Archive for July, 2006

Album – The Great Unconformity – Clever Bastards

Posted by admin on 21st July 2006

Sometimes I hear a song from an artist that strikes a particular chord. The song in particular was “Play Away” which unless you are of a certain age and grew up in the UK, you probably wouldn’t have heard before. The song was the theme tune to a popular kids TV show and holds some particularly fond memories for me. The Clever Bastards released the song as a kind of World Cup single, but it’s also here on the album. I heard that track and just had to get the album in for review. To say I wasn’t disappointed is an understatement.

The album opens with the amazing “All We’ve Ever Asked For”. The lead singer Mike Curley has that texture of voice that reminds me a lot of Slade’s front man, Noddy Holder. Maybe that’s not too surprising when you know they are both from the same neck of the woods in the Midlands, UK. Mike’s formerly of Birmingham, UK, now lives in Seattle, US and has surrounded himself with some great musical talents.

I love the way that mandolins have been featured throughout, it gives the album a very distinctive edge, especially when combined with Mike’s great vocals. The guitars also have a great sound, especially the acoustics. The great sound has a lot to do with the way this album has been recorded and produced, I’m sure. There’s a very live feel, which works very well. Also dotted throughout the album are some great soundscapes, with sounds of the great outdoors and Mike seemingly writing in a journal or on a blackboard, I can’t makeout which.

If you haven’t guessed already, I think this is an absolutely amazing album. Being a Brit abroad, as Mike is, I’m sure there’s that hint of camaraderie, but make no mistake, this album gets an almost perfect score from me, purely on merit.

I love the track “Big City” which for me would have been the perfect track to close the album. A special mention has to also go to “Crazy” which has a feel far removed from the rest of the album, but adds some really colour to the album, with it’s bluesy jazzy just jammin’ feel.

Conclusion : You just need to hear just a few words from Mike’s mouth before you know it’s a Clever Bastards track, which is only reinforced by the great ensemble cast of musicians. This is easily one of my favorite albums so far this year.

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Album – Run All Night – Rachael Cantu

Posted by admin on 19th July 2006

Sometimes I receive albums and EPs, in addition to review materials requested and sometimes I receive totally non solicited music, which always has me on edge, as sometimes it’s not to my taste. Indie Launchpad is all about showcasing the best of independent music, but it’s pretty much tracked down and requested by me. So when I place a CD in the player for the first time, of something I have no clue of what to expect, there’s a certain amount of excitement and a certain amount of trepidation. With Run All Night I need not have worried.

I’ve said over and over again, that I’m a sucker for a beautiful voice, but it’s more than that. A beautiful voice is very nice, but without character, it’s just another beautiful voice. Rachael Cantu has the whole package, a pretty face and a voice like a razor blade, cutting through pure silk. An angel in a wilderness of despair, but it’s not that this is a depressing album. It’s hard to put my finger on, but it’s almost like listening in to someone’s therapy. Melancholy facing anger. Bitterness meeting beauty.

This is relatively short album, at just 8 tracks and a little of 27 minutes, but all of those tracks, showcase Rachael’s incredibly beautiful voice. Opening very strongly with “Hear My Laughter”, it gives you a good idea of what to expect for the rest of the album. If I’m choosing standout tracks, they would have to be “Saturday”, which is probably the rockiest track on the album and the song that sends shivers down my spine, “Blood Laughs” with it’s ethereal organ backing, I can easily listen to that track over and over again without ever getting bored. In some ways it reminds me a lot of Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “hallelujah”. “My First War” is another song at a slightly more upbeat tempo, but the flavor of this album is very dark and moody, without broiling in depression.

Conclusion : After listening to this album, I felt like I’d been smacked in the face and woken up from some kind of slumber, only to have my face gently stroked after. Wondrous stuff indeed.

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Book – Indie Bible – David Wimble

Posted by admin on 14th July 2006

I don’t review many books on Indie Launchpad, but sometimes I see a book that so needs to be featured. That book is the Indie Bible.

Music is all about passion. Musicians put their heart and soul into what they do. Many do it because it’s like a fire that burns within. Some do it because they like to feel what they do affects people, in no matter how small a way and some do it because they have something to say. Ultimately everyone that is featured in Indie Launchpad and indeed the majority of artists, all want to have as many people as possible listen to their creations and I have no doubt that the Indie Bible can dramatically help in boosting an artists exposure.

The book is broken down into seven sections:

  1. Reviewers of Independent Music
  2. “Regional” Publications and Resources
  3. Radio Stations and Shows That are Willing to Play Independent Music
  4. Services That Will Help You to Sell Your Music
  5. Sites That Will Allow You to Upload Your Music Video Files
  6. Helpful Resources for Musicians and Songwriters
  7. Articles That Will Help You to Succeed in the Music Business

Just to give you an additional idea, to the depth and breadth of this book, here’s the authors own breakdown:

  1. 4200 publications that will REVIEW your music!
  2. 3400 radio stations that will PLAY your songs!
  3. 600 services that will help you to SELL your music!
  4. 350 sites where you can UPLOAD your bands MP3s or videos!
  5. 52 articles that will help your music career to SUCCEED!

Please don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a get yourself famous quick book. Don’t just blindly look up your region or genre of music and blanket submit your music. Do the research. Sending your material to a company or service with no interest is a waste of their time and yours, not to mention the associated costs. The book has a great opening on how to use the book and is well worth reading.

If there were a general business book like this, it would easily be in the top 10 best seller list. In fact companies like the Economist earn a substantial amount by compiling lists like this and selling them to companies, to target mail outs. This is definitely an area that the Indie Bible should consider. Imagine being able to enter your criteria on a web page and receive back a file that you can mail merge into a word processing file, now that would be powerful stuff.

Conclusion : When all is said and done, for about the price of a 50 pack of blank CDs, you can gain a huge amount of useful knowledge and leverage yourself further up the exposure ladder. Many areas of business have their so called bibles, for independent musicians, this is it. Available in both regular and electronic print versions, this should certainly be a part of any musicicans toolkit.

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Album – All Day Sucker – All Day Sucker

Posted by admin on 7th July 2006

Sometimes I wonder why I choose to start sentences off with the word sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes however, I hear a a new artist that makes my mind boggle as to why they haven’t made it to the [Open Quotes]Big Time[Close Quotes], for this album being reviewed, is from 2004 and a cracking album it is too.

Opening with the track “Get High”, this is an album that goes for the jugular from the get go. OK, so maybe jugular is a bit extreme, but it’s a track that certainly wouldn’t embarrass itself in the top 10 and indeed serves as my favorite track on the album. “Worst Case Scenario” is another track where you just can’t get the melody out of your head. It’s also a track with it’s tongue firmly in it’s cheek, with some great lyrics. “Camila Rose” is another song with a great melody and indeed great melodies just exude from every pore of this album. In fact most of the tracks are a perfect example of well crafted pop songs. The album ends as it starts with the strong and catchy “Foundation”, sheer class.

For a debut album this is certainly a very assured and accomplished release. I think the only gripe I have of the album is that it’s 2 years old and I’m only getting to hear about it now, but hopefully that equates to a new release in the near future.

Conclusion : This is a great album with such a great overall sound. There’s a real loose feel, with some great vocals that are very distinctive. A sure fire winner in my books.

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