The NBT Review 19 Part Three



No Hang-Ups – Dialtone (Independent Release)

Hey it’s the early 70s; hey it’s when Brian Eno still loved being in Roxy Music, hey its Rick Okasek fooling around with a dream Beach Boys monster created by Mathew Sweet.


It’s 2008 and you are listening to ‘Summer’ the opening track of Dialtone’s new album.

It’s a skewed new wave, incorporating  the tension of the best of indie of the past years, with a love for the hooks and sly glamour of the neon ghosts from way back then.

The single, ‘ Emo T-shirt’ is a ragged anthem for those self aware college fans tired of the too clean sad eyed beautiful fakes that sing to them normally.

This is what happens when you take the pristine structure of the PoP song for indie kids, and roll it around in the street and dirt outside the punk club.

Stand out track and a glimpse of edgier paths soon to be followed, is, ‘Still Sleeping’ which manages to combine the scary side of Cheap Trick along with the quirky emotional harmonies of leftfield artists like Sufjan Stevens.

This is a CD to be played often, allowing its (not so) tender charms to eat their way inside your rock n roll heart.

Find out more here:


Jonah’s Revenge – Matt Tyler (Dannyboy Music)

As the songs roll past, images are concocted of a Texan Troubadour, singing a rowdy bar to contemplative silence, or a Springsteen creating rough demos in the middle of the night, or a denim clad Eagles roadie finally going it alone, with his own stories and secrets.

There is Americana and folk and heartfelt rock, all instruments played by this Birmingham native, utilizing a left of centre warmth and a natural feel for personal , intimate moments.

With a voice just on the right side of rough, Tyler allows the songs to soar melodically through uncluttered arrangements, hooking into the mind with a wry pop sensibility.

Stand out tracks for this reviewer are ‘Icarus’ which swoops and dives through the air like the character in the title and the sweetly orchestrated, ‘Lorraine’

If you can imagine the aural lovechild of Buckley in his folk phase, and early David Grey, this album captures that perfectly.

To listen further go here


Hear tracks from both these albums on the NBT Podcast going out on the 28th Nov  

The NBT Review 19 Part Two


Broken Symmetries – Peter Greenstone (independent release)

From Nothing the sounds of the soul journey fade in and out. This music has the pull the mood, the heaviness and the ancient thoughtfulness of the ever shifting sighing tragic dreaming of the ocean. Subdivide swirls and builds, from an almost weary question then making/taking beautiful drama from the otherness of the mathematics that keeps the world glued together.

Iridium Flare talks of space, time and gentle deception, is this a scientist with a broken heart? A cowboy who fell in love with science?

These stories, these mysteries, these elegant intricate songs make magic of sparks and flutters, of the love of buildings for the empty open spaces of wilder forgotten times.

These are mood poems that dare to be intelligent, they are equations structured with sadness and longing.

There is no detachment here though, the sheer quiet deep passion of these very personal notes from an artist, seep through every piano note and orchestral sigh.

Any listener, who is not touched, captivated by the lovely lonely ‘Emmet’ has a heart of stone.

I fell in love with this recording, these songs.

Buy this album and much more at the artist’s website


Tabula Rasa EP – OurAfter (Independent Release)

John Phillips started this turbulent year by writing a blog for NBT about the independent music scene in Pennsylvania, a rare text of promise and optimism and now his band finishes the year with the release of a five song EP that seeks out new sounds while keeping what worked so well in their previous release.

‘Push The Pill’ opens the set and balances an intimate vocal against a swooping heavy power chord structure, never losing touch with the melodic heart of the thing.

The EP is full of pure pop moments, allowing rough edges to slide into the perfect polish, injecting tinges of darker edgier rhythms from indie grunge influences (Envious Eyes) to  the more anthem like sounds of ‘Echo’ that recall Joshua Tree period U2.

The band talks of  a ‘mainstream crossover,’ with this EP, and in the creation of these songs have set their sights high, high in the charts of the indie playlists, on the radios and podcasts across the world.

With a set of memorable melodies and crafted thoughtful production, Tabula Rasa should find their dreams coming true.

Find out more here


Hear  Tracks from both of these albums on the NBT podcast going out on the 28th Nov

The NBT Review 19 (part one)


The NBT Review 19 (Part One)

A whole bunch of stuff to get through,( it may take TWO blogs methinks) and in keeping with the NBT Ethos, a wonderfully eclectic bunch of sounds and clutter it is too. Before I begin, just one thing all those that read this ought to know: we here at NBT only write reviews on music we find/think/feel and BELIEVE is good, even maybe great, possibly future masterpieces even. If we think an album is crap, badly constructed, derivative, lazy or BLAND (the worst crime) we just won’t write about it. Independent artists have enough bother and difficulties getting their music out there without a whole bunch of negative opinions thrown together on blogs and podcasts. That doesn’t mean I DON’T sit at home and privately tear apart the latest clean cut emo worthy soul, or poke bitter fun at yet another fake punk with nice hair who got her dad or uncle to write some tunes for her :P. I am only human after all. J


Onwards to the music.


BirdEatsBaby reviewed by Martin Smit

Holmes reviewed by William Elliot


China Doll EP – BirdEatsBaby (Independent Release)

When Rock flirts with Cabaret, the thrills of the former (daring, egotistical, immortal) are chilled in red glow by the latter (fragile, sacred, self destructive).

BirdEatsBaby knows that the stage they create and inhabit is a strange often lonely place, just a shiny razorblade edge away from the most chaotic heaven or the most serene hell.

The voice in these songs is almost innocent, fresh, almost too pure, it’s the friend’s voice during an out of control drug trip, and makes you feel safer than you should.

The piano is sleazy, and the rhythms swagger like show tunes Bob Fosse dreamt violent before he died.

This is music from a candlelit room, windows protected from the cities howl by dark thick curtains, a mirror showing flame flicker and slightly distorted images of the lipstick smeared wounded.

And underneath this sadness, a smirk, a quiet heart beat, not lost for those that listen closer and drift down amongst the swoops and cackles.

Buy this EP here:


Basement Tapes EP – Holmes (Groove Gravy Records)

Take a warmer hearted Donald Fagen, mix in the skewed country that Beck sometimes orchestrates, and add a huge dollop vulnerability and you have some idea of the charm of this CD.

From the love/hate song for the singers computer, to the slyly jazzy groove of the David Bowie cover, the music is never less than gently captivating and honestly unpretentiously charming.

This is crafted pure pop, not too afraid to be called easy listening, but with out sacrificing depth and some degree of internal pathos.

Decide for yourself here

Catch BirdEatsBaby on next weeks NBT Podcast AND in December on the NBT WonderfulOnes Best of the year Specials.


The CyberPR (Ariel Publicity)New Media Pioneer Interviews 7


New Media Pioneer: Jody Whitesides of Blog


Essentially this is a daily blog that will be a song that fits the mood the writer is in for the day or whats currently happening in the world. It will always be a band or artist th writer thinks the audience should know about, and support by purchasing the music or seeing them play live. Who knows, you might dig his taste in others enough to even support him in his creative endeavors as well.


Q:: How long have you been blogging?

A I’ve been doing the Single of the Day blog since June 27th, 2006. That puts me at a little over the two year mark and counting. That’s a post for every day! It’s not always easy.


Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: Being that I’m a songwriter I’m probably more critical of the music I select for the blog. If I come across a song that somehow grabs me and does fit my normal ideals, I’ll point that out on the blog. I’ll explain what it is that grabs me in the song.


First off an intro that has a vibe that either piques my ear or draws me in is a major plus. That could be a hook of any sort, be it a vocal, a guitar, a piano, a bass, a drum, something that clearly denotes that song as soon as I hear it. Once the song comes in it has to have some sort of flow. A vibe, often times a bounce or swing. So much music these days lacks flow. How good the people playing their instruments are comes into consideration as well. Being in tune helps a bunch. With that typed, production rarely makes a bad song better. The real trick is getting me to feel it in some way. Then come the lyrics, can I remember them? Is the melody supporting those words? Does the music support that melody? Does the singer sing in tune? Do they have a voice that is pleasing to my ear? Do I get a nice journey in the lyrics? Tell me something that I can relate a portion of my life to and do it in a way that is unique.


Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: I used to have favorites when I was learning to play. Once I got to a certain level of playing ability on my main instrument I no longer had favorites. Then my focus shifted to songwriting, adifferent beast from being a technically good/great musician. Some bands have had great players that are/were great writers. At this point, I really don’t have favorite bands anymore. As for genres, well… I primarily dig the all encompassing field of Rock. However, I’m very much into combining that with other genres. For my listening though, I really will listen to a lot of genres and if a song really grabs me, I’ll buy it. If the whole album is really strong, I’ll buy the album. I much prefer an album over a single. But it has to kick ass front to back. That’s hard to do, even for me (with my own releases). I think the real question is: what music gets one to part with their hard earned money. Anything that can do that is probably able to be listed as a favorite.


Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?

A: I’m probably about to shoot myself in the foot with this answer. My rep at SESAC, Derek Sivers, Brian A. Whitney, and many of my musical peers, were all really excited to hear about the blog when I started it a couple of years ago. I’m actually amazed I’m still doing it. Every single day. I tend to focus mostly on non-signed or blog/podcast friendly artists. Which makes it easy for them to give me permission to have their song play when someone visits the site. I could allow the player to play the music in the RSS feed, but I’ve opted not to do that incase I get attacked with some arcane law. In a way, I get the feeling, I’m sorta flying under the radar. Who knows what the future will bring. I don’t make anything substantial off the blog, maybe a few pennies here and there based on google ads. It’s not much money, certainly not enough to justify why I do it. I don’t take money or bribes to be on the blog either. It’s strictly stuff I choose that shows I love music, it’s that simple. If I got hit with a lawsuit, I’d first see if there’s some arrangement to avoid the lawsuit. Otherwise, I’d probably have stop the idea of playing the music and continue by only talking about it.


Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel blogs have that power?

A: At risk of being a dick (I have a sticker that says, “Don’t Be A Dick”) I will say the following about Myspace. Myspace screwed themselves with poor usability. At first it was an ok way to find music and match it with fans. The closed system did not, and still does not allow for easy personalization of a page – not exactly what I would define as ‘my’ space. It took 3rd party developers to come up with ways to make myspace more useful. Smart peeps used the programs to target very specific profiles and gain fans. There was some weird belief that if you had X amount of friends on Myspace you’d get signed. So bands would spend hours a day on myspace looking for anyone to friend them.


Since I’m not a fan of promoting my music to other bands and vis versa, I don’t accept band requests on my myspace page. Of the 19,000 or so peeps I have there, maybe 50 are band pages in my friends list. But they’re all bands I know personally or have written with. My reason on that is: it’s a waste of time if it’s not making a sale.Which is probably why Myspace failed to really generate amazing sales for most bands, attempting to sell to other bands. I’m sure a few people got something out of myspace. I doubt you’ll see any new band come out of it now. Why? Myspace killed off all the ability to mass communicate. They’ve turned their back on the artists that helped create the site and are now bowing to the major labels. I understand it from a business sense. But it’s going to prevent them from returning to the “cool” status they had two years ago.


Blogs on the other hand are a whole different beast. They are generally much more personal. A way for a human to expose themselves. If that exposure of the self is something others happen to like, it ends up creating a community. When Single of the Day first got off the ground, I had a lot of people offering me suggestions to check out music. Some were great suggestions, lots of others not so much. The idea of an artist doing a review of other artists seemed to be something people really liked. My blog has morphed a bit. I’ve incorporated way more of my own musings of what I go thru as an artist into it. I remember the blog post where I made that switch. I then attempt to relate me to the song I pick in some way shape or form. I actually have no idea if people truly read it or not. My desire is readers get something from it. That something is the song. It always surprises me when people tell me “oh you know when you wrote…” it shows they are paying attention. I know artists have made sales because of Single of the Day. That makes me feel good. I also get emails from readers saying how much a song meant to them so they buy it, that’s great too.


I would say that if the blogger is worth reading, people will follow. It can make a great way to connect music. We all still need a filter system and a blog is a very nice niche filter.


The CyberPR (Ariel Publicity)New Media Pioneer Interviews 7


New Media Pioneer: Dave of Daves Lounge Podcast

Daves Lounge is a weekly podcast that showcases the best in chillout, trip hop and downtempo music found on the Internet.

Q: How long have you been broadcasting?

A: I did some college radio back in the early 90s, but I didn’t really do my own show again until I opened Dave’s Lounge in 2005.

Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: Wow, that’s a really open question. There are lots of things that make a great song, but for the most part, it just needs something to hook the listeners. Cliche as it sounds, the hook does bring you back. That hook, however, could be anything — a catchy chorus, a solid guitar riff or keyboard pattern, a quality sample loop, or even just a certain vibe that makes the listener want to listen multiple times.

It’s a different sort of hook for every genre. The thing that makes people want to listen to Thievery Corporation is different from what makes people want to listen to, say, B.B. King or early 80s Michael Jackson. But there’s always something there to catch people’s ear, and sadly, I don’t think I can describe it any better.

Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: I got into trip hop in the mid 90s after being a total hip hop junkie for much of high school and college. It takes that feeling you get when you find the perfect 2 or 4 bars of a record and make something entirely new with it, and it combines that with a melodic element in a way that just works. I first heard it in 1989 when Fresh 4’s cover of “Wishing on a Star” was in heavy rotation on my local R&B station, and I figured all R&B was going in that direction — except I didn’t hear that sound again until 1995, when Portishead unleashed “Dummy” on the world.

Trip hop and downtempo electronica can be very versatile as a genre, so much so that people try to split it into a hundred subgenres. But it all works for me, and even though it’s mostly designed for a chilled out mood, a good song can get me pretty excited. (Not that you could tell from my podcast voice, of course…)

Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?

A: I try not to concern myself with specific laws, really, though I keep an eye on them. I just abide by some very basic rules for my show. I don’t play music from RIAA labels, and I avoid cover songs (although I’ve inadvertently broken that rule once or twice). I stick to legal outlets, like the Podsafe Music Network and IODA Promonet — which are excellent resources for podcasters seeking music — and anyone who emails me and asks me to consider their music will get a listen, provided they fit into the genre of my show. (Punk rockers and bluegrass fiddlers who try to be my friend on Myspace get on my tits. A little research never hurt anyone.)

Most of all, though, I only work with people who want to work with me. If I don’t have permission to play your song, I’ll email you and ask permission. 49 times out of 50, the artists will grant it, because they want the exposure. If they don’t reply, though, I respect it and move on.

Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts have the same power?

A: In theory, yes. In practice, it’s a little trickier. People do buy music they hear on my show, and I’ve made it as easy as possible for my listeners to do so, but it does seem like many people just listen to the podcasts themselves and leave it at that. Why buy the cow, y’know? It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for me, too, because I want to put out a great show each week, but I also want people to go out and support these musicians, because they help make my show what it is. (This is one reason why I don’t ask for donations on my show. It never felt right to me to take cash on the backs of other people’s creations.)

Still, what makes a good music blog or music podcast is the unified voice behind it. Here’s one person saying, “This is a great song, and you should listen to it.” It’s the reason certain DJs are so popular in electronic music: they have a good ear for good tunes. It’s easier than ever to get music out there, but because there’s so much of it now, we still need the gatekeepers and tastemakers to guide us to the good stuff. That’s one part of the music business that won’t go away any time soon. We’re just seeing a slow transition of those gatekeepers from radio and TV to the Internet.

The CyberPR (Ariel Publicity)New Media Pioneer Interviews 6

New Media Pioneer: Brooke Grantham of the Get Up Rotation Podcast


The Get Up Rotation is a weekly music podcast featuring indie artists. We’ll focus on under the radar and up and coming bands and give you a heads up on their upcoming live shows.


Q: How long have you been broadcasting?

A: The Get Up Rotation has been on the air for a few months now. The idea for the show was simple in that we felt like there were so many amazing bands that weren’t getting enough exposure. We wanted to offer another venue to showcase great indie music and make people aware of the the artists’ live shows.


Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: I have really simple requirements for a good song: a good hook and clever lyrics. Nothing turns me off to a song quicker that lyrics with unimaginative cliches that we’ve all heard a hundred times.


Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: My favorite major label band is Tegan and Sara. I am in awe of their songwriting abilities and’ the con’ is one of the best albums of this decade. My favorite unsigned band right now is Astro Firs. They have infectious hooks, solid musicianship, and are genuinely good guys.


Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have affected you most?

A: We have felt virtually no effects from the changes in content laws or broadcasting rights. We are very cognisant of copyright laws and intellectual property. The artists we feature are eager to share their music and Creative Commons licensing is becoming commonplace.


Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts has the same power?

A: Yes, I absolutely agree with this. Blogs and podcasts are very similar in that regard. MySpace is impersonal self-promotion. Since the majority of podcasters (and bloggers) are making no money, there is no hidden agenda to the music being recommended. Blogs and podcasts should get people excited about bands which translates more effectively into album sales