The NBTMusicRadio Fantastic Themed Hours TWO:The MirrorBall Sessions

The MirrorBall Sessions

10 PM Berlin Time (9 PM UK / 4 PM New York)

From the 50′s RnB, to the 60′s Psychedelic soul, thru to hip hop, techno. electronica. From Progressive House to Dubstep, with huge shots of the best new Rap artists as well.

Featuring:

Kimicoh Kimico, Aloe Blacc, The O Jays, Freda Payne, Speech Debelle, Gift Of Gab, Roots Manuva, Jamie T, Matisyahu, Mr Fix DJ, Dragan Pejic, The Black Science Orchestra, Spanky Wilson, Paul Kalkbrenner, Goldie, Machinedrum, A Guy Called Gerald, James Curd, Louie Vega, Body Language, Sonar Pilot, Team Brooklyn, Dave Gahan, Bobby Collas, nina Simone, Esther Phillips, De la Soul, War, Aceyalone and RJD2, Louis Batey, Blow Flyy, Alice Russell, Godspeed,Dukes Go Up, Ify, Shabazz Palaces, James Brown, Bobby Womack, Last Poets, Apollo’s Sun, Chaptabois, Sly and the Family Stone, Harvey Mason, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floys, Dizzee Rascal,Jr Tha 4th, Skilf, LK, Soul Children, Mel and Tim, Johnny taylor, Chairman Of The Board, THEESatisfaction,Tardishead,Lo Fidelity All Stars, Plan B, Orbital, Scuba, Tove Stryke, Kay 2 and the Strange Days, Schiller, Renegade Soundwave,Eoin Hayes, Suuns, Domino Grey, Bassnectar, Edward, Visions Of Trees, Simian Mobile Disco, Cassius, Fresh Heir, MDNR, Anti-Crew, Copyright, Jazzie B, Levon Vincent, Mantronix,Elaine, Skream, Electritribe 101, Kid 606, Anonym, Aphrodisiac, Sleep Archive, Crystal Castles, Kele,Spiller, Alea Karin, Yana Rizhova,Ganesh, Carolyn Baron and BosBeats, Mos Def, Bennie King, Clayton Savage and Jay Quan, PLXDABOSS, Jam and Spoon, Maya Jane Coles, Drums Of Death, The Knife, Jamie Principle, Frankie Knuckles, LadyHawke, High Luxe, Jamie Sparks, Kimbro, Melogain

and MUCH Much More

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
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stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

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 Gospel According To NBT (or the top 50 trax of 2010)

so yeah.

A long strange 12 months. So much music, and not nearly enough time or text to convey how great and wonderful and THRIVING the indie music scene is. It is rather cool to note that at least half of these bands belong to tiny labels or are unsigned or are self released. the ones with nbt in brackets behind them have been played and written about on the NBT podcasts and webpages.

Still to come the HUGE NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Blog and Podcast. watch this space

note this is a choice of SONGS not albums.. that comes later

50) Let’s Say Goodbye, Like we Said Hello – The Coal Porters(nbt)

49) When we swam – Thao With The get Down Stay Down

48) Eure Liebe Tötet Mich –Tocotronic

47) The Dark Side – Elika(nbt)

46) Smart Girls – Caroline Alroy (nbt)

45) Mister Tell Me About The Great Depression –Tokyo Rosenthal (nbt)

44) Lemonade – Coco Rosie

43) Sprawl 2 – Arcade Fire

42) Golden Spells – Adventure Spirit (nbt)

41) Analog love –Cassis and the Sympathies (nbt)

40) A Landscape –Pollyanna(nbt)

39) We’ve Got Your Back (documented minor emotional breakdown#2) Los Campesinos

38) Annie’s Box – The Knife in collaboration with Mt Sims and Planningtorock

37) Born free –M.I.A

36) Computerface/Pure Being –Flying Lotus

35) The Key- 19 Mirrors (nbt)

34) Sentimental Xs – Broken Social Scene

33) Blind like a fool –Tallulah Rendall (nbt)

32) I’m Doing Fine – Apollo’s Sun (nbt)

31) There’s Nothing Underwater – Lightspeed Champion

30) Middle Of A Breakdown – Krista Detor (nbt)

29) Swim Till You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit

28) Sleepless Street –Peter Doran (nbt)

27) The Walls Are Coming Down – Fanfarlo

26) Visitenkarte -  Schutzschall (nbt)

25) Death Of Auto-Tune –Jay Z

24) Breakin –Lisa Bianco (nbt)

23) A Voice In The Louvre – Get Well Soon

22) Home – The Villagers

21) Firefly garden – Merry Ellen Kirk (nbt)

20) Death blossom – Carta Marina(nbt)

19) Boyfriend – Best Coast

18) Undertow – Warpaint

17) Do You Ever Think Of Me – Wartapes (nbt)

16) Cannibal –Zoomonk (nbt)

15) Love Lost – Temper Trap

14) Take You Back –iCON (nbt)

13) Norway – Beach House

12) Barricade – Interpol

11) Enemies Like Me – Birdeatsbaby (nbt)

10) Spy –Boister (nbt)

9) Trees Have Fallen And The Birds Are Ripe – Marco Mahler(nbt)

8 ) Flashback part 1 –MaCu (nbt)

7) Impossible Soul – Sufjan Stevens

6) City lights –Count To Fire (nbt)

5) She Said – Plan B

4) Another Town –Richard Kapp and the Gowns featuring Ina Simone(nbt)

3) Does Not Suffice – Joanna Newsom

2) Even If I Tried – 88 Kilos Of Sunshine (nbt)

1) Baptism – Crystal Castles.

the NBT Flagship podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

the NBT Dark Electric Podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com

the NBt top ten

http://nbttopten.podbean.com

 

The NBT Review 103

Smash My Box/Electroboxx –iCON (independent release)

You get a set of songs to review, you play the first track and think you know where you are now heading, think you know what the mood of the piece will be, what degrees of crazy the writing will fall into to suit the music. Think you know whether vibrant short shots will suit, or rather languid thoughtful sighs perhaps.

Then you get these swell indie chameleons and your journey is thrown into delicious disarray.

Oh the strobe lights strut, the glitter-cool. From the first seconds of ‘Do or Die Moon’ it is clear this is no shy shuffle, no shoegaze insecure, and no bedroom anti-social. This is bright bang (pow !)party music.
Ok I know this band. I think I Know where they fit.

Ok NO.

Here comes the 1st of many gratifying curveballs. Next track up is nothing like that. ‘Giant’ slides into focus over delicate piano and builds into a Tori Amos meets Siouxsie chart contender, the kind of glossy not quite ballad full of hooks and surprises that make good pop music so refreshing

This is a band equally at home, playing the mainstream but coming out proud and uncorrupted, or creating songs awash with strings and dramatic arrangements where the shift from club gigs to stadium dates is inevitable.

The Electroboxx tracks show yet another side to the band, now they are Disco Darlings, with a soupcon of camp, a dose of day glo funk(you know the kind that Prince would dreamWrite and CSS managed on their first album) and an honest love of the fun side of Bubblegum- Rock.

Brought to the attention of the right listener, this is a band that could easily make up for the disappointment of, say, the new TingTings album and dominate the airwaves in 2011.

Personal fave for me is ‘Take You Back’ a driving dance mix ten parts giddy, hundred parts exuberance.

http://www.myspace.com/iconsmashmybox

Tracks from these EPs will be featured on both NBT podcasts
this week and next week

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

The NBt Review 101

All this cool music. There may be a crisis within the music industry, but the independents are sure doing their best to make it a vibrant exciting world of sound.

All reviews except where noted are by Martin Smit of the NBT Project.

Fever Changing –WarTapes (Independent Release)

Hurtling forwards the music the singing is twisted and detached, look for the poignant hidden behind the frantic modern hustle. This machine gets dirty gets rusty, rumbles and roars and the humans who drive it through to us, are flawed, vulnerable, brave, continually invigorated by the power of the melody, the impact of the thoughts.

It is only PoP isn’t it?

Or do these fierce songs display a lot more? Simple answer:oh yes.

The title track screams into existence, all piercing industrial guitar slithering over a dense mix, the beat shuffles shy, hesitant, the girl almost lost in the roar, but it is this subliminal purity easing its way out, that touches us.

We start to think we know what will come next, but the band gleefully throws out their very best curveball (Silhouette) and suddenly we aretaken back to an innocent new romantic dance floor, memories of pastel tinted videos and hooks to dream about. While personally preferring the WAR in the Wartapes, I can imagine many a radio programmer latching onto this track with a sigh and even a giggle.

For me though, the twitchy beguiling hit of the oncoming winter will be the nervous buzz of ‘Do You Ever Think Of Me,’ a song blessed with a melody as catchy as anything Saint Etienne ever created.

All in all this a set of songs that will appeal to the timid first time traveller into the indie world (welcome dark cool days ahead!) and to those fine hedonists that crave just another spoonful of edgy.

http://www.facebook.com/wartapes

Marco Mahler – Design in Quick Rotation (Full Album)

A review from Cobus Rossouw on Marco’s earlier release.

A review on his latest can be found here

My previousreview of the Marco Mahler instrumental efforts talked to the musical qualities of the album. The major difference between the two efforts is, obviously, the addition of vocals. It would therefore seem that the review would be as simple as commenting on the vocals and this review would be done. Perhaps. But then life happens.

I have been pondering this review for a couple of days. I thought about writing about similar vocal styles (Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples, Lou Reed et al, the fragile honest vocals some of us need to remind us that it’s not always about the technical ability). I thought about describing my unending love affair with lo-fi… but, honestly, it would sell the entire experience short, simply because a mechanistic description of the vocals or a blatant attempt at showing off how much I know about music would ignore what music is about. It’s how it makes you feel, and it’s easy to forget when you’re reviewing.

In short –this album makes me happy. I’ve had a tough few weeks and maybe this has nothing to do with you, dear reader, but if you need some music that’ll take you away, somewhere other than where you are, then Marco’s got the remedy for you. I’d get into the car and drive away from the hospital, turn on the music and select track 3, “Orange Chinese Car”. In a matter of seconds I am already feeling better, I know things will be ok and I can come back again tomorrow and face it. That’s worth the price of admission.

Somewhere in the tapestry of themes Marco has tapped into something healing and I thank him for this personally.

This album will not be for everybody. It’s not overproduced, it has no star names, no rousing choruses, no drum or guitar solos, there’s no spandex or big hair but there’s heart and soul in plentiful supply. I can’t single out any other tracks, because from Think Tank through to 1’s and 0’s, Go Crocodile and theother 6 they all dish out the same medicine, albeit in unique and interesting ways.

I want everybody to buy this album. Come on, reach into your pocket and buy it. Buy it because the Marco Mahlers of the world must keep on making music.

http://www.marcomahler.com/

End Of An Era – Carta Marina (Independent Release)

Let’s be thankful there are still bands making this sort of uncontrived anthem, slow building tunes full of heart and song craft. Songs that first time lovers can slow dance to and those weary few can get past their heartbreak with. This is a gentle youthful often rocking rolling set that is easy to dive into, sing along to.

The production is crisp and charming, the refined jangle of the guitar placed foremost in the mix, the voice soothing seemingly effortless, the lyrics( never getting anywhere near to angst) deal with matters of the personal with a commendable lightness of touch.

But if I give the impression that this is a swim through the mainstream, think again, sure some of the songs ARE a brand of alt rock that will please and soothe the masses (and this is NO bad thing), but then there are others like the two long instrumental compositions ‘Death Blossom’ and the title track which melds a delicate ambience onto elegantly restrained workouts, creating a satisfying tension anddrama.

As with the best music of this type, it is the surprises, the subtle gifts given each listen that make this EP so rewarding

http://cartamarina.bandcamp.com/

Hear trax from all these albums on Podcasts going out in November on NBT (the 12th,
18th and 25th)

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

Oh and finally NBT is on facebook.. go and ‘like the page already!

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject

The NBT Review 100

A special edition celebrating our century of great reviews for bloody amazing bands.

Invisible War

The Firefly Garden – Merry Ellen Kirk (independent releases)

We dive into the drama, edged on by sighing bells; we are soon drifting along the most somnolent of melodies, these tunes taking on the character of dreams, unhurried thoughts, and their intent flexible, serene and devious even.

The piano waltzes like a kid in her first ballet costume while the bass slides from a Cheshire Cat purr to a subtle growl as the
listener is tempted to let go, let the light flow in, this is music that gently demands you set time aside for it, an escape if you allow it.

This is a hope filled set, the believing that there is always some way out of the darkness, (and yes she does embrace the darkness here) that a touch, a word, a rescue is available to the lost, an antidote to fears.

Stand out track for me is the slow build of ‘Victory’ a finely tuned mix of observation and the personal.

And so we move onto /into the Firefly Garden, still in its pre-release stages, Kirk takes the ethereal to the next level, the song ‘Candy’ being an especially delightful piece of modern dream Pop, immensely catchy without sacrificing wild charm. This set opens up the spaces, becomes so much wider than the bedroom intimate, yet..still..manages to speak to you, as in a private conversation.

The thing is, these are songs that can be played solo illuminating the dark night of the restless soul, or (soon I hope) can be
played to millions televised from the stage at some huge cool festival, where the chaos of the crowd cannot dilute the affection of the creations.

BUY the Firefly Garden Official Release

http://merryellenkirk.bandcamp.com/album/firefly-garden-2

Find out more

http://www.merryellenkirk.com/

Depend On This – Ruth Minnikin and her Bandwagon (SongMillMusic)

Artists love to shape shift their songs, from acoustic demo, the bare bone new born, to the band arrangement, to the live rendition, songs are made for pulling and prodding into exciting new forms, (tis why remixes so often work so well, if the manipulator shares a soul space with the composer) and here Minnikin takes six of her tunes and delights in showing just how a change of pace, focus and density can bring about new wonders.

Thus the Theme Song morphs from breezy Mamas and Papas pop brilliance into a wistful progressive folk interplay between wordless harmonies overlaying a carelessly disturbing instrumental.

And Sleeping and Dreaming slips from being a more orchestrated Au Revoir Simone ballad of quirky dimension into a skewed dancefloor shuffle all reflected mirror ball distorted.

Mention must be made of the re-arrangements of the six by Chuck Blazevic, who has taken care to instil the essence of the original into not just a negative image or enhanced backing track, but into cheeky(sly) brothers and sisters with distinct individualistic personalities.

This is one of those albums that make you fall in love all over again with the Possibilities of music.

Listen and discover for yourself

http://www.ruthminnikin.ca

Both artists can be heard on the NBT podcast going out on
the 11th November 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

The NBT Review 89

another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

Aaron English – American [Fever] Dream

Other sites (which shall remain nameless) recommend Aaron English to fans of Sting, Peter Gabriel and Dead can Dance. I can’t fault this assessment although I suspect there is a far more diverse audience in his future.

Aaron English is a piano man, rather than a guitar man and this has a clear influence on his songwriting. Melodies are more intricate than the traditional guitar-based singer-songwriter, and the production has more depth and more tapestry than rock.

This collection of songs, a comeback after an unfortunate accident, clearly illustrates his writing, playing and vocal talents. His voice, so apt for illustrating loss and pain, soars into triumph over beautifully constructed choruses.

Lyrically the album is strong although it does fall into the obvious. There are also moments that jarred me, such as the chosen arrangement for “God bless you and your man” which seems a playful treatment of a serious subject (although perhaps I am not getting the irony).

“Believe in me”, which opens the album showcases all the promise but leaves a hunger behind. On his website English recounts a story about this song involving his niece. I think I agree with this story, and I think it makes this song more than it seems at first. Read about it here: http://www.aaronenglish.com/lyrics_believe.html

And then… perhaps the single best line I have heard on an album this year… “…but you play hard to forget…” Lines like these are not the products of intellect; they’re the product of experience. The lyric, from “Sleight of Heart” is simple, beautiful and launches a grand melody for the chorus with English’ vocals perfectly counterbalanced by Leah Siegel and Scott Adams. I find myself skipping to this track time and again, the melody on my lips constantly. This is all I could ever want from music.

In moments like these English becomes more than a piano man, becomes the artist that he has all the ability to be. I would urge English to follow on this song in particular if he wants to produce great art and I would urge you all to get out there and buy this album if only for Sleight of Heart and the eloquent desperation of “The Name of this Song is a Secret”, which hauls me into the artist’s world, which is where I want to be when I listen to the album.

Aaron English is featured on NBT Podcasts during September

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 86

Face The Fact – Opus 1 (Westbound Media)

Insightful, refreshing, Opus 1 pulls no punches, as the finger clicking jazz guitar leads him into ‘Failure’, we realize this will be no empty brag festival, no false bravado, no self pity for his hard luck adventures. This is something different, pretty damn unique, brave even, because running the risk at being taken at face value, some may miss that this is a message of hope. That if you are AWARE of the Hell you may be stuck in, (some of that hell made by your own perceptions and faults) you can and MUST escape from it.

Mashadena squelches forward on the back of 80’s sounding synth and vocoder morphing slowly into a tense jive apocalyptic ice cool soundtrack, with shivering of dread. And yet so very danceable!

In Abstract Jazz, Opus 1 raps that his,’’ perspective is reflective of reality’’ and it this way he has of viewing then writing and singing about the world around him, the thoughts surrounding him, that elevate the tunes above so much that pours out these days in the modern pop universe.

Stand out track, No Love deserves to be a hit not only in hip hop clubs, but could easily find a home in alternative and adventurous rock clubs across the nations, it has that bold crossover appeal, embracing the intellect and the soul.

All in all each track here offers layers of thought provoking lyrics sown into a subtly produced bed of melody and instrumentation. The hooks creep up on you and the mood takes hold for ages after the last bass howl and strut has faded.

I for one certainly look forward to much more from this artist.

Listen for yourself here

http://www.westbound-media.com

http://opus-1.bandcamp.com/album/face-the-fact

Opus 1 will be featured on the NBT podcast going out on the 17th August 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 84

The Electric Mist – Metaform (Just Records)

Imagine if you will, an intimate adventure, where we try to capture the electronic soul from the ghost of a disco dancer. The ambiguous tale of the doomed and the sensual, told with a songwriter’s detachment, and a sound creator’s charm.

What is kinda thrilling about this collection is the way even languid slinky Soul, is seductively corrupted by an Indie Kid with a love  of noise and movement, and rock song hooks that prowl the spaces. And for once, the use of production tricks on the vocal add to the suspense, even the humanity in the songs, somehow the technician reveals a heart.

The Track OCD is a playful ambient miniature, Coldcut meets Lynch back at his place, for drinks and a sway around the statues. Like a lot here it hints at the hedonistic, the full on rave ruckus, but prefers the instability of the outsider.Elsewhere it’s pretty cool hearing an American take on the challenge of the Brit dance indie bands such as Bloc Party and get it totally right, this is indeed the Future Frolic.

Kele hire this guy for some remix work right now.

Metaform even finds a place for giddy theatrics crafting a piece in, ‘’It’s Gotta Be’’ that is all camp Soft Cell, totally free of the retro 80s prison though,  with slivers of Flying Lotus and other such innovators.

And in, ‘’Introversion’’ there is even a droll take on the sort of Instrumental dream pop that the Love Unlimited Orchestra would attempt, The Isley Brothers 3007. Smooth but not smooth, it goes down a treat.

This is not for the purists (of any genre) but then again what fun cool music really is? And will make as many enemies as life long fans.

Which one will YOU turn out to be I wonder.

Find out here: http://metaformonline.com/fr_store.cfm

Metaform will be featured on both NBT podcasts during August and September

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 81

Waste The Right

Build It Down

Dr Night

Last Planet

Nu Dead Pretty – Mach Fox (all Independent Releases)

Set the controls for mirror ball and strobe light, where the dancers are mysterious and the shadows skitter shatter, conceal and deceptively reveal. This is nightclub music with a dark pulsing heart, and a pop grin, it is alien rock Guitar shot out at girls with fizzy drinks and sly sweet smiles. It is post new romantic, nostalgic new wave twisted modern.

Waste The Right combines that ‘dance with sadness’ thrill, and incorporates the militaristic almost nihilistic grooves of Nitzer Ebb (a cover of Hear Me Say) though adding an ironic funk to the proceedings.

Build It Down (released the same year as WTR) now has a detached sensuality to it, the guitar is slinkyFluid, it sneaks and crawls all over the melodies, and Miss K adds a chilled eroticism to the mix, making the songs of fright and fear and longing ambiguously seductive. Their cover of the Kinks ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ skews the sentiment in much the same sardonic way Wall Of Voodoo once did when they covered Ring Of Fire.

Dr Night is the artist virtually alone, and in Dying To Save he delivers his first warped epic, skittish samples drift over a trancelike journey, the tense guitar and sleepy vocals recall both travel and sleep merged into a beautiful blur.

This song is re-imagined on the next EP, Last Planet, and there is now a power to the artist’s writing and production, he is comfortable there in his strange space and it shows, the ghost of Frank Tovey still haunts and pursues the songs souls, but these now are Mach Fox creations, set in the here and now, speeding calmly forward into the Night’s adventures.

Nu Dead Pretty is exuberant, electro warrior cool, wicked, the balance of raw and dirty balanced just right with the machine cruel, we have listened to the star being born slowly, delightful, with screams and shudders and glorious shrieks, with the composer adding his own remote narration, keeping us dancing, enticing us to think and perhaps even surrender.

These EPs are only the tip of the building that Mach Fox has built, is STILL building, go here

Follow the links and download these collections for your self

 Or even better buy them (you make the price) http://machfox.bandcamp.com/

Hear trax from Mach Fox on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast going out on the 3rd August 2010

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

Let’s get some Electro on the charts ok!