Tag Archives: piano

New Faces Nite at The Basement in Nashville, TN with Emily Davis, Jeffrey James, Stephanie Nilles and more! [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I’ve been going to a lot of shows recently.  I’ve been to five venues in the last four days; one festival and four concerts.  Am I tired?  No.  Am I sick of music?  No.  Am I nuts?  Well, that has yet to be proved or disproved, so we’ll leave that question out of the mix for now.  What you should know is that on most Tuesday nights, The Basement in Nashville has New Faces Nite, a free show with great bands.   In case you missed it, that’s a FREE show with GREAT bands.

This week was another example of a stellar New Faces Nite at The Basement.  First up was Emily Davis, an acoustic folk rock artist from El Paso, TX.  With the tough job of opening the night, Emily used her strong vocals and “darkly optimistic” lyrics to warm up the crowd.  Second of the night was a new local rock artist named Jeffrey James.  Jeffrey and his backing band called The Professional Children took the stage and released a blend of blues and soulful rock from his latest EP called Goin’ Back Down.  The album was produced by Nashville veteran Lex Lipstiz, who said, “Jeffrey James has one of those classic soul voices.  With his bigger than life stage presence and commanding vocal delivery, he definitely sells you on every word… I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s a huge star.”  Well, I think that’s about one of the biggest compliments you can get from a producer, so if you like rock with a little country, blues, and soul thrown in the mix, check out Jeffrey James.  These artists had good music and played well, but I would like to highlight the crowd favorite of the night.

Photo by Kellie Coughlin.

Stephanie Nilles is not your typical jazz-infused punk folk artist.  If you want to listen to something fresh, but are tired of all the Ingrid Michaelson, Grizzly Bear, and Feist indie band imitations, her music is sure to wake you up.  New Faces Nite at The Basement was my first time hearing Stephanie Nilles, and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard an artist be so creatively bold with their music on stage.  She has taken her training as a classical pianist and developed an amazing jazz and blues style filled with her own unique embellishments for each song.  Rolling Stone has even said, “she’s like ‘Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor.’  Whoa!  There’s a review that won’t go in one ear and out the other.  Even if you have your own personal preferred style of music, I think that her music is powerful enough that you can appreciate it at the least, especially if you’re a musician.  Check out the song “For a High Life Commercial” by Stephanie Nilles.

Photo by Leonard Lopp.

She’s different, but brilliant in a twisted sense that maybe she writes from thoughts that you have had, but didn’t exactly want to communicate because of what people would think about you.  I think this is a huge part of Stephanie’s music.  She also has the musical talent to back up anything she sings in that dirty Regina Spektor tone of hers.  These also aren’t your typically structured songs either, with syllables that land when they want and fully diminished seventh chords that appear in thoughtlessly considered, appropriate places.  Stephanie communicates what she wants when she wants to, and it’s thoroughly entertaining every time.  Check out another one of her songs called “Cool Aid Stand.”

If you’ve been having as much fun listening to Stephanie Nilles as I have, check out more of her music at www.stephanienilles.com.  The other bands that played that night (that I didn’t get to see) were Boom Forest, I Believe in Hotpants, and Haley Dreis.  I’ll be on the look out to cover some of these artists at a later date.  Until then, keep supporting independent music!

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

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Bon Iver – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Live in Studio) [VIDEO]

Justin Vernon sings a gorgeous, one-take rendition of Bon Iver, Bon Iver B-side “I Can’t Make You Love Me” / “Nick of Time” in an intimate studio setting, backed only by an upright piano. Watch Vernon channel Bonnie Raitt circa 1991 above.

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

Soap & Skin – “Turbine Womb” [MUSIC]

soap and skin

It’s not everyday that you’re captured by a new age classical piece while stumbling through the internet, but it was impossible to leave this track alone, having played it almost 10 times prior to writing this post. I know it’s a bit older, released in 2009 but “Turbine Womb” is an incredibly moving experimental composition by the 21 year-old Austrian vocal, piano, violin performing sensation Anja Franziska Plaschg.

Anja brings an interesting feeling to her dark ambient style, adding a touch of beauty to every stroke of the keys. It’s songs such as these, while lacking lyrical passion, touching on a multitude of emotions that help reveal the true art in a sound.  I’d imagine coming from Vienna has had a great influence on Soap&Skin’s creative soul. Be sure to visit Soap&Skin here.

Written By: Mark G. Valente | Online Marketing Director | @MarkwithMWL

Goot – “Pretty Eyes” [VIDEO]

Music videos are in a weird place right now.  No one really airs them, and as artists make less and less money, the bells and whistles of slick promotional materials become harder to justify.  Can’t knock it; that’s how it should be.  A musician’s music should always come first, but as a guy who loves the artform and enjoys making them, it’s kind of sad.  Artists still want nice videos, they just don’t want them to cost anything either, leaving us film/video/moving picture makers constantly challenged to turn out eye-catching work for free or with minimal resources.   The bright side is that the people who are left doing it are as passionate as the musicians.  We’re a slightly disturbed bunch, ready to put our rent on the line to do what we love.

This ongoing column will highlight videos for/by/with/from independent bands and directors making the most of what they have to kick your eyes and ears out yo’ head and earn a spot on your Twitter feed.

Narrative: Alex Goot meets a wide-eyed faerie and squires her through an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

Performance: Goot backlit at a piano.  It’s revealed he’s playing to the faerie at the end.  Meh.

Song: Cheez-Whiz pop.  For crackers, etc.  As far as talented youngins go though, Goot is one of the best.  He almost makes “Fireflies” bearable.  Almost.

He also plays all his own instruments and produces all his own tracks:

Kid’s been in the game since MySpace was popular (learn more about that here) and has not slowed down.  When the industry comes knocking, he’s going to make an amazing songwriter and producer if nothing else.

Why You Should Watch It: Because holy crap we live in a day and age where a camera available at Best Buy can be pointed at just about anything and make it look like   It’s a little miracle called the Rebel t2i, and along with its older brothers the 7D and 5D, you’ll be seeing its name in this column pretty often so click here and learn a little about the camera line changing micro-budget videomaking.  Granted, director Kurt Schneider has a solid eye and knows how to use locations, available light and attractive people to his advantage.  Images like the ones at 1:03, 1:18, and 3:23 don’t happen by accident.  They’re not beautiful in the “we spent thirty minutes composing this frame” way, but they feel honest.  They pluck at a nostalgic place in our brains, give us the feeling we’ve been there, like a handheld Norman Rockwell. The budgetary limitations are obvious – not everything is lit well, and there are occasionally double and triple shadows that look cheap – but for the most part, it’s a cute doc-style video that features some prettier than average pictures and will play well to its target audience.

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

Luke Slott – Create in Me a Pure Heart [MUSIC]

Create in Me a Pure Heart Cover Art

The enchanting music of Luke Slott has been compared to Philip Glass and Michael Nyman. Born to a family of actors, musicians, writers, producers and choreographers, and raised in a house with a hundred talking parrots, dogs, rabbits and reptiles, the 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist Slott grew up in the menagerie of his Dublin family home hearing music – human and animal – from all sides. His brother Mike Slott forms half of acclaimed hip hop duo, Heralds of Change, while their father, the late trumpet-player Mike Nolan, was the founder of Ireland’s longest-running jazz club.

At the age of twelve, Luke began learning the trumpet from his father via old records by jazz legends like Chet Baker and Miles Davis, and then went on to study classical piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Having won the Heineken Green Energy Band Challenge and signed a major record deal at the tender age of 18, Slott spent several years as lead singer with Irish rock band Melaton, but after two critically-acclaimed singles and a never-released album, he left the band and started to explore other areas of music.

In 2005, Slott conceived and hosted a series of multi-cultural-house-concerts entitled ‘Unity-in-Diversity’ in his Dublin family home, where crowds of friends and neighbours would gather each week to attend intimate performances by some of Ireland’s leading musicians, and recitals by some of her best-loved poets. Saxophonist Keith Donald (Moving Hearts), flautist Brian Dunning (Puck Fair), violinist Cora Venus Lunny, cellist-singer Vyvienne Long, poets Macdara Woods and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, as well as a host of Irish bands including the Chapters and Star Turtle, were among the many artists who shared their talents in Slott’s family home. ‘Sometimes we’d have 70 people packed into these concerts in our living-room,’ Slott recalls. ‘Each week we would cook food from a different part of the world, and share some ideas from different cultures. It was a big undertaking, but I think it brought a lot of people together.’

In 2006, Slott left Ireland and moved to New York, where he taught music, played piano in restaurants, and honed his song-writing skills in the clubs and open-mics of downtown Manhattan. A year and a half later, he returned to Ireland and set out on a tour of house-concerts around the country (‘I just called a bunch a friends and said, “Hey, can I play a concert in your house?”,’ says Slott). In between playing concerts in living-rooms around Ireland, he began to record a batch of piano compositions which he had written in the years since Melaton. He then launched his own website, and promised a free 2-track CD of his piano music to the first 1000 visitors to www.lukeslott.com. He indeed fulfilled his promise, and sent 1000 free CDs around the world. ‘It broke the bank,’ says Slott, ‘but I think fans really appreciate getting a gift directly from the artist. It has given me an invaluable connection to my listeners.’

Slott continues to sing and write songs and promises a return to the singer-songwriter scene in due course, but his ambitious debut release as a solo artist is the instrumental ‘Don’t Go Back To Sleep’, a collection of ten pieces for solo piano whose darkly humorous waltzes hint at Slott’s love of Chopin – a fitting nod to his own Polish ancestry.

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

The Fkin Awesome Indie Artist Playlist #2

Welcome to the second Fkin Awesome Indie Artist Playlist. This week we’re featuring artists from the old MusicWithoutLabels.com. It wasn’t easy to pick these artists out of all of the artists we have signed up, but these songs are a good representation of all the awesome music and artists we have on board already. Enjoy!

1. A Public Betrayal – Monster

2. Apex Vibe – Saturday Morning

3. Lisa Lavie – Everything or Nothing

4. Vinny Vegas – Watch out for Mastadons

5. The World at Large – Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

6. Tim Yunker – A Mile Away

7. Crimson Faced – Pretty People

8. Dani Rosenoer – Punching Keys

9. Salem – Harvest

10. Lindsay Katt – My Happy

11. Ria – Alright

12. Nichole Halleen & the Projects – Move on

13. Soul Cannon – Dilapidated Buildings

14. Derek Stroker – Believe

15. Mia Moth – Blow 4 Blow (Last Video on Page)

Joan As Police Woman – “Magic” [MUSIC]

Joan Wasser is a sensational musician and absolutely outdoes herself with this hit from her latest album released this January, “The Deep Field”. Being a violinist, pianist, lyricist, and vocalist Joan grabs all the characteristics of a well-rounded musician which is greatly apparent in this track. The funky backbeat brings a cool twist to the pop sound we’ve all heard. After you listen to this song about 300 times, you can catch the rest of her album by visiting her website here

Gavin Mikhail – “Brave” [Video]

I ran into this song, and coincidentally Gavin Mikhail, by accident this morning. Mikhail is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN. Normally, I’d insert a brief description of the artist, but any attempt to would pale in comparison to Gavin’s own description of himself as an artist. “Brave” is a moving ballad, a introspective dedication, that speaks of an issue men in our society often have difficulty expressing. You can check out the video below:

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Deas Vail – “Excuses” – [VIDEO]

Deas Vail is a indie-rock band formed in Arkansas. “Excuses” is off their most recent album, Birds & Cages. The band is currently recording their sixth studio album. Check out the official music video of “Excuses” below:

You can find out more about Deas Vail at their facebook and twitter pages.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Sadie Fleming – [MUSIC REVIEW]

Hailing from the United Kingdom, there is really only one word that can describe the music of Sadie Fleming. Beautiful. The way Fleming beautifully sings over piano and acoustic guitar will calm your body and mind to the point that her music will actually take over.

Fleming is a natural when it comes to singing and playing music and it definitely shows in all of the work I have listened to.  Her MySpace is filled with great music along with an unbelievable version of “Wonderwall”.  You can also listen to Sadie Fleming’s music HERE.