The NBT Review 65

Song Selection from 88 Kilos Of Sunshine

It is this writer’s prerogative to not name the songs, just play them in order from bottom to top and attempt to capture the illusion of understanding and the reality of this music’s allurement.

The instrumental starts it all. Hollywood played in an empty small town hall. The drums as willful steady as a drunk’s inconsolable rage the guitar is devious widescreen thoughtful. The Clean here is a wicked clean, a Neil Young solo tempered by intellect and latent horror. This is a tune Stretched between school boy yearning for the redemptive solo, and the modern detachment.

Then chant then confess swim in the warm bubbles of regret, this treated ocean this seductive call and wanting response. Don’t want to get lost in this?  I couldn’t, ‘’even if I tried.’’

As John Peel was known to say, ‘this one fades in slowly’’ this is warped Americana played in the old house across the road, you stop and listen on your way home and weep, and leave strangely enriched. The ragged reserve of the (treated) singing, the two personas within connects you to this drama, traces still there even as you lock your front door walk to the living room and switch on the babbling evening news.

Thank fuck for a modern pop maker whose idea of the 80s is darker than skewed memories of big hair and Duran Duran. I recall fragile 7 inch singles cased in cardboard two tone manifestos.

This song is a slow growl, scary and beautiful. That’s all that needs to be said except perhaps  listen to all the songs on the page and look for it. You will know it the second you hear it, and then your day will change slightly, no matter if you are sneaking time from office work, or surfing idle in your bedroom.

Another slow fade in, another capture of the minutia of a moment in time, this is subtle true alternative.

If you have lost your faith in the power of music to provoke and please, to entrance and edify, then this collection shall attempt to find it for you.

Go NOW and listen

http://www.reverbnation.com/88kilosofsunshine

You can hear tracks from the band on the NBT Podcast going out on the 27th May 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

And this will be the featured artist on the NBT portal page in JUNE

http://nbtmusic.de/

Also check out a couple of tunes (if you use internet explorer) on the

http://nextbigthing.co.za website (after the intro just Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page).

The NBT Review 63

Second Chances – Danika Holmes (independent release)

It is a brave thing to start a set of modern American country folk songs with a tale of loss and vulnerability,  but this brave thing  defines the music that follows, it states from the get go that this is a candid and original glimpse  of the those that survive, but still are fragile, human, even scared. In this opening the singers prayers are perhaps not answered but by the asking, she is, one feels, made stronger, strong enough to carry on.

The sultry percussive ‘Unlit Match’ carries on this theme, the singer, detached, watches the girl on the stage, deconstructs the rebel boy myth, and the music is an invitation to let go, take those dangerous chances and prove those who would box you into a cliché, totally wrong.

All is not internal though, in stand out track, the ballad ‘Annie May’ Holmes sings the life of a quietly extraordinary woman, sketching the passage of time and history with remarkable subtlety and grace.

Then in ‘Pockets Full Of Gold’ she brings it back to the intimate world of the couple, through faith and love in each other surviving the (harsher) world around them.  In fact all through this album, she commits her self to the belief that its ok to lean on those you trust, to show diary like the simple secrets of the soul.

This is a set that describes how the cold country of Alone, is left behind.

All this is tied together in the title track, the darkness has been preserved against, and the night is turning into day.  What I particularly like here is the admission that even in this brand new hope of a day the journey may still be tough and even third chances may be needed.

Yes this is mainstream music, but I find no concessions here, or cynical production tricks, no artifice.

That all these songs are wrapped in a perfectly balanced mix of the pop smooth and the country honest lets us know that her message will soon get into the hearts of radio listeners everywhere.

Listen here: http://www.danikaholmes.com/

Hear tracks from this album on the NBT Podcast going out on the 13th May

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 61

The Amplification Of Mr. Ballad

The Remix Of Mr. Ballad

The Bare Bones Of Mr. Ballad – All by Chapman (Creating Reality)

Songs have always been shape-shifters, play them in your child’s bedroom late evening and they are personal fragile things, a secret shared.  Play them out under the coloured lights, or in the pub or with a band and they are social creatures, sometimes playground madness, or sometimes a dinner party of thoughts.  Each instrument now adds a riddle to the secret, each drum beat or electric guitar melody or backing vocal agitates , reflects and deflects, the song seems warmer somehow, stronger, the fragile must now be listened for, the truth is now not just from one soul but many. Then play them stripped then clothed with coats of many colours, push them into electronica space, send them bouncing into the chaos of traffic and bodies bouncing in clubs, and the songs become puzzles, become tricksters become the sly one in a debate, become the dark one in a movie. The secret soul is still there it is just now a super hero leaving the mild mannered reporter back at the bar, no one knows who that masked man really is but oh they love the way he swoops, flies, shudders through the conflicted night. No one knows but many feel his goodness, danger, strangeness. Yes the soul is still there.

Space (and oh sadly; time) do not permit me to write about each song, each mutation, so at random I picked one and leave you dear curious listeners to go discover what lies beneath, within, around the others.

We first see ‘’Hum Along’’ as a pop country creature, the life affirming coda to a bittersweet saga, gentle, hopeful, the dark room illuminated by the warm glow of lamplight and restfulness. Then that bittersweet comes into sharper focus, the trials and the sadness and the mistakes now past but the wounds still sensitive, there is this hint that the singer will NOT contemplate his own destruction but now can finally understand why loved ones must fade from our reality, if not our dreams and love. The final version, takes that thought and changes it into a wicked grin of a thing, it’s a disco version of a relieved man’s  Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, of the youngster going ‘’Stuff Ya’’ and using his wild dance as a force against the end of things. Giddy and uplifting it is the sound of Fear being shot down with Joy.

There are ten more examples of this suburb creativity at play here and I highly recommend that all three albums be purchased and tracks played at random and let the shape-shifters work their magic.

Listen and buy here:

http://www.mrballad.com

Hear Chapman’s thoughts on his releases and tracks from all the sets this week on the NBT Podcast going out on the 30th April.

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 59

Between Customers – Matt Keating (Red Parlor Records)

Keating constructs his songs like sketches that the artist keeps returning to,  adding details and colour and mood until the picture before you is a personal memoir, the simple perfect lines that tell all, recalling ‘’Darkness On The Edge Of Town’’ era Springsteen;  that fine balance between studio mastery and narrative grit.

He loves his characters, no matter how broken and flawed they may appear, affection and empathy shown in the turn of a verse and the way the strings slide comfortably to (old blanket on a cold night like)tangle delicate into some of the songs.

No scene is overstated, no drama played for giddy dramatics, there is craft here on display, as he strips away what does not need to be said and keeps the core, the finite details of what really matters.

There is steel in the sensitive, and yes the tunes are so damn pretty, but there is no impression of weakness, no concession to safety, no desire for blandness. If the songs soothe it is because they sing true not because they play nice.

Keating distills the world into intimate bulletins so the storm becomes the sigh in a fractured relationship; he makes the immeasurable understandable, touchable, he revives the art of telling just enough and telling all you need to know.

 Subtly descriptive in the way Don MacLean and few since have managed he brings the little bits of what he sees, (wherever he is) to us, making the telling of these tales seem effortless and the listening to them valuable.

Listen here:

http://www.mattkeating.com

Catch songs from this album on the NBT Podcasts going out on the 30th April,  13th and 20th May

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

Matt will also be playing concerts in Vienna with NBT favourites Richard Kapp and Cassis.. check the website for details.

The NBT Review 53

A Little Closer To The Truth – Dizzy Gotheca (Independent Release)

The first song is salvation. The music is fine tension wrapped around this (maybe) angel; I hear the end of the things for the ragged person she is singing to. Will she push him alive or is she taking him further down his destruction? It’s complicated yes, (she sings that and it is true) but it’s also simple. The First song is salvation.

The slow motion of the disco dancer, every detail of the dry ice, the coloured lights, the reflections the darkness just off the floor, the other tumblers tumbling, spinning too, are blurred howls, and every movement leaves delicate traces. You long for the explosion into focus, the release of pressure, but beauty like this has a price and instead you stay, still, entranced, haunted. This is Little Beat.

This is that angel watching an elegant version  of the hedonist game of drinking like its suicide, it is the vibrations of losing it forever and what is on the other side of those vibrations, the angel is the girl and the girl is questioning always questioning, and the music is stretched tight across the exits  allowing the thoughts,  the emotions,  to bounce there in the spaces of the room.

The drama is in the shadows, in the space, in the near empty, the indefinable drop, fall into this and allow yourself the freedom of not knowing, where this seduction will take you.

The musicians take this fear and make hymns. Modern electronic hymns.

http://www.dizzygotheca.com

Catch Dizzy Gotheca on the NBT Dark Electric podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/

Illusia – DarkLily (©Vyolette Svana)

Do you fear, but love the dreaming, the letting go? Do you dread and desire travelling into the strange virulent mists of some unknown ‘other’ world? Do you find this fear enchanting, and with deep breath and heart beating hard, wish to succumb utterly to it.

Then this collection is for you.

Sometimes we enter sepia tinged room full of old sunlight and hear the piano making crooked echoes against the cobwebbed experiments , sometimes we are shown through a haze, tragedy and despair, disasters from ‘ago’ taken from fading pages and made new, not shiny though, heartbreaking yes.

The gloom of mythology, the heaviness of this sweet relationship prison, in the drama and wonder of that hell, the singer/composer finds slithers of bright white hope in the sweet torment, makes it quietly erotic exotic mmmm we can almost hear her smile.

Deeply romantic, unafraid of the poetical, darklilly keeps her stories and sighs firmly rooted in the speculating, questing soul of the modern electronic artist. Her creations are measured and classical almost aloof, yet never too detached, they engage us, bombard us with thoughts and regret and deliverance.

You can download this exquisite album here:

 http://www.darklily.co.uk/

Illusia is the NBT album of the month for April

http://nbtmusic.de/page11.php

Darklily can be heard on the NBT Dark Electric podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/

AND the NBT Flagship podcast going out on the 1st April

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 52

(read a great review with Farrad on the NBT homepage.. http://nbtmusic.de/page4.php )

The Time Is Now – Farrad (Beulah’s Baby Entertainment)

Welcome to the Pop Dramatic, landing, bang in the centre of the smoke, wrapped in enigmatic articulate harmonies and covered by pressing bass squelch, Farrad displays his intent, his desire to capture our dance-Soul from the opening track, Misunderstood, a sly mix of Prince Gymnastics and the modern strut.

The cool thing is, Farrad doesn’t let the Tech, the FX and the Hustle drown out the soul, his sweet vocalizing holding sway, adding warmth to the extravagant arrangements.

And then the third track, an instant club classic, the one that makes you want to attempt complicated moves and boogie the night away, this is edgy delightful seductive bubblegum of the highest order, breathtaking and imaginative, simply Pick Your Face Up Off The Floor is one of the tracks of this year so far.

Now that he has captured us, the twist, the trip the worship of the beat continues, sure there are ghosts on this dance floor, in the neon reflections, but these spirits are fashionably in the NOW, fresh and alluring. With this set every track a potential single.

Listen out too for the electrifying ballad, Destiny, where the voice soars against shivers of strings, and some sultry gospel sneaks into the night waltz, and the surprise RocknNewWave of Twisted, where Farrad’s true sense of adventure shows itself in all its metallic sheen.

If this excellent collection isn’t enough for you, there is also a scintillating album of ‘’Pick Your Face Up Off The Floor’’ remixes available on Farrad’s Homepage.

http://farrad.com/

 Catch Trax from this collection on the NBT Podcast going out on the 16th March 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 50

With The Eye Of A Skeptic… – Bill Price (Grass Magoops Records)

This is old time Country dance, girl boy harmonies against a roots rocking band led by the jubilant skitter of the Cittern (a sort of large bodied mandolin.) This is not all though; this is the personal political, the thoughtful, the wishful, the dreamer making songs, the watcher singing.

We hear about the Junkman who learns about life in the bits and pieces he collects, the secrets we throw away without even knowing it. We debate within a blues swing room about the soul of modern art then to the strains of a lilting lullaby like tune we are taken flying.

In his dreams, in this flight,  years roll by jumbled, villains are given the chance to be heroes , history is scrambled and re-sighed re-written and hope is rescued from the cynic’s prison.

Price may see these things, these choices, with the eye of a skeptic, but his belief in good, in the right decisions maybe being made, the fact that the future is really fragile and can be broken into something beautiful; is what makes this collection a gift.

In the song ‘’Foot In The Dirt’’ the simple act, the lucid description of how it feels..Just to cast away the heavy of the day and ..Walk, touches this listener because that escape has often been MY escape too.

So jump slow and jump calm into these songs and stories, get caught up in the seemingly effortless virtuoso playing of all involved and welcome this gentle raconteur into your home.

http://www.billprice.info

Analog Love – Cassis and the Sympathies (Wunderblumenmusik)

Benign, serene coming down from the clouds willfully we slow dive into Analog Love, a neon lit lounge, default setting on sultry, though  soon enough we allow the lady to take our hand and dance us into a wide open cinema land.

This is new wave old romantic, ambient, impulsive, addictive, a darker Julee Cruise, a content Nico, still slightly dangerous, a sweetly lethal bubblegum, deep blue tripping over the rhythm disguised as sighs.

There is that skewed perspective that Lydia Lunch gave on Queen Of Siam, though this time the chanteuse is backed by a mixture of Yello and seemingly old time wicked jazz musicians playing for their souls.

In these songs disturbing desire is just, always JUST,  a finger click away. These are invitations to a languid version of Hell, an acceptably edgy version of Heaven. Piano and Accordion entice and bewitch in the guise of slick warped ballads, tears and escape, they urge us to close our eyes and

Sink.

A cool journey away from the modern normal.

http://www.cassisvision.com/

Hear Tracks from BOTH these albums on the NBT Podcast going out on the 23rd Feb 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 49

Lunchbox  – Richard Kapp and the Gowns (Independent Release)

It is a delectable irony that the opening track “It’s Too Loud‘‘demands to be played rather loudly. It‘s the kind of thing that gets the listener swaying about in their room, or on the street even (if heard on an iPod or mp3 player) conducting an imaginary orchestra. A song about loneliness perhaps but a song that uplifts at the same time, eccentric pop then.

Let this be said straight away, this band suits Mr. Kapp.  And his style, his droll take on love, life and other potential disasters suit this band. It’s almost like, mmm, that with fellow musicians aiding and abetting his creations he can get even more personal than previously allowed.

The title track now sweetly sways with nostalgia drifting from images of peace to feelings of loss then back again, then flying through wonderful harmonies, it quirkily goes schizophrenic on us.

‘’Selling Them Your Love’’ invokes the spirit of Belle and Sebastian, even a chamber pop version of the Lightning Seeds while ‘’So Dirty’’ is a gently elegant smutty show tune with added restrained vocals dips and dots from Woodstock Taylor. The Broadway version of Stephen Merritt would be proud!

Sometimes there is lonely heartbreaking trumpet, sometimes a swoon of crystal clear female vocals, sometimes the piano playing comes into sharp focus, sometimes all this and more fades away lost willingly in the ambiguous emotional heart within the collection.

Then in, ‘’Another Town’’ Kapp along with guest Ina Simone capture exactly what makes a pop ballad work. No whine , no angst, no over emoting dramatics here, something simple, almost country, utterly captivating for now this is my favourite song in the set. A Dreamy companion to ‘Wake Up’ from Asterisk.

As always this is an album that will reveal more every time it gets played and is the perfect progression for Richard Kapp and his band the Gowns.

http://www.richardkapp.com/

Catch songs from this release on the NBT Podcast going out on the 23rd Feb 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 48

Some Moths Drink The Tears Of Elephants – Boister (Piano Parasite Productions)

Ah this delightful disturbance, this redemption in the darkness. Do you know how ghostly carnival lights seem, from a distance, on a rainy night? This is the soundtrack to that feeling.

Produced by legendary maverick/storyteller Jim Dickinson, who once channeled the sweet twilight of Big Star into something eternal, this collection, seems to be ancient Pop, perhaps even tomorrow’s Americana, Though with wonderful contradiction,  there is a fragmented European soul breathing between the lines too.

It starts with a languid gasp perhaps sigh , definite slow motion thoughts catching up to the moment, the music subtly builds, the room the picture fills with detail, the story unfolds ragged yet elegant. Funeral music that makes you feel very much alive.

Then a lullaby morphs into a sly grin take on Brecht, the band swaggers, the curtains, windows, thrown open onto a vibrant street gathering, a party full of tension.

Then a drum thing that seems to be slowed fractured down sympathy for the devil grooving into horns and guitar, washing up against the vocals, then without noticing we have slid into a perfect rock song sway, a gift with gentle hooks that we will be humming months from now.

These are tunes that are built fragile, crafted intricate standing there, the title track: quick take a snapshot before it all falls down, but it never falls down, no matter how harsh the rhythms that swirl around it, rudely affectionate.

Then the weirdest thing: I hear the east, the far east, not east America, but also: I hear almost a ska thing going, I hear the islands, come on dance and Thank You.

Then invited into this strange tent at this strange market, we shiver into an exotic fumbling before the band throws another cruel ballad or three our way, and as they are wrapped in the most beautiful melodies, we catch them easy, we are captured easier.

Layered and complex, yet never contrived this is a near perfect release.

http://www.boister.net

Catch tunes from this release on the NBT Podcast going out on the 23rd Feb 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Wonderful Ones 2009 Part 2

Part Two

Part One Can Be Found Here:

https://nbtmusic.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/the-nbt-wonderful-ones-2009-part-1/

 You can see pictures of Most of the artists mentioned year on our special visual page

http://nbtmusic.jalbum.net/NBTWonderfulOnes2009/

And of course HEAR them on the NBT Podcast, talking and singing rare tracks, cool festive ditties and songs not yet released. That goes out on the 21st Dec09.

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

Richard Kapp

The Austrian piano man, the song and dance magician, the elegant performer of those wicked sly fragile pop things. Richard conjured up a sublime David Sylvian like tune to my raggedy words and a new theme for NBT was born

Richard Kapp in his own words:

2009 was a wonderful year for me and my band. Not only did I finally find a band name for my band (It’s “Richard Kapp & The Gowns”), we also finished our second album “Lunchbox” just in time. I think that this is my best album yet and I am very excited. Also, magical things have happened through NBT. Last year when I was listening to the show “The Wonderful Ones” on NBT I stumbled upon the fantastic UK band BirdEatsBaby and sent them a message that I really enjoyed their music. The lead singer, Mishkin Mullaly replied and told me that she also liked my stuff. So we send a message here and there and finally thought that it might be a cool idea to share stage in Vienna. They were about to start their european tour at that time and as they already had a gig in Germany it was not that a long way to travel to Austria. First I was not really sure if this will work out, but it did. We had two gigs here together and especially one show was so great (what a frenetic audience!) that BirdEatsBaby told me after the show that this was their best gig of the whole tour. I felt reliefed and very proud on that night. They stayed at my place for five days and we had such a good time. There also was Joe Black, a superb musician, a real master of bizarre art. We enjoyed sharing stage so much that we decided to do it again in 2010, this time in UK. We are all looking forward to this a lot. This would not have happened without NBT and that’s why I want to thank Martin for all his hard work and support. I think that great things are ahead in 2010 and I hope that my new album “Lunchbox” will reach lots of people. Also, we produced a very cool musicvideo which will be released in January, 2010.  For more info have a look at my homepage http://www.richardkapp.com…; you will be able to wach it there first. Another highlight for me was that BBC 6 music played a song of my album “Asterisk”. So, I can really say t hat 2009 was a successful year for me and my band and I hope it was the same for you. I wish everyone at NBT and all the wonderful artists that have been featured on the show a nonchalant christmas time and lots of success with their art in 2010!

http://www.richardkapp.com/                                             

 Trey Green

In these oh so serious times a bit of comic relief goes down a treat, backed with a genuine grasp of what works in a rock n roll song, Trey Green serves up the perfect antidote to the credit crunch angst.

 Trey Green in his own words:

2009 was a huge year – videos, recording with Tenacious D, recording a whole second album, some great live shows – but only after a very rough start.  Exactly one year ago today, I broke my hand very, very badly.  A Dutch girl kicked me at the party – we were all drunk as hell.  My fingers broke in half, all the way onto the back of my hand.  How was I to know that she was a competitive kick-boxer?  I literally couldn’t hold a guitar for six months.  At the time, I was getting spins on college radio all over the US, and some in Germany and England. DJ’s were asking for shows, asking about tour dates…everything for which a musician would hope, but I couldn’t even hold my guitar.  So the first half of 2009 was pretty frustrating.

We made two huge music videos in New York City in the summer with Cynthia Kirchner, the Revlon/Guess?/Victoria’s Secret supermodel.   One for Mad Crush, which is filmed in a single shot, and one for Smooth Breakdancin’ Guy, which has been playing on TV in the US, or so I’m told.  Even Cynthia dances in the video – she even did the splits…on concrete. 

In September, I met the guys from Bad Religion backstage at a Pearl Jam concert in Chicago and ended up working with their drummer, Brooks Wackerman, who is also the drummer for Tenacious D, one of my favorite bands.  Brooks plays on my new album, which we recorded in Tenacious D’s private studio in LA, North Hollywood (porn capital of the world), with John Spiker of Filter and Tenacious D on bass.  Got to hang out with John Koneski, aka Kones, Tenacious D’s lead guitarist, and Kyle Gass, who, of course, is Jack Black’s partner in the band.  What a great, hilarious guy!  Finished the vocals and guitar in New York this month – the new album should be out this winter.  Great year, fired up for 2010: new album, more videos, more shows.

Ka-blamo,

http://www.treygreenmusic.com/

Barbara Gilles

In 2009 Barbara gave birth to a soulful EP of heavenly  yet gritty jazz, and then just a week or so ago a baby boy named Juan Martin. AND still found time to send NBT a beautiful lullabye for the end of year show!!!  In may we called her EP with the Favoriti Quartet ..‘‘ An escape. A rescue, a sometimes sly often sensual deliverance, almost 22 minutes of beauty.’’  Seven months later it sounds and feels even more so.

http://www.barbaragilles.com.ar/

Lisa Bianco

In the year of the manufactured pop starlet, when all was artifice and sexploitation thank the bubblegum goddess for Lisa’s take on new wave and perky punk pop with true heart

 Lisa Bianco in her own words:

2009.  Released my album “Post Data”.  CMJ showcase.  New fans. OId fans. Rocked the stages of NYC/NJ/CT/PA including a haunted brewery twice (!).  Busted my van into a parking lot beam 12 AM.  3 Parking tickets.  Writing new songs.   Gave into getting a Facebook account. Finally got T-shirts. Finally got a Mac. Life experience priceless.

 2010.  The bubble finally bursts and music is real again (in the mass media psyche).  More and more touring.  Hit the studio for a new album.  Positive thinking. Enlighten the world.

http://www.lisabianco.net/

 BirdEatsBaby

 Bringing a delightfully skewed take on the dark heart and bright grin of theatre , glam and rolling rock, this most visual of the artists played on NBT are also one of the very few to make it onto the wonderful ones two years in a row!

 BirdEatsBaby in their own words:

Looking back on 2009, it was a big year for us. We released our first full album, Here She Comes A-Tumblin’, at the start of the summer. Then came our first tour, through the U.K. and Europe, playing to some very enthusiastic crowds. We organized the whole thing ourselves, it was a lot of hard work, and we loved every minute. We also released music videos for two of our songs on the album, The Trouble… and I Always Hang Myself With The Same Rope. Not forgetting playing with some great bands in the U.K., like the World Inferno Friendship Society and Belladonna.

                Next year will be bigger and better. We have another video scheduled for release in January, then we get started recording album no. 2. It will be called Feast Of Hammers, and we can’t wait for people to hear it. And hopefully another tour a little later on in the year. Meanwhile, we will continue to perform all over the U.K. throughout the year. We want more of everything next year, more shows, more music, more fun…bring on 2010!

http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk     

 Dune Tran

 The delicate sound of the internal, perfectly judged not too sweet pop sighs. Her music makes me think of the ocean and lonely beaches at the very heart of 3 am.

 Dune Tran in her own words:

I’d like to report that 2009 has been a Tran-tastic year filled with plenty of learning experiences and adventures!  I made my debut into the music community this year with my first album, “Heart Anchors”, a huge accomplishment for me and a dream come true.  This past year I focused on developing myself as a live performer because apart from a handful of open mic performances, I had never played any solo shows to showcase my own music.  I pushed myself to play as many gigs around the bay area as possible.  I’ve overcome obstacles such as finding band members, rehearsal spaces, learning about how to set up a PA, booking gigs, juggling schedules and last but not least, I worked on battling that old stage fright that has haunted me for some time.  The most adventure filled night was when I showed up to a wine bar with all my equipment and found that I had no microphone. The opening act and I raced to the nearest Guitar Center which fortunately was only 2 blocks away.  It turned out to be a fun night regardless.  I performed a total of 15 gigs this past year at venues which varied from dive bar to wine bar and coffee shop to fine restaurant. It’s been an amazing year for me!  I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my dream to share my music and hopefully touch and inspire the lives of others through music.
 
I’ve also invested a lot of time into researching outlets for exposing my music.  I’ve learned a lot about the music business aspects of the industry, such as promotion, licensing, copyrighting, publishing, and distribution.  I know that there’s plenty more to learn.  Several huge successes in my books are making it into the Top 30 chart at CIUT, a radio station at the University of Toronto and getting asked to do an interview for a piece in a local paper, The Daily News, which was published just in time to promote my last gig of the year.  This has been a thrilling year!  I’m so honored to be included among NBT’s best of the year.  Yet another success!  Thank you Martin!
 
For 2010, I plan to focus on writing and evolving and hopefully becoming a better musician and songwriter.   I also want to venture into less familiar territories, whether it is touring outside of the bay area or making a music video or finding a place for my music in TV or movies.  Although there are plenty of obstacles ahead, I’m still ready to face my fears and pursue my dream of making music.

 http://www.dunetran.com/

 Doug Folkins

 Skillful writing and a rock heart swagger, and a keen eye for detail made Folkins the pub folkie of choice this year.

 Doug Folkins in his own words:

 2009 Challenges and Triumphs:

What a year!  In March I released my 5th Indie CD titled “Another Last Call” which was supported by an intense publicity campaign with Cyber PR (Ariel Hyatt) from New York.  I learned all kinds of new words like; podcast, blog, twitter, tweet, friend, social media, etc…  It has been intense, often frustrating but immensely rewarding.  The CD has garnered critical review all from Europe and North America and my songs are more widely played than I could have imagined.  Podcast and internet radio play has exposed my tunes to many people and I have meet some new great fans through these mediums.  Also my single “Calico Girl” charted 5 straight weeks on the Top 100 European Country Music Association charts peaking at #71.  I am still not sure “Calico Girl” is a country song.

 Looking into 2010:

For the year ahead, I am continuing to support my CD with live shows and festival bookings.  I will also continue pursing music publishing deals for my catalogue of over 55 recorded songs.  While I don’t have a new release scheduled for 2010, I hope to record a few tracks for singles and publishing as well as reworking instrumental versions of my previous releases.

http://www.dougfolkins.com/      

 Citizen K

2009 was the year we were welcomed into the dreamlike state of Citizen K. A Personal Favourite for NBT where songs gave up their secrets reluctantly then stuck around to chat and seduce.

Citizen K in his own words:

2009 according to Citizen K

 Well, it’s been a great year. After some hard work, we managed to get the album out in September and the response that followed has been overwhelming. Since I had no expectations what so ever as far as sales were concerned, every unit sold is a maracle. :-)…

 Challenges? Well, some minor health problems I don’t want to get into here, especially since I’m fully recovered now. And, optimistic by nature as I’ve always been, the good events always seem to overshadow the bad ones, by far.

2010 around the corner

 I don’t know what to expect. I’m a bore when it comes to revealing future plans. I know I’ll do some studio work next year, though. I have tuns of ideas for songs and I prefer to just go on and on and on.

http://www.paraplyrecords.se/

 Elika

 Constantly surprising, constantly thoughtful, we called Elika: Madonna fronted by the Pixies, and that was really only a third of the story!

Elika in their own words:

 To be honest, 2009 has been very difficult for us personally, so let’s just forget that one happened. :)

We are looking forward to releasing a lot of new material in 2010. Our new ep, “There Was No Summer” will be released this January by Chat Blanc records. It has 5 new songs and is the perfect companion to cold weather. Also, our next full length will be released in 2010. We’ve been working really hard on it and are putting the finishing touches on the mixes. Hopefully, it will be out by Spring/Summer. We think it is by far our best work yet!

http://www.elikamusic.com/ 

 Beth Wimmer

Mixing country earthy with folk sensitive, Ms Wimmer found her way back to the chaos of the NBT fold with a lovely collection of uncluttered honest songs.

Beth Wimmer in her own words:

 Thanks to this wonderful blog and podcast from NBT and to a few other terrific, online outlets for indie-musicians, my “2009: Year of Adaptation” has flowed with a bit more ease. The ‘adaptation’ has been my adjustment to the most monumental change in my life to date: from a busy, energetic life working three part-time jobs to make ends meet and support my music career in warm, sunny Southern California, USA to… living in the crisp, snow-kissed Alps of Europe, working solely as a musician, singing late into the smoky nights, sleeping away the mornings… and learning another language – German!

And if that weren’t enough of a huge change, well, my relationship status went from single (however creatively inspired by the elusive LOVE) to involved; in a deep, growing and soul-satisfying love relationship with a wonderful man. The only challenge that this has presented is that in my present, contented and peaceful state of heart and mind, I am not writing as many songs… seems the fire and feelings of love in turmoil had presented more muse for my songwriting. 

But I’m working on this. ;-) I’m letting the beauty and humor of this new, fulfilling love, along with the more-crucial-than-ever news of the world provide inspiration and depth for my new songs. This past year I’ve enjoyed lots of positive play and attention for my ‘Miracle Girl’ CD, and so in 2010 watch for a new Beth Wimmer CD! i plan to record in summer with a charismatic and highly talented group of musicians from Italy that I had the delight and privilege of playing with in 2009!

Thanks for reading… I wish you all Love, Creativity, Balance and Sweet Music in your hearts,

http://www.bethwimmer.com/    

 Broken Keys

 This mood and sound artist really clicked into the idea of NBT being music tourism. With tracks from his collection ‘’the sounds of the 504’’ he created movies in the mind of all the places he knows and cherishes.

 Broken Keys in his own words:

 Despite all challenges that I’ve experienced this year, 2009 has been a very productive year for me as an Independent composer/producer/artist. In hindsight, I’m always down for a challenge anyway. I have accomplished more this year than any other year that I’ve been involved with making music.  I have been granted the opportunity to sign with popular music licensing company’s such as PUMP AUDIO, MUSICDEALERS.COM, MATCHLESS MUSIC, MUSICSUPERVISOR.COM, GAMECUES, and more. I have also upgraded my equipment and sounds and am looking forward to putting these to use to come up with even more creative different styles of music.

 

In 2010, my focus will be to literally make a living doing what I love to and am addicted to the most…music. I have the making the music part down packed. Now it’s time to do more on the business end and make money. Make money without compromising my art that is. My main goal is to break out of my comfort zone and be more of people person and network. I’m sort of an introvert so this will be a task but, it’s necessary. In conclusion, I will continue to make music for the love of it. I feel like I have definitely paid my dues and look forward to big things happening. And one more thing, I will be putting out a Hip Hop album next year. It’s going to be something very special. Look out!!

http://amiestreet.com/music/broken-keys/sounds-of-the-504/

The Hit and Mrs

The off shoot turned ON, “Ashes Of Bridges‘‘  was the ever Multi-tasking Heise Brothers‘ most focused release so far. Showcasing a darkness and a melodic vulnerabilty the collection of outsider observations aimed straight for the listener’s heart.

The Hit and Mrs in their own words:

We, The Hit & Mrs., had a nice 2009. We released the album “Ashes of Bridges” and Nelly ventured out into the solo star arena with his alter-ego Jebediah Goodthrust and released the self-titled album. Other than that the year was rather uneventful. Nelly and Bubba played a handful of acoustic shows and were showered with mixed reviews (some people have no taste). V. Stak’s graphic design empire Starch continues to grow and just revealed the new Hit & Mrs.’s website (www.thehitandmrs.com). As usual, 2010 will probably bring a new album from the members of The Hit & Mrs. in one form or another. Thanks for the support and have some happy holidays.

- Nelly, Bubba and V. Stak.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hitmrs2

Stacie Rose

Flying, darting from the tension of the real, into the stillness of the dream, she draws it in, rocks it out.

Stacie Rose in her own words:

Had an incredible 2009 working hard on my upcoming release “The Alter-Ego EP’s.” They will be like sweet & savory, ying & yang, vanilla & chocolate, thunder & lightning…You get the point!

Been fixin to do something like this for awhile. I’m not leaving my singer-songwriter roots behind…ooh no! Just doing some much needed artistic dabbling. My adventures in genre-bending have been well received (thank you, people!) and my fun-loving lust for collaboration has led me to this place.

I raised over $5,500 to help create “The Alter-Ego EP’s” this year with the help of Pledge Music, Skope Magazine and all my fans!
I won an honorable mention for my song HOPE in the 2009 New York Songwriters Circle Contest.

I also have a song placement in two films on the 2009 festival circuit: Dead End Falls and Pornography: A Thriller.

My newest music video for Love Saves was released this year. It was extremely well-received! Please view here: http://www.youtube.com/stacierose
“The Alter-Ego EP’s” will be released in early 2010! Thank you to Next Big Thing and all my supporters that help me to keep creating my beautiful music