The NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Part Three Of Three

another hectic year another huge collection of new acts discovered. When i say new acts, well new to me, and  new to some listeners,though of course,  a lot of the bands and artists have been playing, creating for ages, making music that seduces and provokes and revigorates.

What was amazing for me , was the the sheer diversity of the tunes on offer, from ghostly industrial landscaping to tender folk ballads, from exuberant indie pop, to things full of complicated time changes and sneaky shifts.And what amazed me even MORE, was that even the most glittery pop concoction, or most basic lo fi rock out, all had  these things in common: passion, care and love.

These were NOT songs made by committee with one eye on sales and the other on offending no one. this was music made for the joy of it, sure the bands want to ‚‘make it‘ want to have that illusive hit, but its the song first, the hustle later. something the majors could learn from, (if they only stopped being so damn SCARED of the independents that is).

So ok.. here are the bands, singers, performers,labels, promoters that made this year even better than the last. ladies and gentle beings here in no particular order are this years Wonderful Ones.

Part One HERE

Part Two HERE

The NBT Visual Page can be seen HERE and HERE
Cassis and the Sympathies

Photographer, Film Producer, yes Cassis was all of these in 2010, but somehow she still found time to create a shivering set of electro songs steeped in the otherness of Europe and the cosiness of the States

Cassis in her own words:
2010 started great as Matt Keating and I went on tour together with Joerg Feyer: In 10 days to 6 countries driving 7500 km. It was one of the better tours I have experienced and comes right after touring with the local buses through Mexico.

At the end of the year I am excited to report that I have changed my location from Brooklyn to Berlin as I am writing the soundtrack for a German feature film for the next couple of months. I am working with the director, Catharina Deus for the third time on a film for major German TV, ZDF.

The Birmingham based Lantern Music team and I have started to collaborate on a new album for a band project called ‘A Hawk in the Rain’. We recorded for 5 days outside of Berlin at Jan Tilman Schades house, a successful composer and cellist known for his work with ‘Einstuerzende Neubauten. Just recently we continued to record in Leeds in an old church basement.
. Hopefully the film I am currently working on will come into the cinemas. And I will finish a new song CD. Yeah!

http://www.cassisvision.com/

Wartapes

this year wartapes built upon their identity, mixed the dreaming with the machine howl and cat-like scratched up against the listener. Was the purr of the tunes seductive or scary or both? Their song ‚‘Do You Ever Think Of Me‘ made it into the NBT top 20 trax of 2010.
http://www.facebook.com/wartapes


Bill Price
Master storyteller Price released his 5th Album in 2010, the beguiling ‚’With the Eye of a Skeptic & a Few Other Likely Stories‘ songs crafted from an acoustic base and coloured by a band of musicians totally in sync with the mood and aspirations of the artist.

Bill in his own words:

My latest album, “With the Eye of s Skeptic…”, was released at the tail end of 2009, so I spent most of 2010 trying to promote it. As I look back over the year, I am struck by how similar 2010 feels to the last four or five previous years – that is, full of frustration and yet plenty of progress as well. Frustration at trying to gain more exposure, play to bigger audiences, sell more CDs and keep up with the technology surrounding music promotion – all of which fall under the “business” side of music.

Yet, the progress was substantial. The new album got more positive reviews and airplay than any of my previous releases and I’ve finally gotten my web site to a level that I’m very pleased with. The other progress was purely artistic.

I feel the new album is as good or better than anything I’ve done. I’ve met and played with some new and amazing musicians, written new songs, performed at some new venues and had several very memorable shows. So as usual, the most satisfying results are things that have come from the creative and not the business part of what we do – the heart and not the head, you might say. But isn’t that what it’s all about? And isn’t that what this season reminds us all – that when we share what’s in our hearts, it brings out the best in us and all who surround us? Peace and best wishes to everyone for 2011. – bp
http://www.billprice.info/

Mike Petrone
what made Petrone‘s release (The Last Hundred Yards) so important was that it was a hip hop album without over inflated ego, and no bitterness and it dealt with something that meant life or death to many of its target audience, the personal experiences of a soldier fighting in Iraq. there was no granstanding or political powerplays within, just a honest lyrical stance on top of great beats.

http://mikepetronemusic.com/


Danika Holmes
Ms Homes was a glowing inspiration for those who wished to survive, not just the indie music world, but the obstacles that pop up during the course of our ‘ordinary‘ days. (no life can ever really be called ordinary can it)

Danika in her own words:
Thanks a lot for including me in the “wonderful ones” edition of the next big thing! There were definitely high and low points of 2010. Really, the best part of the year for me was releasing my debut cd and taking the jump into music full time! I had a fantastic cd release party and felt so lucky to have so much support from family, friends and even complete strangers!

Other high points of the year were recording and releasing my first music video and traveling to Los Angeles and Nashville for multiple business and creative opportunities. The human connections made face to face were great. We live in an online world today, but nothing beats face to face contact! And shows!!! Every show under my belt gave me one more opportunity to connect with someone new and I’m thankful for that.

Low point was the insane migraine I had flying on the red eye home from LA. My head hurts to even think about it now.

2011… ohh am I excited! We’re looking to do over 120 shows this year and spread our wings geographically. We’re excited to have joined the Abolitionist tour for its Midwest and Austin dates. The Abolitionist tour’s purpose is to raise awareness and funds for human trafficking issues.

Also, I’ve been writing a ton of new music lately and have been fortunate enough to meet some really great new co-writing partners from around the United States. I have a really fantastic team of people I’m working with on so many different levels. Be on the lookout for new music in 2011!

http://www.danikaholmes.com/

Anais Mitchell
nominated for a grammy, her folk opera Hadestown featured the cream of the alt country universe, here is what our writer Cobus Rossouw said about it:

Hadestown is also beautiful. This may not be a pre-requisite for everyone, but for this reviewer an aesthetically pleasing artwork is always preferable to a work that is provocative but not evocative. I could listen to Hadestown anywhere, in any company. It will reward the casual listener and the listener who wants, needs to be broadened.

A last word: If you love music then buy Hadestown right now. Buy Hadestown because you need to own it and praise the gods that Anais Mitchell is a musician and not a sculptor, because most of us would have to make do with a photograph of her work if the latter were true. Buy Hadestown because Mitchell and Chorney have earned the right to your money and your heart.

http://www.anaismitchell.com/

Small City Calling

In ‚’Castaways‘ the band created a mini indie pop classic and in their full length album,‘Oceanus‘ a journey well worth taking. the perfect escape.

http://smallcitycalling.com

Mach Fox
Prolific creator of so much digital music, the esteemed Mr Fox filled the internet airwaves with music that soundtracked the vibrations of future discos.

Mach Fox in his own words

he110 Martin & NBT readers/listeners –
thanx for supporting independent musics and including Mach FoX as one of the “Wonderful Ones” in 2010. Hope our music has entertained/interested and confused some of you.

2010 saw the release of the dark postpunk maxi-single “Nu Dead Pretty” along with some re-releases and “The Sky Is Falling” EP in December by independent German netlabel afmusic and available as FREE legal downloads under Creative Commons License.

You can expect more releases in 2011, including an alternate version of “The Sky Is Falling” EP mixed/remixed by Swedish music Producer Planktoon, and another slab of electronic tinged gothrock from Mach FoX and his fantastic creatures. If you’re visiting Mach FoX’s universe for the first time make sure you come armed with a twisted psyche.

The Sky Is Falling  released 12/07/2010 by afmusic under Creative Commons License- Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative

http://www.machfox.com


Peter Doran

what we said: He constructs a gentle swing, a love song simply (complicated), about the strength of love, then old fashioned piano ballad, with a skill an equal to those old Carpenters’ tracks composed by Paul Williams. Note here must be made of the soulful minimal production by Filippo Gaetani, never overusing orchestration, always adding just the right touch of drama and emotion
Peter In his own words:
Looking back now over the last year, I feel like it has been a very productive one… It was the year I recorded and released my second album. January started with ice & frost, but still we managed to get the wheels in motion for the recording of “Sleepless Street”.

Throughout this process, I have been very lucky to meet and work with some very talented people, some of whom, I now count among my very dearest friends. 2010 for me was littered with magical moments, too many to recount here! Recording guitars and vocals for the album with producer Filippo Gaetani in Italy and Vienna will always be special to me. I will always remember too, the late-night skype calls to Sweden with Marcus Gunnar Pettersson, as he skillfully brought the album artwork to life!
Since the album’s release in the middle of the year it has received glowing praise from listeners, bloggers and reviewers across the globe. My music has been played on internet radio and podcasts from America to Australia, and on terrestrial radio in Ireland. It is hugely rewarding to know people are responding to this record, and it gives me strength and encouragement to push on bravely into 2011. Next year I will continue to tour live and also begin writing songs for the 3rd album !
http://peterdoran.bandcamp.com/album/sleepless-street

Lenelle Moise
welcome the poet, the performer, the playwright to the nBt stage. politically and socially incisive, her album created with Karla Mosley, ‘The Expatriate Amplification Project ‚ celebrated the power of the female voice, both in a physical and intellectual way.

http://www.lenellemoise.com/

Rebecca Turner

For a change this is indie music that is positive, playful, joyful even.

Rebecca in her own words:

So many musical adventures in 2010! Some highlights for me were an “Exile on Main Street” tribute at a record shop called Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ; and gigs at the Presby Iris Garden and the Terra Tea Salon, both in lovely Montclair, NJ, growing center of hipness.

Lately it’s been harder to balance my day gig and my music, but yet it also feels more important than ever to heed the musical calling.

I love country music, and it’s been my dream to write a bunch of old-school country songs, maybe some that someone else might record. But I also still want to rock and be weird. So for my follow-up to “Slowpokes,” I’ve challenged myself to write a double CD, half of which’ll be purer country stuff, and the other half will be odder. The writing is maybe 1/20th done, but it’s starting to speed up!

PS, I can’t stop listening to the new record by The Autumn Defense.

http://rebeccaturner.net/

Carta Marina
a band that kept surprising us, starting a set with some exquisite modern college rock and then twisting our expectations with guitar ambience worthy of Mogwai. Their release End Of An Era really wasnt the end of anything but rather the beginning of a delightful sonic journey.

carta marina

Orange 1

the spirit of Tangerine Dream lives on!

Orange 1 creator Hans-Jörg Lorenz in his own words:

2010 was kind of calm! I had a CD  release in spring! The CD was ORANGE-1 2010 which is described as rich orchestrated with catchy beats& dreamy with swishy, swirling sounds that take you to far, distant places! Beautiful in sound! I released a second CD in November 2010! Thename is ORANGE-1  ORBITAL URBAN! It is described as to have sophisticated grooves & a fantastic atmosphere! I would describe it as futuristic, groovy & ambient!

http://orange-1.jimdo.com

Memphis Reigns

we said this about the EP Froghill Legend.‘We got to get these cats to start thinking outside of the box’ the fourth track, ‘Cloud Kingdom’ starts andthis is exactly why this music WORKS so damn well, I have said before and will say it again, what sets this collective apart is the willingness to skip the cliché, the easy formula that runs like a virus through much hip hop. Memphis Reignsstarts outside of the box, and seduces its way in. No pose no imagined chip on weak shoulders here.
Imagine Jay Z if he didn’t have to keep record executives happy while being chained to a idiotic Kanye West,imagine Eminem before he lost the plot and with a far broader love of the many tribes of music and you are only half way to catching on to this set’s charm.

http://www.myspace.com/mmechanics

Elika
this year was very much the year that dream PoP slipped into the mainstream‘s consciousness and Elika rode that wave with elegance and verve.

the band in their own words:

2010 has been a great year for us musically, but personally it was avery difficult.  Automatic Entertainment released our latest album”Snuggle Bunnies” in October.  We are proud of the record and believewe accomplished something really beautiful with the release.
In 2011 we are planning on playing more shows, finishing the recordingof our next album, and there might even be a tour or two squeezed inas well.  We are looking forward with hope.

http://elika.bandcamp.com/

Histrioniks

a band that never disapoints, real indie goodness, smatterings of 70s glam, 60s nuggets, dark Psychedelica and those undefinable strange things in the mood and the music that make them unique.

the band in their own words:
2010 was a particularly productive year for The Histrioniks. We released our fourth CD, “Camouflage Baby” on our own label, CatErratic Records. We were fortunate to get a publishing deal on our previous CD, “Thin” so hopefully the same will be true for “Camouflage Baby”.

In addition to significant internet radio we have received some very positive reviews including an exceptionally creative and poetic critique from Martin, our NBT master of ceremonies. The most played songs so far have been, “Hey Sincere”, “Interrupted Again” and “The Last Three Days”.

For 2011, The Histrioniks will work on a few new tracks but most of the energy will be devoted to The Thromboes new release. Both bands progress will be posted on our websites. We decided to send a demo version of “Forever Young” from our current release. This particular version was how we were originally going to do the song. It has a different lead vocal by Cat. The final version has more angst and is more spoken whereas this version is more flowing and pretty. Let us know what you think about the song and our new CD.

Feel free to write me and for sure friend us on myspace or our webpage. You can also find us on Facebook.

To all of our fellow NBT artists we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and prolific musical 2011. Of course, as always, our sincere thanks to our friend Martin for making NBT possible.

http://www.thehistrioniks.com/

special mentions must be made of these acts/artist that i discovered after the deadline to this blog but i am sure we will hear a great deal from in 2011

Tallulah Rendall

MaCu

iCON

The NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Part Two Of Three

another hectic year another huge collection of new acts discovered. When i say new acts, well new to me, and to new to some listeners, a lot of the bands and artists have been playing, creating for ages, making music that seduces and provokes and revigorates.

What was amazing for me , was the the sheer diversity of the tunes on offer, from ghostly industrial landscaping to tender folk ballads, from exuberant indie pop, to things full of complicated time changes and sneaky shifts.And what amazed me even MORE, was that even the most glittery pop concoction, or most basic lo fi rock out, all had  these things in common: passion, care and love.

These were NOT songs made by committee with one eye on sales and the other on offending no one. this was music made for the joy of it, sure the bands want to ‚‘make it‘ want to have that illusive hit, but its the song first, the hustle later. something the majors could learn from, (if they only stopped being so damn SCARED of the independents that is).

So ok.. here are the bands, singers, performers,labels, promoters that made this year even better than the last. ladies and gentle beings here in no particular order are this years Wonderful Ones.

Part One HERE

The NBT Visual Page can be seen HERE
Frequency Theatre
The electro pop buzz of Mr Nate Butler. the zing of a full band but the soul of a tech wizz, the frenzy of a friday night dance floor and the danger of a jump into the unkown.

Nate Butler in his own words:

2010. The year with the cool numbers. For instance – October 10, 2010. All over downtown Chicago were banners with 10.10.10. advertising for the Chicago marathon. For Frequency Theater numbers had a lot to do with our triumphs and our tragedies.

In the triumph column: we played 32 shows this past year, while working 40+ hours a week, and with every member of the band working on music outside of the band as well. It’s not as many shows as I had hoped for – but certainly nothing to laugh at.
In the tragedy column: in ways that I can measure – our fan base has barely grown, and the band is a bit in the hole. We, along with most other independent musicians are scratching our heads and wondering how in the world we are going to ever make money at this.

Our show is quite technical, and after a couple near-disasters recently – we are coming to terms with the fact that to put on the kind of concert experience we want to, we are simply going to have to upgrade some of our equipment.

While all of this is a bit frustrating, let me leave you with this – at our last concert we played to nearly 500 people (who stayed through our entire show) and ended the night with over 60 kids from a marching band, and 15 or so from a youth choir. Those are numbers we like! If you want to know how we did it – head over to www.frequencytheater.com and ask around.

Thank you NBT for all of your help and support,

The Coal Porters

Sometimes a person who supports the independents gets to play his heroes. and so with great karma shining i got to feature and write about this band which featured Sid Griffin, from the Long Ryders (whose cover of Masters Of War still is one of my all time faves) and writer of Shelter From the Storm, the Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder treatise and a Bio of Gram Parsons.

BUT the beauty about the porters was that it was a BAND not just a man and his backing musicians, each player added to the music from the writing inwards, each instrument was a perfect fit. and theymanaged another damn beautiful cover, this time Like A Hurricane. but it was the self penned numbers that stuck with you even more. the kinda album you want to give to friends you REALLY like.

http://www.sidgriffin.com/the-coal-porters/

Sarathan Records

Sarathan head honch Jonathan Kochmer really liked what I wrote about them on the nbtMusic website, and since I meant every word here it is again 🙂

‚’I have worked with Sarathan for a couple of years now, and have found this one simple truth about them. They are honest.

Don’t wrinkle your nose there gentle reader, to find honesty in a label, within ALL their bands, to find truth in every bit of music that comes out from them, is a rare thing indeed.

I believe in every act that I hear from them, but more than that I want to play every act that they have, write about them, and dance to them, go on adventures with them. The label is gently eclectic but each band FITS, there is a rhythm a vibe that joins them. Like perhaps Saddle Creek, Domino or the great 4AD, this is a label that when an innocent musiclover goes into a shop or online and sees that fluttering bird or the name Sarathan, they know the music will be cool, quality and most of all HONEST.‘

Jonathan in his own words:

2010 has been a year of transformation for Sarathan Records. It started like any other year with the release of great CDs by our two Seattle-based indie-rock projects: Feral Children’s Brand “New Blood” and Thunder Buffalo’s self-titled “Thunder Buffalo”. Peter Bradley Adams has continued winning choice placement of songs from his solo releases “Leavetaking” and “Traces” in many TV shows and films. Feral Children and Two Loons for Tea both did some touring in large venues on the East Coast, and Thunder Buffalo had a truly epic DIY one-month tour playing everywhere from city parks in small midwestern towns to well-established venues in big cities. And, of course, being an Internet-centric company, Sarathan continued expanding our reach to bloggers, podcasters and Internet radio stations throughout the world. 
But change was in the air! And came to us in the form of a resurrected idea, a ghost that had been lingering in the back of our minds for years: Sarathan Online Services. The challenge for Sarathan, like many other record labels, is that sales of recorded music continues to plummet, and the prices consumers are willing to pay for music also has continued to fall. What’s a small music business to do? The solution came from resolving a paradox: Sarathan’s online reach had expanded such that we had the power to support many more musicians than Sarathan could sign. We realized we could create a new services division to support the many non-Sarathan artists who we respect, and Sarathan Online Services was born (and appropriately abbreviates to “SOS”! http://www.sarathanonlineservies.com). Though SOS was designed to come to the aid of artists struggling to establish themselves online, SOS has also reinvigorated the label with a stronger sense of purpose. We’ve never been more committed to the idea of sharing good, independent music with the rest of the world.

2011 is now looking very promising. We have a new direction, great new teammates on board, custom databases in the making, and will continue to create additional new innovative services for independent artists. Sarathan Online Services is in the process of promoting our first SOS artist, Jason Spooner, and we are excited to work with the many promising acts who are now signing up for our support! La vida es bella!

http://sarathan.com/

Vanishing Angels
sometimes we catch an act before they get into their stride, so it is with this project, the brainchild of South African based David Goodman, so far ther have been but a few demos, but what we have heard promises well for 2011 and beyond

David in his own words:

2010 was a mixed year for me. On the one hand, I landed a job as a columnist on South Africa’s fastest-growing online news site (News Time). We have 100,000 readers! Here’s the link to my column: www.newstime.co.za/columnist/DavidGoodman/98 (I have written twenty articles for News Time). On the other hand, my album (which was supposed to be released this year) has been delayed indefinitely. Damn this recession!

I’m hoping my album will be released early in 2011. However, it is out of my hands. Everything is ready to be mixed and mastered. It’s a good selection of songs, and Sian (and the other vocalists) have all done a great job. I already have enough material for a follow-up album… And it’s good stuff (a bit darker and grittier than the first batch of songs). Also, there will be more guitars on these tracks (with the possible addition of a permanent Vanishing Angels guitarist). I am working with brand new music software, and there is great potential. I just wish I didn’t have to rely on others. Life is too short… And the years just fly by…

http://www.myspace.com/vanishingangels

Mammut

How does Iceland do it, another cool band that glides through the ether and scrapes at and touches the very popSoul within all of us.Proof again (as if it was ever needed, that the best alternative music has no language barriers) Already chart toppers in their own country, a wider acceptance beckons.

http://www.myspace.com/mammut

Ruth Minnikin
with her Bandwagon, Ruth brought out a concept album of sorts, taking six tracks and using different producers and arrangements, playfully twisted them inside out to make 12 exciting creations. we said: she..delights in showing just how a change of pace, focus and density can bring about new wonders.

http://www.ruthminnikin.ca/

Merry Ellen Kirk

her music was like overhearing an artist‘s innermost thoughts..

Merry Ellen in her own words:

2010 for me has been the year of the Firefly Garden. It’s been a magical reshaping of my musical perspective, and how my music relates to the world around me. The upheaval of the music industry, while it has opened many doors for artists, has also created an unprecedented amount of competition for attention—which leaves one wondering every day “why am I doing this?” (and by “one” I mean me.) Seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, I felt many times this year that I desperately wanted to quit; but then I don’t know what I’d ever really do instead. I went to bed one night (or, realistically, morning) with all these thoughts running through my head, and woke up that morning (yeah, we’ll go with that) with this vision and a chain of words that flowed out of my fingers, through the keyboard on my computer, and into the “bio” section on my MySpace page.

I realized that “if all I do in life is shine a little light into the dark spaces of the world, my time on earth will certainly not have been wasted.”

This eventually turned into a whole conceptual album based on the idea that songs are like fireflies, and they just want to be free to roam about the world and spread a little light. So demos came about over the course of 10 weeks, each week growing one more song, like a garden. Currently I’m in the fan-funding/preorder stage of the project, to turn the demo collection into a full-fledged album. I’m hoping to raise enough money for the project by the end of February 2011.

In the meantime, though, I’ve been working on a new duo project with my friend Aaron Krause called The Shakespeares which I’m thoroughly excited about–we will be releasing our EP February 1!

We’ve already pre-released one song from the project, called “Collide” which is a free download. It was the first one on the project we recorded, and to be honest, I’m liking each one better as we go along, so I’m anxious to see how everyone else will like it, as I am anxious to see what else is in store for the rest of 2011!

Hemifran
Another hero of the indie world, mostly unsung, mainly because he believes its the bands and the artists that should get all the attention, is Peter Holmstedt. A lot of the bands on this blog and on my show are there cause of his tireless efforts. He deals with country, folk and pop giants like Jackson Browne and the Low Anthem but his real focus is getting the smaller labels and acts heard across europe and into the shops and onto the stages.. we NEED people like him, long may he run.

http://www.hemifran.com/news.html

Pink Monkeys/Andrew Kay

another late arrival to NBT, but a seasoned musician on the alt fringe of the SA scene, Andrew has just formed this highly eclectic outfit and already they have songs out ranging from proggy pop, to twisted post post post punk.

Andrew in his own words:

The Pink Monkeys spurted into being towards the end of 2010. This after I, the singer and songwriter in the band, was asked to perform at a biker’s rally in Nelspruit South Africa.  Considering the audience would be bikers and rockers, the main focus of the music had to be rock.

I approached students Marika Potgieter on Bass and Andrew Hamilton on lead to become part of the band.  Unfortunately our drummer Neil Fish was unable to perform, so we were faced with the unenviable position of having to perform as a complete unit, fwith the stand-in drummer, for the first time, on stage. I had, however, spent time with each musician separately going through the songs and rehearsing their parts.  The gig went fairly well considering the above factors.  The Pink Monkeys  even had a few bikers and their babes moshing to a few of the songs.
I have spent the past two years writing and demoing material for an album, which metamorphosed into what can be described as being zef metal – a punk/metal/grunge hybrid that best expresses itself in songs such as Dark Luv, Psychotic Reaction and The Dark Side of Apple Pie.  Next year, 2011 should see the band rehearsing regularly and gigging to raise money for a professional production of the album, entitled Do Not Feed.. These hols the Monkeys are putting visuals together to a few of the songs which we will post on Youtube and Faecesbroek.  The sound is rocking, rifftastic, incendiary, and totally fokken zef, my blaar.

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject#!/pages/Andrew-Kay/125647309376

Boister

One of the coolest titles of the year was for the album ‚’Some Moths Drink The Tears Of Elephants‘ produced by  Jim Dickinson who worked on Big Star albums among many others. this was roots music as a step out point only, as it took in island rythms and far east swing as it hurtled towards a slow burn perfection.
http://www.boister.net/


88 Kilos Of Sunshine

a mysterious virtual musical project, these sneaky heartbreaking missiles flew from an unspecified location deep in the heart of somewhere else and landed slap bang deep amongst our favourite things, like they had always belonged there.

the Bandleader in his own words :

We’re a little shy when it comes to matters other than the music, so no photos. 😉 in terms of 2011, well, we’ll keep trying to do a song release per month or better. There’s some colabs happening, and possible ventures into other languages, hip hop and perhaps even some classic metal sounds.
In short, just music, music, still without a specific genre and without an album, cos that’s how we roll. It’s kind of a curse though, having no genre, but in the same breath it’s liberating.
One thing I hope will solidify in the next year is what I’m trying to do with 88KOS… At the moment the aim is to do 120 songs in a 10 year period…

http://www.88kos.com

Krista Detor
we wrote: It was tempting to get all theoretical on your ass for this, to pull out my battered vinyl copy of Dylan Thomas reading a Child’s Christmas In Wales and Do Not Go Gentle.. Or mull over again the mystery and sadness of how politics killed a Poet close to a Fountain of Tears, but I am, like most good listeners that will hear this collection, simply just an intelligent savage, and it is what the music and the words give to me that is important, not the brilliant inspiration for their creation.

I noted too, that the fact that these songs are animated by Lorca, Thomas and Darwin amongst others is only mentioned in the various press releases and not on the album itself. So as they say wherever good music is on trial ‘let the songs speak for themselves’

http://www.kristadetor.com/

Inter Idoru

an online promoter for platforms like NBT, this vibrant company has already introduced our listeners to two brilliant bands based in Japan and the UK. and that seems to be only the beginning.

Inter Idoru founder Apryl Peredo in her own words:

2010 in a paragraph or two? Well, I have to admit that my usual search for independent music took a backseat to the enjoyment of watching my pre-teen daughter discover music she likes. Yes, it was all mainstream, but what else does an impressionable young girl listen to? (Eventually I will sway her to the dark side, but for now I accept!) I spent many hours listening to Katy Perry. Good for mindless singing along. Lady GaGa. Not a bad voice, okay music. But a meat dress? Really? And since when is wearing nothing but your panties to a baseball game “rebellion?” Maroon 5. On this, I am in agreeance. Unique vocal style, good melodies, snappy dressers.
As for independent music, I was fortunate enough to meet and work with a fantastic band iCON and their singer Arianne. This woman has a voice as though it is from a fallen angel who truly enjoys doing a saucy striptease! While you’re looking at her bosom, the silken wings come around and stroke your cheek!

I spent some time with a Japanese band called Bo-Peep; 3 rocking girls from Fukuoka who melt faces with a punkish-rock, while wearing adorable yukatas and obi!

For 2011, I hope for more Maroon 5, less Lady GaGa. I hope iCON becomes world known. I hope people laugh at Ted Turners idea of instituting a one-child policy in the USA. And I hope that independent musicians keep making music that fulfills their soul and lets us share their dreams. At least, until they “sell out” by getting famous!

http://interidoru.com/home.cfm

The NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Part One Of Three

another hectic year another huge collection of new acts discovered. When i say new acts, well new to me, and to new to some listeners, a lot of the bands and artists have been playing, creating for ages, making music that seduces and provokes and revigorates.

What was amazing for me , was the the sheer diversity of the tunes on offer, from ghostly industrial landscaping to tender folk ballads, from exuberant indie pop, to things full of complicated time changes and sneaky shifts.And what amazed me even MORE, was that even the most glittery pop concoction, or most basic lo fi rock out, all had  these things in common: passion, care and love.

These were NOT songs made by committee with one eye on sales and the other on offending no one. this was music made for the joy of it, sure the bands want to ‚‘make it‘ want to have that illusive hit, but its the song first, the hustle later. something the majors could learn from, (if they only stopped being so damn SCARED of the independents that is).

So ok.. here are the bands, singers, performers,labels, promoters that made this year even better than the last. ladies and gentle beings here in no particular order are this years Wonderful Ones.

Parts Two and Three to followThe NBT Visual Page can be seen HERE

Marco Mahler

And what a way to open proceedings: the prince of the subtle complicated, seeming low key but deeply textured and incredibly moving Mr. Mahler kept doing what he does best and created his finest work to date.

Marco in his own words:”I released a new album (“Laptop Campfire Speed”) this past summer, for which I received a good number of great reviews (including one of my all-time favorite reviews of my music from NBT), but it didn’t sell as well as I was hoping, which I think is partly due to the changes in the music industry over the past decade, partly because of a very limited marketing budget, and partly because I didn’t tour in support of the album, for which I just couldn’t find the time to get it all organized (I try to do too much myself I think).

I recorded some new ideas this past fall which might turn into something this next year, and maybe that tour will happen after all.

Thank you to NBT for the support, and everybody else who spread the word, bought a copy, or helped out in other ways. Happy holidays and an amazing new year!

“http://www.marcomahler.com/


DarkLily

In ‚’Illusia‘ Vyolette Johnson created a world  that seemed almost magical victorian tragic romantic and wistful, the NBT review said..”Her creations are measured and classical almost aloof, yet never too detached, they engage us, bombard us with thoughts and regret and deliverance.

http://www.darklily.co.uk/

Tokyo Rosenthal

in my review of his 3rd album i compared Tokyo to Elvis when he was a country rocker, but of course there is more to it than that,  in a mix of protest, love ballad and intimate rock workouts, ‘Ghosts‘ was just a pleasure.

Tokyo in his own words:

‘2010 was perhaps my most amazing year ever and the busiest too. It began with the release of “Ghosts” which hit #5 on The Euro Americana Chart, got about 50 rave reviews and the airplay world wide was my best ever. Not to mention that “Mister Tell Me ‘Bout The Great Depression” was #2 on the NBT Chart and “And Then You Sang” also reached #2 on The Hot Disc Chart in Australia and Europe.

Touring was major for me this year as I hit the UK for the fourth time, played The Bitter End in NYC twice, made my Nashville debut, and played about 100 dates finishing up the year in Canada in Montreal and Ottawa.

2011 plans include a new album coming out in May, a West Coast Tour in February, Texas in March, and back to the other side of the pond in the Fall.

http://www.tokyorosenthal.com

Apollo‘s Sun

what we said when nominating him for Artist for October on the NBTMusic website, ‘Something fresh blows in the darkness, invades the smoke filled room full of jabbering idiots and fragile egos making sounds to just fill in the vaccum of their existence. Suddenly here is a hip hop artist that deals in the subtle, that creates deeply moving sometimes disturbing tunes for the thoughtful and the restless.

Mr Billy Krouse aka Apollo’s Sun makes albums that you want to set time aside to listen to, that you want to hold your finger over the ‘play’ button for tiny seconds until you are quite ready, that you almost want to keep just to yourself like that exotic chocolate, or that new Scorsese movie, but find yourself trying to send it to those (whose taste you value) as often as possible.‘

Pollyanna
Folk was really only the starting point for the France based Pollyanna, there were hints of jazz and even old time country swing within it‘s (deceptively) quiet grooves.

Isabelle Casier in her own words:

‘A word to label 2010? Easy : GERMANY.I spent several weeks touring here in various wheather conditions. Thanks toSongs&Whispers, my mental booker and label in Bremen. It’s true, what they say :you have great audiences here, and it helps you get better on stage. I feeltotally like the Beatles, now.

At the beginning of 2010, I had an agonizing band, and I was just recovering fora long writer’s block. At the end of 2010, I have 20 new songs, I met greatmusicians to play with, including a violinist from Hannover, Guido Eva. And, inFrance, two jazzmen, a drummer from Brittany, string and wind players… Ihave a lot of plans with them.All in all, I played some 70 shows this year, which is a lot for someone who still has a dayjob.

My plans for 2011 : come back here to support my album “On Concrete”, that’s just been released on this side of the Rhine, and work on new stuff. I shouldrecord not one but probably two albums! I’ll also play in the UK in january, and go back to New York in spring.

My funniest experience this year? My first rootsy folk event : FestivalMaritim in Bremen, where I made friends twice my age wearing wool hats, French people from the coast, and where I played with Guido for the first time, after only one rehearsal of 20 mn. Things went fast : we’ve just played together a very special show with a quartet at Sendesaal in Bremen on Dec. 11. Playing witha chamber orchestra was simply not thinkable a few months ago… I was sooooo 2010, back then!‘

http://www.pollyanna.org/

Aaron English

we called him a Piano Man, and indeed he seemed to bridge that difficult gap ‘tween the  alt pop of a Peter Gabriel and the songwriting finesse of early Billy Joel.

Aaron in his own words:

‘Thanks to the release of my third album, 2010 was a breakthrough year for me: I had my first Top 20 radio hit, and released my first music video. As the music industry shifts and evolves, it appears that we still love to discover our music in two very old and time-tested ways: by listening to the radio and watching videos. Both successes were very exciting for me, and I look forward to hitting the radio charts and getting more videos up on the new Mtv – better known as YouTube.

It’s exciting to be living through this time of transition – in the global music industry, in our global society, and certainly (ahem) in our global economy. As the world gets smaller and smaller, thanks to the Internet, there’s an ever-increasing sense of “we’re all in this together”.

The times we’re living can be a terrifying roller-coaster ride, sure. But the uncertainty and instability also means that these are also times of seemingly limitless horizons. I look forward to 2011, and beyond, simply because I am _dying_to_know_what_happens_next._

Me, I’ll be touring the States, solo, which I’ve never done before (I’ve always toured with a supporting band). It’ll be just me, my piano, a board full of loop pedals and a variety of traditional folk instruments from around the world. Again, I’m terrified by the uncertainty, but excited for the possibilities….’

http://www.aaronenglish.com

Count To Fire
If any band i heard this year could give Calexico a run for their money it would be this one. As i put this together i notice they have just got a pretty cool review in the dec edition of Uncut. way to go guys.
http://www.myspace.com/counttofire

The Adventure Spirit

another band to sneak in a jazzy old time feel into their pop playfullness was Melbourne‘s Adventure Spirit. their track Golden Spells made it into the NBT trax of the year as well!

The Band in their own words:

‘For us, 2010 was a year of branching out. We launched our new album Grand Standard in September and took the chance to tour a bit more and saw a lot more of our country- it’s never looked greener. We shot our first video clip, Whiskey & Wine and enjoyed watching it on ‘Rage,’ Australia’s most famous music video show. Grand Standard got a fair bit of radio airplay in Europe, more than at home which helped shape our plans for 2011.

Next year we plan to tour a lot more of Australia but also to make a brief tour of Europe. This is quite a challenge, as we live so far away, but we’re determined to make it. Thanks to the web, it’s a lot easier to share our music with people who like it. We want to get to as many clubs, bars and cafes as possible, so we can play for them all.’‘
http://www.theadventurespirit.com/

BirdEatsBaby

Making the list for the third time in a row!, and releasing their second EP Bigger Teeth, it was a busy year for the Birds, as their sound grew into something quite epic.
the Band in their own words:
‘2010 was the year we the conquered the Secret Garden Party festival, toured Europe with none other than Bitter Ruin and recorded our second EP, ‘Bigger Teeth’. We also created another music video for ‘I Always Hang Myself With The Same Rope’, and were interviewed on BBC 6 music. It has definitely been our most productive year so far… and we’re only just getting started!

2011 is Birdeatsbaby’s first time in America – we cannot wait to play to our US fans! We’re starting off with a four date tour down the East Coast and then we head to Jason Rubal’s studio in Pennsylvania to record our second album, ‘Feast of Hammers’. This is due for release late next year, and we will probably be hitting the festivals again next summer too…‘
http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk/

19 Mirrors

a giddy mix of new wave and disco, with heavenly femme vox layered on top. it could only be indie cool from Tokyo, with only an EP and a handful of digital trax out, 2011 seems bursting with promise for this young band.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/19-Mirrors/97860389218

Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt

A late arrival to the halls of NBT, Sean brought his huge soundscapes to our world, a Berlin based American, there was something incredibly other-worldly about his compositions.

http://www.avachorda.de/

Richard Kapp and the Gowns
Another artist to make it up here for the 3rd time Richard formed a big(ish)band, broadened his horizons without losing an iota of his charm, and sent out his second truly great album into the world. his country ballad ‘Another Town’ (with Ina Simone) became a dominant presence on the NBT office playlist.

Richard in his own words:

I am happy to say that 2010 was a really great year for me and my band “The Gowns”. First of all we shared stage with the wonderful BirdEatsBaby two times this year. In Summer we met in UK and played two gigs with them in Brighton and London (which was our first UK Mini-Tour and we were really excited!) and then they came to Vienna again in October along with a fantastic act called “Bitter Ruin”.

We had a really great time. Mishkin, Keely (of BirdEatsBaby) and I even performed a song that we wrote together one day before our gig. We decided the song should be about me being a kind of weird cheese addict, so we called it “The Cheesy Freak”. I think the audience really liked it …although I think that I could have performed better if we had more time for rehearsal, hehe. 🙂

Another Highlight was meeting up with Cassis and Matt Keating, who were on tour and asked me if they could play a gig with me in Vienna which was very exciting for me. Both are excellent musicians. It worked out and we had lots of fun including a enthusiastic audience on that evening.

It was a wonderful experience to connect with such talented musicians and work things out together in such a smooth, friendly and supportive way. None of this would have happened without NBT by the way as Martin was so kind to connect me to Cassis. Same goes for the fantastic gang of BirdEatsBaby to which I listened on a NBT podcast last year for the first time and then decided to get in contact with them on myspace (after I was totally thrilled by their music). So, thank you so much NBT for all the support regarding indie musicians.

Another highlight of 2010 for me was that I got the opportunity to write a jingle for a short TV show on an austrian channel called “Austria 9” (anyone who reads this and needs someone to write a jingle or something else for TV or a movie: I am available.;) and that a guy from Germany, after listening to my song “Sweet Melody” on the web asked me if they were allowed to perform it on his wedding. This was really a big honour for me. And last-but-not-least our album “Lunchbox” finally got a distribution here in Austria and is now available in all the big stores here which is wonderful.

Meanwhile, me and “The Gowns” are currently working on our next album, which is going to be released in May, 2011 and will be called “Uniform Pose”. I am looking forward to this a lot. Also, I am currently in talks with some musicians regarding another UK tour and if all goes well, I might play my first gig in New York with Cassis and Matt Keating. So, things look bright here and I hope that they do for you aswell. There are so many talented musicians that can be heard on NBT and I wish everyone of you great success and joy in 2011 with everything you do! Have an awesome 2011!!!

http://www.richardkapp.com/

Farrad

We didnt get too much pop soul funk sent into NBT this year, huge pity by the way, but Farrad‘s release ‚‘The Time Is Now‘ more than made up for it. a very now take on Prince Cheekiness and dancefloor polish, the album of remixes was divine too

http://farrad.com/

Lonnie Kjer and Stefan Mork

not content with releasing the haunting 13 songs, the band vid-blogged about it‘s creation, catch that here:

http://www.youtube.com/KjerMork#p/f/5/HTGTxo79F4s

Richie Lawrence
want to get transported from chilly Europe to a the home of Sultry Americana? then spin Melancholy Waltz and its totally possible.

Richie in his own Words:

In January of 2010, after 40 years of playing and performing, I was able to release my first solo record, Melancholy Waltz.

Cary Baker (Conqueroo), a highly respected publicist from Los Angeles, upon hearing the CD said, “Yours is a very deep and unique album”, and then he passed on it.  As it turns out, his statement was very indicative of what was to come. // “ Brilliant songs..” said Peter Holmstedt (Hemifran) //   “.. a wonderful recording. Your ability to capture your emotion, while one of the most difficult things to do in recording, was done with ease.” Billy Fields (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic) //   “When there is regret it is gentle and when there is love it is profound and utterly moving.” NBT //  “First there is the uncommonly handsome artwork…then there is the music of a rare beauty and simplicity revolving around the impressive piano playing of Richie Lawrence” Rootsville, Dani //  “Excellent pianist with passion” Hollandsposten.se, Gert-Ove Fridlund//  “Melancholy Waltz….is a particularly truthful album”. From the Balcony by Dr. Teeth //  “there’s something powerful and joyful about his piano compositions that’s hard to explain” Blogcritics.org, Brian Fitzpatrick.   I am thrilled by comments describing passion, impressive playing, great songwriting, emotion, and above all, Truth and Honesty in performance.  Cary Baker and many others admired and passed on the record, and I have sold very few.  And it doesn’t matter.  I’m writing more songs and I can’t wait to start recording a second Richie Lawrence CD.  2011 here I come.Thank you NBT and Martin for including me in all that you’ve done.

http://www.richielawrence.com/


Million Dollar Mouth

from the NBT Review:
‚’In some reviews they are called tasteful, and while that’s well meant, I think it does them a disservice, because it implies that the band play it safe with their songs. This is so not the case, sure these are creations aimed straight to the heart of the chart, but they are also pulsing real things tensed up with pop steel.‘

http://www.milliondollarmouth.com/

Ripple Music
The dedicated guys at Ripple sent me so much good music this year. all very much left of centre, all slightly freaky, some lo fi, lots progressive, all operating purposfully in that strange wasteland where deviants and poets and boogie practioners party hard. They were a kool aid acid antidote to the mundane and the ordinary. Not only did they give new bands a chance but resurrected cult heroes from the not too distant past. Working with them wasnt work it was simply playtime! 🙂

Ripple co-founder John Rancik in his own words:

When Ripple Music debuted on The NBT Network in August of 2010, the business of pedaling records was fast and furious, and things hadn’t really even begun to happen yet!

Since June, the month that saw the very first Ripple Music release, the label has produced ten pieces of physical product (5 CD’s, 2 double LP’s, 1 single LP, and 2 7” singles), landed U.S., Europe, and Japan distribution deals, sold out of the first vinyl pressing of Poobah’s Let me In, and garnered excellent press and radio airplay for all of its acts.

2010 has undoubtedly been a year of growth and great success, and all of the hard work that’s been put into making this label successful is all a precursor to an even bigger and better year in 2011!

2011 will kick off with a bang as Ripple Music is preparing a deluxe re-issue of the debut Stone Axe album as a CD/DVD package, followed closely by the Heavy Ripples double 7” project that will include the burly sounds of Stone Axe, as well as Sun God In Exile, Mighty High, and Grifter.

Further releases in the year will include vinyl releases of Venomin James’ first album, Left Hand Man, the ten year anniversary re-issue of the first Mos Generator album, a newly recorded Poobah album, Santa Barbara’s melodic modern rockers Tripdavon and a deluxe re-issue of their album Sketches From Silence, Grifter’s new full length album, a brand new Iron Claw album, and even more that hasn’t been finalized yet.

On top of all that, Stone Axe was recently added to the Roadburn Festival, which takes place in Tilburg, Holland in April, and Ripple Music will be working in a sponsorship role with The Soda Shop.com on their annual Fuzzapalooza Festival.
. . . and don’t even get us started talking about 2012!!!

http://www.ripple-music.com/

Tori Sparks

With her album the ‘Scorpion In The Story’ Tori took us on a journey across America, easing us musically into the lives of ordinary and extraordinary souls and their day to day battles. it was her skill in capturing the tiny details that got us hooked.

Tori in her own words:

2010 was sheer madness in the best possible way. I was on the road more than ever before, in a total of eleven countries, and made some amazing new friends all over the world. I was touring in support of our 2009 release “The Scorpion in the Story,” which reach the Top 20 in theEuropean Americana Charts and the Top 5 in Sweden.

Thank you so much to everyone – audience, press and radio folks, promoters – who helped make itsuch a whirlwind-but-fantastic-year.

In spite of the world-wife economic downswing, music fans seem to be going strong. Viva a revolution. (I also taught myself Spanish, learned to make a proper omelette, and finallyrealized that I will never learn how to play the banjo.)

2011 is bound to bring some new adventures – I’ve found that one can never predict the roller coaster ride of the days to come, but I expect thisyear to be particularly fun and crazy.

I’ll be touring out west in theU.S. in the early part of the year, topped off by an appearance at Southby Southwest. Almost immediately following the tour, I’ll be pulling uproots and moving to Barcelona, Spain. Mucho tapas will be consumed, Ican’t wait!

I will be touring in the UK and Europe through 2011, so I hope to see each of your lovely faces while I’m out there on the road. Our fourth album “Come Out of the Dark,” featuring guest vocalists ShawnMullins, Mike Farris, David Mead, and Paris Delane will be released onGlass Mountain Records in the summertime. All info will of course be onToriSparks.com, please stay tuned for details! …Somewhere in there, Iwill get some sleep…http://www.torisparks.com/


 

The NBT Review 107

Two very different bands and two very different reviews 🙂

 

Bruiser by Martin Smit

Frosting by William Elliot

 

Bully For Flux EP – Bruiser (WindowLicker Records)

A certian type of hard rock, streamlined to an inch of it’s roaring life, sleek, polished, yet still throbbing with power, is an extremly difficult creature to tame, never mind getting it to do new tricks in this modern age.

Sure the template here is those fine bands of time ago, like Cheap Trick, or Alice Cooper’s 70‘s disguise, but the band and the producers have managed to keep it all up to date in feel, style and substance.

What works is that under the reflected sheen and glow, there runs a dirty great engine, all oil and thrust and coarse, it is this containment, this tension trapped under driving sweet melodies that give the songs such power.

While others offer the illusion of danger, and stay safe, Bruiser offer up structure and songcraft and an honest invation to jump into the mosh pit and let go.

The Mix is what attracts here, a most difficult thing to get right in this sort of creation, the vocals are placed just so, neither too clean and upfront, or lost too far down in the murk, the instruments click tightly into the hurtling rythmn, the belief that good alternative needs to be messy, underplayed, or just cutely inept, is NOT adhered to, no rather that the making of a song from thought to finish is an adventure in skill and architecture.

and then the cool thing: all this does not distract from the warmth and passion and sweat in the music. a fine achievement indeed.

http://www.windowlickerrecords.com

Fresh Frosting – Frosting (Kentland Records)

Opening track, ‘Comfortable Enough’ starts of with a squwark and then slips into a sleepy rock ramble that recalls JJ Cale, but the pace is picked up with a countrified pop track called ‘Katrina Wells’ a song that sounds like it has already been on the charts and now is resident on every FM station.

The band make all this sound effortless, like they got up and got this done during one fine afternoon, in single takes. Whether or not this is so is besides the point (the album has been years in the brewing) because the band doesnt try to be different or artful, extreme or agitated, but rather play good tunes honestly.

Because of this many may skip past this album in search for some thing trendier perhaps, or seemingly hipper or seemingly more indie. That would be a huge shame, as the band cover a mulitude of styles and offer up a diverse set of great songs.

Stand out track for me is the delicate cover of Buckingham’s ‘Go Insane’ where Laura Lopardo takes control of the vocals and sways through the bittersweet with a gentle elegant touch.

to hear more go to:

http://www.frostingusa.com

Trax from these albums will be played in the new year on the NBT podcasts, stay tuned for that.

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

 

 

The NBt Review 106

Selected Music -Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt (Independent Releases)

This prolific creator of ambience and noise has so many works scattered across the web, that even three blogs would not do it justice, so for now I must be content to write about just a few and let you, the gentle curious reader explore deeper.

We start out extreme with Son Of Thunder’ (a Kitty On Fire Records release), setting us down upon a twisted playground from an alternate past, once there were jolly warm glowing lights and souls, now they have been allowed to fade into the grew howl, leaving only a trace of a winter market melody behind. The barricades constructed here shift spookily, allowing glimpses of lonely choirs lost, till all is the swarm. The pleasure here is the dream of comfort never quite achieved, the artist making sure that it is the journey that is important.

Now Blisters take us further into the grinning gasp of darkness, where the assurance of scratches and static hide the slomotion glide of rooms and old men and flickers of dancehall memories. Imagine yourself out on a cold winter’s night, looking up at complacent hunks of residential buildings, lives shining from behind curtains far up above you. Add a sense of humour and horror to the experience and you are close to this.

Onwards now, bravely to the manipulation of ‘The Accidental X Change’ where the artist proves that the fabric of our reality can be stretched thin, even to breaking point and then like an overtired child lost within a train journey we slip into something that perhaps is not there, cannot be explained to mother or father and will slip away soon enough, traces of it haunting us still into adulthood.

And finally (for this review at least; remember this is only a tiny taste of this artist’s work) we attempt to float up the TwoRivers, up because these soundscapes push high into space, subliminal spikes jutting out allowing our tender soul brief sanctuary, then spilling back into the murmur, the saddest blur ever felt.

http://www.vimeo.com/16657554

http://www.vimeo.com/16636235

http://www.myspace.com/seandcmarquardt

http://www.avachorda.de/

You will be able to hear a lot from Cooper Marquardt on
upcoming shows on all the NBT podcasts in the new year

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com