Tag Archives: Indie

“Isles.” Video from UK indie-rock group, Little Comets.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Little Comets have come from spontaneous shows on subways and bakeries to a major record label deal. Since breaking from said label in 2010 (the band jokingly adds that their album didn’t sound enough like Ke$ha), Little Comets have gone independent touring through Great Britain appearing at numerous venues and festivals along the way. Hailing from Newcastle, England, the band recently released their first single after being emancipated from their major record label. “Isles,” as well as 11 other tracks juxtapose in the form of their most recent album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets, which was released earlier this year reaching #54 on the UK Billboard charts. Check out the music video below from these Tynesiders. They are Little Comets. This is “Isles:”

You can find more information about Little Comets from their website, fan page, and twitter account. They will be touring England through the end of year, closing the year out with a show in their hometown.

I thought I would throw in a bonus track. It’s called “One Night in October.” It was Little Comet’s first big hit and I’ve been a fan ever since I heard a year or so ago. Cheers.

kyle c. stilley | marketing strategist | music without labels, llc | chicago | @stillz

Blitzen Trapper “American Goldwing” [NEW MUSIC]

I want a porch.  I want a friggin’ porch so bad.  If I had my way I would move out of my Hollywood apartment away from my homeless neighbors who live on the stoop and the drunk assholes ready to kill someone over a double double from In and Out real fast.  I want a porch.  I want to sit on it and I want to listen to music and relax and drink a lot of beer without a care in the world.  I would have massive speakers and a rocking chair.  That to me at the moment is “the life”.  With Blitzen Trapper as my band of choice and their newest record “American Goldwing” as the soundtrack to my laid back afternoon I think I’m on to something here.

Might Find It Cheap – Blitzen Trapper

Indie rock, folk rock, southern rock, call it what you will Blitzen Trapper is a rock band.  They call Portland, Oregon home and have been touring heavily for the last few years.  They just released “American Goldwing.”  It’s one part rock and roll guitar laden, drum heavy grooves and one part distinct cool vocals with a southern twist.  Blitzen Trapper have created a sound all their own and I’m sold 100% on what they are selling.  Next track is called “Fletcher” which is one of my favortie tracks on the record.

Fletcher – Blitzen Trapper

After releasing Furr in 2008 Blitzen Trapper fell onto my radar.  After seeing them at Coachella Music and Arts Fest later that year (or in 09, I can’t remember) I couldn’t get them out of my head.  I have been following them on and off since then.  They released an awesome record called “Destroyer of The Void” in 2010 and now American Goldwing is just solidifying what I saw years ago.  These guys are tight and have honed this music and are perfecting it.

Your Crying Eyes – Blitzen Trapper

Despite being from Portland Blitzen Trapper has a little bit of a southern twang to them and then they just kick you right in the junk with a tune like Your Crying Eyes.  I think thats what I like most about these guys.  They have that southern influence that eases you into the music with familiarity and then they turn up the volume.

The band currently has six members with Eric Early on guitar and vocals with Brian Adrian Koch and Marty Marquis on drums and vocals and guitar and keyboards respectively.  The vocal duties are supported Erik Menteer on Guitar and Keyboards, Michael VanPelt on bass.

Girl In A Coat – Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper is currently on tour.  Lucky for me they are wrapping up their tour on November 17th at the Music Box in Hollywood.  Tour dates page is HERE.  Their new album “American Goldwing” is available anywhere where people care about good music, so basically the internet and Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd.  Here are a couple final tracks from “American Goldwing.”  One rockin’ and the last track which is not so rockin’ but a great way to end the record.  Check these guys out when they are in your town.  In fact go out of your way by hours and hundreds of miles to see these dudes.  It’s worth it.

Astronaut – Blitzen Trapper

Stranger In A Strange Land – Blitzen Trapper

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|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 Barr Brothers “The Barr Brothers” [NEW MUSIC]

I’m going to start this blog off by saying I love music. I love the sounds I love being a part of thriving music scene here in LA, seeing shows and being a small part of the creativity.  Back in the day in college I went the standard college radio station route to put myself right smack frickin dab in the middle of arguably one of the most diverse and ever changing music scenes in the country, Boston Massachusetts.  Little WERS 88.9 fm has literally made me the music fan I am today and my dad, can’t forget him either.  I have been to hundreds of shows and in those early years where I discovered it’s always better in a small club rather than a giant arena I got a glimpse of amazing real talent.  This band I’m about to introduce you to is one of those groups whose members bring music and love of music full circle on a personal level.  They are the Barr Brothers and their new record is something that I honestly don’t want to share with anyone and keep all to myself, but we all know I can’t keep a secret to save my life.

Beggar In The Morning – The Barr Brothers

Brad and Andrew Barr are from Boston Massachusetts.  They live in Canada now.  They have a band which are called The Slip they share with bassist Marc Friedman and now they are The Barr Brother which the share with harpist and neighbor Sarah Page and Andres Vial who fills the void by playing bass, keys and percussion.  My first introduction to these gentlemen was when they were part of The Slip when they were touring behind their amazing album Eisenhower.  I remember doing two in studio mixes with the guys one was fully plugged in and the other was acoustic.  The first mix was all material from Eisenhower, but the second they shared with me a couple new songs and I gave them my mixes to use as demos to make a new record with.  This was about 5 years ago.

I have a amazing treat for this blog.  One of the demos I recorded back in the day made it on the Barr Brothers newest release.  To clarify my version didn’t make it on, but the song did.  I’m going to post both of them.  The first version of the song was recorded with Brad playing his acoustic guitar and Andrew playing the studios Steinway grand piano.  The second is the second track off the Barr Brother’s self titled release.  Same song, years apart.

O0h, Belle (Live at WERS) – The Barr Brothers

Ooh, Belle – The Barr Brothers

Pretty cool huh?  I don’t know how to play music very well but I’m pretty sure they changed the key.  I’d love to know what you guys think in the comments section below.  This is one of my favorite songs I was given the opportunity to record during my stay at WERS and as far as the record the music on this release is diverse and something that I could only see coming from the musicians that made it.  I think it is truly listeners music.  The nuances in it and the light additions of keys and the harp just bring light to the whole thing.  Not every song is as light a lullaby as Ooh, Belle after all they were in an experimental rock/ jazz outfit for many years.  Try this one on for size.

Give The Devil Back His Heart – The Barr Brothers

They still have the rock in them.  I love the guitar and vocal pairing on this song.  Brad Barr is an amazing guitar player and with the effects used on his vocals with his style of singing on this song it’s a little bit of a wake up and just shows how diverse these musicians really are.

There is a little blues element a little middle eastern rhythm and of course a jazzy element to this tune that really grabbed me and is definitely the standout on a record of standouts.  I think tune will drive all the points I just made home.  The next two tracks after Give The Devil Back His Heart are quiet acoustic songs, amazing, but then  we get to the 7th track on the record called Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Cryin’.  Welcome to the delta…

Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Cryin’ – The Barr Brothers

I can’t boast about these guys enough.  They are amazing musicians and from my limited interaction with them over the years, they are amazing people always generous to share new music and try new things.  I think this record is a testament to their efforts to try new styles of music and play the music that inspires them.  From the quietest notes of Ooh Belle to the loudest grittiest notes of Lord I Just Can’t… the dynamic range on this record is really one to be admired.  As a music fan I think I can recommend this band and this music to just about any one.

Deacons Son – The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers are currently touring on their new self titled release and will be making stops in Los Angeles on November 2nd at the Hotel Cafe.  Do your selves 2 favors.  Get your hands on this record.  It is available on Amazon and iTunes.  It is also available to listen to on Spotify.  Here is the last track from The Barr Brother’s self titled release.  Next time I’m going to write about the Muppets, yes the Muppets.

Let There Be Horses – The Barr Brothers

Boy & Bear – “Mexican Mavis” [VIDEO]

Boy & Bear

 

Boy & Bear are an amazing indie folk rock band from Sydney Australia. The members were originally from four separate bands until they decided to leave their respective collectives and represent one ‘a-little-bit-better’ band. After performing as Dave Hosking during 2008 the band decided to re-name the project and embrace a new direction and sound of 70’s folk rock. The combination of three songwriters has resulted in songs that refuse to stay within the boundaries of one genre.

 

Boy and Bear Moonfire Tour

 

Their first EP With Emperor Antartica was very successful in Australia and features one of my favorite tracks Mexican Mavis.  Boy & Bear completed their first full length album last month and recently announced a US tour for the album – starting in Los Angeles on October 10th and ending in Boston on October 22nd.   MOONFIRE is available on iTunes and other digital outlets. The album is ethereal and an entrancing enigma of hypnotic indie that’s been transfixing listeners left and right. Everyone from tastemakers to fans has been singing their praises.

 

 

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

Evan P. Donohue with “Rhythm & Amplitude” at The End in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I keep finding myself at punk rock shows in Nashville, but that’s not a bad thing.  Nashville’s punk scene has grown tremendously over the last four to five years and is now thriving.  This particular show at The End was packed with a younger crowd ready to rock, and I don’t think the bartender sold less than a hundred PBRs… per hour.  With a lineup of underground Nashville bands Watusi, Spanish Candles, Evan P. Donohue, and Diarrhea Planet, this show was set up to be a wild night.  All the bands that night put on killer shows, but I was particularly interested in hearing music from Evan P. Donohue and his band.

Evan P. Donohue is a local independent Nashville songwriter and artist who has set himself apart from the typical rock bands in Music City.  He writes intelligently through stories about semi-fictional characters and experiences from his life.  With his drummer Mike Kavouras, Donohue arranges and develops music that that creatively supports and nourishes the lyrics and stories in his songs.  There aren’t too many young indie rock bands with this combination of musical excellence and purpose behind clever ideas and words.  Evan P. Donohue continues to push his music to new heights, and released a full-length debut album last year called Rhythm & Amplitute to do just that.  Check out one of my favorite songs from the album, “O Justice!”

The entire album cannot be confined to just one specific genre because I find a complex combination of feels in the music that associate with past and contemporary rock, pop, surf-rock, and Americana artists.  This rings true, since some of Donohue’s influences are T.Rex, Elvis Costello, Of Montreal, Beach Boys, Tom Waits, and David Rawlings.  Rhythm & Amplitude plays with a variety of musical styles, and the songs are a collection of reality-turned fiction stories that blend while maintaining truth as their foundation.  Evan P. Donohue’s bio states, “Masterfully crafting sardonic portraits of decidedly earnest characters, Evan P. Donohue poetically chooses his words to express the struggles and affections his often tragic characters experience by the choices they’ve faced in life. The surf-rock ballad “California Sunshine” speaks of a middle-aged man who rebels against the monotony of his life, eventually finding peace and happiness “sleeping under Starlight”, a prostitute employed at the Mexican brothel where the track gets its title.”  I really couldn’t have said it better myself!  Check out some more music from Evan P. Donohue’s Rhythm & Amplitude:

Whether it’s taking old stories and making them new or creating new truths with current realities, Donohue has something undeniably great.  His music tells tales, embraces ideas, and develops new songs that go far beyond today’s pop hits.  Nashville seems like an excellent fit for this up-and-coming artist who is set to debut more recordings this fall.  On November 11, 2011, Evan P. Donohue will be releasing a 7-inch called Jazzputin.  The record will contain two new songs that I, and every single one of his fans are very excited about.  Listen to more music, stay up to date with Evan P. Donohue, and buy an Rhythm & Amplitude!

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

Spells debut “Escapist” album at Musicians Corner in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

It’s another Saturday in Nashville and if you’re the least bit interested in new music from Nashville, you have to be at Centennial Park for another round of bands at Musicians Corner.  There were a number of great artists that performed this week including a new electronic indie rock group called SPELLS.  Led by Trevor James Tillery, SPELLS made their debut performance at Musicians Corner, and gave themselves a great start to a promising season of promoting their new music.  That’s right, they also have a really impressive debut album called Escapist.

SPELLS independently released Escapist on July 15, 2011.  The album travels back and forth between serene melodies and big dirty electronic grooves.  Songs like “Escapist” and “Where Have You Been” really drive the album with dominating hooks and big Muse-like bass lines, while songs like “City on a Hill” reproduce a somber feel with ambient sweeps that seem to support lyrics about a broken world.  Overall, this is a really cool album that contains some very intelligent music.  Both the musicianship and songwriting replicate a great sound and fresh feel.  For example, “Transient” carries a tight groove in an ambient song about the mystery of life.  I feel the need to say, Jake Goss, I love the entrance with the crash on two after the rolls.  It puts a perfect touch on top of those phrases.  Enough of me talking about the music, take a listen to some killer new tracks from SPELLS:

Throughout Escapist, SPELLS “writes about a yearning for something beyond the modern world. He’s rebelling against the technology-saturated realm that adds layer upon layer of complication to life, causing dreams to become a small glimmer in the back of people’s minds as they chase the material.”  (Next Big Nashville).  Tillery has something important to say, and he’s saying it through his carefully-crafted melodic electro-pop.  “These are the kind of songs I write,” he reveals. “These are the things that I’m constantly thinking about and haunted by. And music is an outlet where I can get that out – an outlet to hopefully get other people thinking and start knocking down walls.”

Escapist was produced by Josh Niles and featured Trevor Tillery (vocals, guitars, keys), Brian McSweeney (vocal percussion, backing vocals), Jake Goss (drums), and Adrian Walther (bass).  After working on the record for the last year, it released this summer and has been getting a lot of local attention in Nashville.  SPELLS played at 12th & Porter on thursday night as part of Next Big Nashville’s Soundland Festival, which took place this week.  This is a band that you need to know about.  Keep listening and supporting SPELLS because they’ve really got something here.  Check them out online at spellsofficial.com.

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

The Format – Dog Problems [VIDEO]

Narrative: A forlorn hand gets his heart broken and searches for love.

Performance: None.  Well, the hand sings.  And plays trumpet.

Song: The title track of The Format’s second and last album, “Dog Problems,” is a masterpiece of orchestral indie pop that could just as easily be part of a musical as it could the soundtrack to a Zach Braff film.

Why You Should Watch It: It’s simple, cute, and smartly done on what was probably a non-existent budget.  It doesn’t look great, but it doesn’t have to.  It nails a homemade look that Spike Jonze or early Gondry would be proud of.  The visual gags come in rapid succession, some commenting on the song, others illustrating it

They followed up this by dressing their hands and knocking out a sock puppet video:

The band called it quits soon after “Dog Problems” was released in 2008, but fans of the sprawling sound can find plenty to love in singer/songwriter Nate Ruess’ follow-up project fun. (who just released a new single on their Facebook).

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

Interview with Beat-Play CEO – Dante Cullari

Beat-Play just announced their official public Beta launch. We’re here today with Beat-Play’s founder and CEO, Dante Cullari, to tell us some more about the company.

Dante, what is the goal of Beat-Play?

Beat-Play’s aim is to provide an optimized digital infrastructure to the music industry as a whole. We want our tools to encompass a full spectrum of opportunities for artists and fans to create, promote, distribute, monetize, organize and listen to music. We understand that there is no one perfect solution that will work for everybody, so our goal is really to provide a number of options for each of the different components of the music industry I just mentioned. All of this is now made significantly easier with digital, online and social technologies, and we feel that centralizing these solutions by defragmenting music into one rich community will also be beneficial for everyone. We want to help create the foundation for a long lasting, sustainable and prosperous world music industry online, as we move forward into the future.

What does Beat-Play offer artists and fans right now?

Our first and current product addresses promotion and distribution for artists (or discovery and sharing for fans), organization and playback. Right now, Beat-Play is a streaming player that promotes music to fans with something we call Bump, which is a search based on tags, or keywords that the user enters. Listeners can use Moods, Locations, Artist Names, Genres, Activities or really almost anything, to describe the music that they want to hear. Beat-Play then creates a custom playlist for the listener consisting of both music and videos (via Souncloud, Youtube and Beat-Play itself) based on matches to the user’s tags. These playlists are updated in real time as music is continually added to the service and tagged. Fans can then save the music that they find and like into playlists, and share these playlists with their friends through Facebook.

While the current product currently offers limited functionality, our next product will focus on adding in new options, as well as improving current ones.

What are you working on for the future?

Our next product will address several issues. We’re working on mobile to improve access. The next product will also be socially integrated which again will aid in promotion and distribution, or sharing and discovery, and we hope to also include some more options for user customization. We want to make organizing and managing your listening experience better, with more custom presets, which again, will help in discovery and also fan retention.

The next big step for us then is really artist monetization. As mentioned before, we realize that one option will not be sufficient for every artist, so we’re planning on introducing things like music and merch stores, ticketing and show booking, commercial music license stores or auctions, and even advertising opportunities.

Advertising is actually something I want to briefly touch on – To quote the Facebook movie, “Advertising isn’t cool.”  In the movie that’s really all they needed to say about it before just turning their backs on it. I feel that this is an attitude that most companies have towards advertising, but nobody really wants to be the one to challenge it. On Beat-Play, we’ve come up with a way around this.

First of all, artists on Beat-Play will own their own ad space, and they can leverage their statistics on Beat-Play and on Facebook to negotiate better rates with sponsors. As far as the ads themselves, you wont see annoying and interruptive commercials, or huge flashy banners. Our ads will instead be designed to actually add to the listener’s experience by offering pieces of bonus content relevant to the artist or the music itself. It could be a music video, a cool app, or even a video game. If it’s Skrillex, maybe it’s a Dj app. If it’s Slightly Stoopid, maybe it’s a surfing game you can play while listening to the music. Also, the listeners won’t be distracted by these ads. On the player itself we’ll use something that we call postage stamp ads, because they’re just about the size of a postage stamp. If the user doesn’t want to engage with the ads, they don’t have to, and they won’t be interrupted by them. For the people who do choose to engage with the ads, they’ll get some additional content that they couldn’t have gotten otherwise, creating incentive to actually share ad content. This provides a great revenue stream to the artists, allows the fans to continue to listen to their favorite music for free potentially, and also provides some great cred for the sponsors involved. Everybody really wins, and this even has some great potential to curb piracy for artists. These are the kinds of solutions that we’re looking forward to making available to the music industry in the near future, using digital technologies to make it happen.

How can people help?

Get on board now. It’s only going to get better, and for artists especially, it’s a good idea to start gaining their fan-base here so they can get their statistics up. Even if they’re not on Beat-Play though, building Facebook statistics will still help them out, and Beat-Play could still help promote an artist if their music is on Soundcloud, Youtube or Jamendo right now. So not being on Beat-Play doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t still benefit from it, but it’s a good idea to get on there now as we’ll really be able to offer the fans a better experience with their music on Beat-Play if they do. It’s completely free, so there’s nothing lost by trying it, and for fans right now we really offer some great discovery and organization options, along with unlimited, uninterrupted free streaming. Mobile is obviously something we’re really excited about pushing out next.

As we continue to grow, we will really need help from the artists and fans to support and build this community. We need artists to upload their music and tell their friends and their fans. We also need artists to work together in helping to support and promote each other by tagging fellow artists in their own songs. Most of all though, we need artists and fans to really take ownership of this community, and take advantage of the free options we’re putting out there. This really does need to be a team effort, and I think we have the strength and the ability as indie artists to build something huge, so that we can have the kind of impact that we need in order to benefit all of the incredibly talented independent artists out there that are struggling right now, and also to impact the fans that are missing out on a lot of great music because of it. We’ve had a great response from artists so far, and we’re confident that these solutions will bring some big changes to the way the music industry operates in the coming years.

You can go to Beatplay.com right now to sign up, and you’ll be asked to login with your Facebook account. We don’t auto-post to anybody’s walls, or publish any user information, not even on the Beat-Play player itself right now, so your account will still be completely secure.

If you have issues or suggestions, please contact us! We are still in beta so we understand there’s a lot of room for us to grow, but we’re working really hard with our small team to keep up with the demand for more features. The player is best used with Firefox right now also. Again, we really appreciate the support of the independent music community that we’re getting, from both artists and fans, and we’re extremely excited to get to the next level!

Dante, thank you so much for the interview.

Absolutely, Thank you!

To get you started, here are some awesome playlists courtesy of the Beat-Play team – over 6 hours of great tunes:

Beat-Play Launch Mixtape (dubstep, house, indie, hip hop, r&b, electro, other)

 

Mellow Music Mix (Reggae, Indie, Dub)

 

 

Kendrick Lamar Mix (Hip hop)

 

 

Interview by: Kian Bardikalaie

Lovedrug – “Dinosaur” [VIDEO]

Narrative: A group of trouble making girls are followed through the woods by a monster.

Performance: None.

Song: One of two singles released this year by the indie stalwarts (Together since ’01.  Stalwarts, right?), it blends singer Michael Shepard’s distinctive delivery and evocative lyrics with a danceable, clap-along rhythm.

Why You Should Watch It:  What I love most is the video’s clever play on the low-budget trope of animal costumes.  The whole thing plays jusssst this side of fantasy and we can believe that the Yeti that appears is meant to be “real” in the world of the piece.  The twist at the end reveals that it is not, just a Jesse Eisenberg look alike who wanted to be part of the action.  Singer Shepard was originally a film student, and his eye for visual storytelling is on display from beginning to end.  Attention was clearly paid to composition and light – especially evidenced by the gorgeous shot of the girls running and shooting off fireworks at 2:58.  Now if only they’d dealt with THAT low-budget cliche, Lovedrug might’ve had a minor low classic here.

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |