches to his new double album scheduled for release in the new year. A few live nationwide dates have been pencilled in for early 2012.

 

 

 

The lead single from the new album, which has the working title ‘In Minority’, is called ‘Silhouette‘ and will be released in Jan 2012. In the run up to the release, a new non-album track is released for free download @http://soundcloud.com/the-skin-were-in/abandoned. All music by The Skin We’re In is written, arranged, produced and performed by Cricky Markey.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC   

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Hood & The Hoodlums – “Low Down ft. Mike Keller” [VIDEO]

warren hood

Warren Hood is an accomplished musician who plays violin, fiddle, mandolin, and composes and sings as well. He lives in Austin, Texas and performs with his local band, Warren Hood and the Hoodlums, in a blend of jazz/blues/newgrass acoustic fusion of music.  In the 2005 Austin Chronicle Best Musician Awards, Warren was voted #1 Best String Player and his band was voted 2nd in the bluegrass category.

Warren began playing fiddle at age 11 and studied classical violin for a number of years.  At age 17 he won the Austin Youth Award and performed as soloist with the Austin Symphony.  Later he honed his playing and singer/composition abilities with his former bands such as: Warren Hood & his Allstar Band, Blue Light Special and the South Austin Jug Band.

warren hood

 

Warren’s musical influence range from Ray Charles, Stephane Grapelli, Walter Hyatt and Uncle Walt’s Band.  If you listen to Warren’s compositions its’ easy to hear the eclectic influences.

 

 

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

Moon Taxi at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

It’s gotta be a good night when your band gets to open up for Robert Randolf and the Family Band.  That was the case last Thursday night for Moon Taxi when they played at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN.  As a new listener and one of many people there to see the best pedal steel player in the world, I couldn’t help taking an immediate interest to Moon Taxi.  This is a phenomenal rock band with an incredible musician on every instrument, and they can’t help it that they play awesome music.  If you like Music Without Labels, check out this “music without borders” that is Moon Taxi.  Here’s a live video of Moon Taxi opening up for Matisyahu at the Fillmore two years ago.

This video was shot just months after the release of Moon Taxi’s Live album called Live Ride that they recorded in their hometown of Nashville, TN.   Dirty bass lines, tight drum grooves, killer guitar riffs, and slick organ sounds seem to provide the perfect foundation for great vocals and memorable lyrics.  Moon Taxi’s sound has since developed with a couple years of touring, and they are sounding better than ever.  Their feel reminded me of Rush with their synced riffs and occasional odd meter grooves, but they have made those concepts their own.  Their music somehow combines qualities of many different bands and artists.  However, Moon Taxi is their own element, and have completely developed their own incredible distinct sound.  Here’s a video of Moon Taxi playing one of their songs called All the Rage.

Moon Taxi toured last year with Matisyahu, which has opened up bigger opportunities for the band and their music.  They have also opened for acts such as Umphrey’s Mcgee, Gov’t Mule, the New Mastersounds, and DJ Logic.  Moon Taxi has played at a number of music festivals including the 10,000 Lakes Festival, Moe’s Summer Camp, Birmingham’s City Stages, the Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, and Huntsville’s Big Spring Jam.  Moon Taxi will be playing Southern Ground Music Fest with Zac Brown Band and My Morning Jacket in Charleston, SC next month as part of their nationwide headlining tour!

Their show on Thursday was awesome, and I got way more than what I expected.  Moon Taxi is a modern-day version of the classic jam band, which is why they are such a great band to see live.  They have combined valuable musical assets of their influences and created something fresh.  This is why they have been described as a band interested in “music without borders.”  Their music is undoubtedly progressive, but they stay true to their musical niche.  But wait! There’s more!  Moon Taxi is getting ready to release new music, so check out this video and listen to this sick new track called “Cabaret” from their new album.

To stay up to date on new music and tour dates from Moon Taxi, check out their website ridethemoontaxi.com.

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

AUTUMN LONG – Ten More Reasons [NEW MUSIC]

AUTUMN LONG is Pádraig Digan.

With a line up consisting Leanne Doyle (Violin), Ruairí De Barra (Guitars), Michael Murphy (BASS), and Joe Digan (Drums) the band’s huge sound is a unique blend of infectious songs with haunting melodies.
Pádraig along side producer Karl Odlum has just put the final touches to his debut album “DROWN THE TRUTH” in Abbey Road with Steve Rooke at the desk.

The first single ‘TEN MORE REASONS’ is due for release on the 29th of September, with a launch night in Whelan’s, Wexford St. Dublin.

The a line up consists of Leanne Doyle (Violin), Ruairí De Barra (Guitars), Michael Murphy (Bass) and Joe Digan (Drums), the band’s huge sound is a unique blend of infectious songs with haunting melodies.

Pádraig cut his teeth live over the last 10 years in venues across Ireland, the UK and Germany both supporting and playing along side the likes of Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, Ann Scott and Paddy Casey to name but a few. Now with AUTUMN LONG he is set to take to the road, with the intention of bringing a captivating collection of songs to ears everywhere.

AUTUMN LONG a true original with a collection of musicians most
certainly to be reckoned with

for more check out his Facebook 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC