The NBT Review 77

Heavy Water Experiments – Heavy Water Experiments (Intrepid Sound Recordings)

Sometimes the elements connect in just the right way and surround the listener with the right mood, environment, in which better to discover new music. Today as I explore this collection, the heat wave pulses, the road works outside shake and shout, in fact the whole damn day positively VIBRATES as I press play.

Welcome to the disturbance, it’s going to be a fine ride indeed.

This is the sound of a mirage, gentle shimmer of unreality, then that heat (now here in the speakers) explodes outwards, the dream figures melt, the colours collide, mesh frantic, the drums tiptoe up top the flames, and the song settles into an agitating lullaby. The vocals shift into focus, the harmonies subtle, and within all this fine magic, pop melodies strain against the ‘difference’.

Like a storm sneaking into the glare of a summer’s day, this band thrives on the ambiguity of it all, glorious messy mix of the chaos in the Jam and the structure of the song craft.

They let the instruments roar, and sing as people used to flying, finding the swoops and danger above somehow calming. There is a scent of the Psychedelic madness here, a tension grown from the soon to be freedom of the willfully frantic.

It is a place where the ghost of a traffic jam is filtered over the serenity of a deep forest, where the grit and grandeur of a festival edging into sunset along the howls of guitars is superimposed over forgotten photos of homes long lost by destructive lovers.

Never clumsy enough to be mistaken for simple hard rock, never bland enough to please those that seek the new age as a refuge from the difficult, it is an invitation to let go, to ride the hallucination bare back, to get fierce, to go crazy.

A LOT to discover here.

http://www.heavywaterexperiments.com/

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBt podcast going out on the 8th July 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/

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The NBT Review 70

The Happy Masochist

Rust – Apollo’s Sun (STLP)

Various New tracks from forthcoming new album: Falling Becomes Great

As the random begins we see the composer staring out at a shuffling past, the mood is ambiguous, seems lazy languid except, the pictures invoked are so well sketched, defined, so haunting, that when he says the word Fragile, we can only murmur, ‘oh yes, and continue watching, listening.

This is an album about an artist looking back, looking around, to push gently forward as he takes notes, sets those notes into jazz and soul beds, sometimes adds heartbreaking melodies, this is an album creating those heavy sunset thoughts, driving slowly towards that redeeming sunrise epiphany.

As the piano in the tune, ‘Life Cant be’ slides a benign tension across the room, the crackle and fizz of a master story teller sinks into the way we lean into this music, the harmony and seduction is total, and we know that when the silence comes, the only answer will to be to scrabble for a new set or replay, replay and find the different secrets embedded there.

Then on to Rust.

When the sun sneaks into a cold room, we can see the tattered posters on the wall, see the wounded proud dust collection of cardboard and plastic greatness, timeless artifacts, a record collection made for Saturday night hedonism and Sunday morning review. This music is at once removed from the laughter and chaos of the gathering and street night and, also as a detached memory , perhaps, very much part of it.

The Writers chosen name is apt indeed, when I hear his music I see the colour gold, sometimes, or fire low orange, or yes, the scary defeat and strangeness of Rust.

For music that sadness is a coiled snake within the machine, there is no angst here, or fuzziness, or strident complaining for better things deserved, but rather sonic snapshots of bits of a life not often glanced at in this preening sometimes nervously insecure genre.

I believe this music.

Then right up to date, done as recently as June if the details on the mp3 are to be taken as gospel, I’m Doing Fine, is a wry yet uplifting groove, an optimistic feel pulses through. For this artist, it seems he has decided that the BATTLE of being independent, be creative, being this storyteller is a delight in itself, not a giddy scream oh yeah delight, but something deeper, stronger.

Rewarding.

All these tracks , these EPs deserve exposure,  discovery is essential.

http://apollossun.com

You can hear tracks from the EPs on the next NBT Podcast this 23rd June 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

                              If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of Apollo’s Sun’s 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 36

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Heart Anchors  – Dune Tran (Independent Release)

Think of a movie. The beach at dawn, the film sped up, the sun thrown UP out of the darkness into the sky, the waves crashing senseless lonely.

Think of this movie. The 1st track of this tender collection is the soundtrack to that movie.

The movie slides into sepia crackle, and we see a young girl skip, dance kinda innocent, then falter walk backwards, the weight of the questions push at her, almost stop the shimmy, too much passion here though, the dance continue, the kites fly.

She can’t help herself she wants to always to hop, canter, swing herself around, then the Internal of the song takes her, things get slower, she allows herself to fall, hoping no, knowing, the music will catch her.

Time shifts, TimeChanges, this is sparkles, sparkling in the darkness illuminating lost lovers sitting quiet on cluttered couches, memories craving release.

Her songs are complicated things who wear a subtle orchestration, they are ballet dancers, half child half ghost.

Imagine another movie. A window, a fluttering curtain, the night sky, now here, now hidden.

She sings from another room, where moonlight shines through another window.

She invites you to dream.

Find out more here

http://www.dunetran.com

My Blacks Don’t Match – Darren Gaines and the Key Party (Independent Release)

Oh I adore this dirty Swing.

Gaines takes his ragged words and pokes them into the skin of proudly bruised songs, howling poetic, scaring the neighbors while seducing their daughters.

Track ‘She Says She Does’ is a poker game between Jim Carroll and Lou Reed, the shock sweetened by jiving horns and vocalist/violinist Sara Syms adding grace to the battle.

This is an alternate universe’s Blues Brothers, who kept their love of classical soul, but shared a beer or twenty with Joe Strummer and played messy and murky with Patti Smith.

While the swagger is infectious, this music has heart too, huge beating bleeding wanting pounding.

There is a true sense of urban epic in these songs that match a beautiful and honest story telling, images, harsh, vivid, intensely moving, completely unforgettable, spill out of the tunes and skitter restlessly around the listener’s soul.

Already, for me, an album of the year.

Find out for yourself

http://www.thekeypartynyc.com/

Hear Darren Gaines and the Key Party on this episode of the NBT Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=495389

and Dune Tran on this weeks broadcast (either Thursday or Friday)

 http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

The NBT Review 30

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Shotgun Daisy – Stacie Rose (Enchanted Records)

She is not going to wait around while we wake up, in her driving harmonic bittersweet world, she believes and sings for the strong, the ones that will find their way aided by a giddy mix of the ragged poetic and the sleek rock n roll.

Her instincts tell her, that love saves, that her tunes can be played without compromise floating subtle on summer TV screens broadcasting emotional misadventures.

She left turns into tales of break up, twisting the confession/recollection by getting Shawn Mullins to join in the chorus, adding dimension, deliciously distorting the point of view.

Sometimes the words tumble out double speed like school kids as the bell rings, sometimes the words sigh and float, stretched across the music like torch songs refugees that have found their hook.

Sometimes this all happens in the same song.

 She is comfortable with soul ballads and country raunch.

She is Stacie Rose and this is Shotgun Daisy

Find out more

http://www.stacierose.com

The Big Pretend – All Day Sucker (Trademark Entertainment/ big WOW music)

Outside while the wannabe starlets hustle and the cool boys glide, where the Eagles and America are NOT the wild bird and country, but the larger than life glossy surreal epic music groups, all is hot chaotic, beautiful and lost.

Inside the theatre lights dim and the movie begins. The Big Pretend begins.

First, there is car chase, Hollywood love letter style, driven by ‘Who’s Next’ keyboard riffs and frantic country rock vocals.

Then wry prayers, soaked in harmonies that even a cold lost European will know and love as Californian, and then baked in the POP oven Warren Zevon was known to use.

These are often sunny, sun glare bright stories, waiting while in midst shimmer, to flip over to the darkness of the over populated, ultra lonely big city night.

All Day Sucker love, have been seduced, have been hurt, scarred, saved by their city, and these are the songs, the films of the mind, that show it.

And in Riddles and Rain, this sensual tryst ‘tween the cinematic and the closely observed, transforms into a subtle classic that Brian Wilson and Craig Finn would be  proud of.

Find out more here

http://www.alldaysucker.net/

Hear both of these bands and a lot more on the NEXT NBT Podcast 26th April 09

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 26

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Array – Black Nite Crash (on Vinyl and CD by Custom Made Music)

The secret’s in the slow burn.

Opener ‘Revelator’ uncoils itself slow and sinister, with much atmospheric fuzz, rumbles and buzzing, and then the voices, light and dark, she and him, tumble seductive overhead.

By the time the howling pop of ‘Falling Down’ has arrived we accept this elementary darkness as our home and let the songs reveal their soul, bit by bit.

Comparisons to the J and M Chain and The Pixies have been made, but to my mind the band recalls a rougher Spiritualized or a gentler Sonic Youth, (though beware the gentle in these missives, there is a wickedness, wry and wonderful, at play here too.)

The trick is that the music is both thoughtful in that dirty RockNRoll way, and completely, frantically, danceable.

This is a welcome addition to the playlist sounds of any wrong (right) side of midnight deviant dance floor.

Find out more here

http://www.blacknitecrash.com

Fix – Adam Balbo (independent release)

19 songs in 30 or so minutes, NO!!  This is no retro punk surge, or even some novelty out-take throwaway, but rather a collection of discreet and contemplative miniatures.

Playing with the genre of Stripped down folk, Balbo comes at you with an almost shy warm voice, mixing in humor with a side portion of melancholy and sometimes (when it fits) even bitterness. Sometimes the words flicker and flutter out urgent to get to the conclusion, sometimes given the brevity of the tune; they seem to stroll calmly into storytelling land.

Stand out tune for me is the slightly longer than normal (for this set) ‘Forget About The Crease’ which time shifts an intimate relationship, focusing on tiny movements and fragments of dialogue, it seems to be a song about regret, but regret for something about to happen!

And that is the beauty of the writing here, so much is implied, sketched, and it trusts in our empathy to complete the journey.

A Highly Rewarding Listen

http://www.myspace.com/adambalbo

Look Ahead – Chrissy Coughlin (independent release)

Chrissy Coughlin creates a sturdy unpretentious form of RocknPop, utilizing ingredients from rich country music stews and satisfyingly deep rhythm n blues concoctions.

In the tradition of artists like Bonnie Raitt, she creates polished yet also gritty chart friendly tunes, which remain honest, revealing and perceptive.

She is not afraid to share/show the fragile (‘Honestly’) and restrained anger (Watch Your Step) or offer up her love (the title track) this latter tune specially stands out and is destined to be a summer hit, playing from car radios across the nation.

Look out too, for the driving somewhat bluesy cover of Robert Plant’s,’Big Log’ which adds a sweetly harmonic and female slant to the steamy original.

Find out more here

http://www.chrissymusic.com

Hear Black Nite Crash on the NBT DarkElectric Podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/

And Adam Balbo + Chrissy Coughlin on this weeks NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 

The CyberPR (Ariel Publicity)New Media Pioneer Interviews 13

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New Media Pioneer: Kevin Breuner of the CD Baby Podcast

 

Kevin is a podcaster, blogger, and sync licensing agent.He resides in Portland, OR where he developed and maintains the podcasting and sync licensing efforts for CD Baby.

 

Podcast – http://cdbabypodcast.com

Blog – http://kevinbreuner.com

Twitter – kbreuner

 

Q: How long has the CD Baby Podcast been broadcasting?

 

A: Our first episode of the DIY Musician Podcast posted back in May 2007, so we have been podcasting for a year and a half.

 

Q: What do you try to acheive with each podcast?

 

With each episode, I’m always asking myself, “What can artists learn from this episode. Does this create discussion around topics that are really valuable to the indie music community?” Those questions are bouncing around in my head from the beginning to the end of an episodes production. I think with a podcast or blog, it’s incredibly important to stick to the intended purpose, and because of that, there are interviews that were never released. When it came down to it, they didn’t serve the purpose we want to achieve with the podcast. Ultimately, I hope that each episode continues to empower artists to take their music career into their own hands and make some realistic steps forward.

 

Q: What is the main goal of the CD Baby Podcast?

 

A: My goal with the podcast was to create an “honest” straight forward resource that CD Baby artists and the indie music community at large could use to help move their career forward. I always enjoy talking to other artists and musicians(I’m an artist as well!), and throughout my time at CD Baby, I’ve talked to thousands of artist that are trying to breakthrough with their music. What surprises me, is how many artists, both newbies and seasoned veterans alike, fall into the same traps over and over again.

 

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

 

A: So far, podcasting has remained relatively untouched. There are quite a few podcasts that play mainstream music (that has not been properly licensed), and I think we’ll start seeing the major labels take an interest in cracking down on the usage of that content. But the beauty of the podcast and the invention of the RSS feed, is that you can have direct access to people who are interested in what you are saying. There is no gate keeper telling you what you can and can’t do.

 

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

 

A: I do, and I’m actually surprised that more bands aren’t using podcasting to help promote their music. We actually interviewed a band that released a podcast before they even had all their members. The podcast chronicled their journey as they found the final member and wrote songs, recorded and so on. It immediately caught the attention of the folks over in the iTunes podcast section, and the band’s podcast received a front page feature before they had even played a show. By the time they had all their members and started playing out, people were coming out wearing the bands t-shirts they were selling through their website. The fans really felt a connection to the band. I will say though, for a band to have a podcast that builds their fan base, it must have a couple key components. 1. It must have a point – It can’t be people goofing off in front of a mic or telling inside jokes 2. It must draw the listener into the bands story – Save the shameless self promotion(They probably already are a fan) and give them the real you. 3. It has to be consistent – quite possibly the hardest part. Nobody will be interested in it if you do one episode every couple months. I’m actually in a new band here in Portland, and we have a podcast in the works. We’ve spent so much time really trying to define what it will be and how it will work just to make sure that it becomes a part of what we do. If we just made a random haphazard stab at it, it would be doomed from the beginning.

 

The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part Two

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And so we continue

Listen to These artists On the NBT special Christmas Show Going Out
19th Dec 08
http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/
Also catch the brand new NBT photo gallery featuring a whole bunch of the artists here:
http://jalbum.net/browse/user/album/82358/

Caroline Herring
‘Lantana’ the third release from Ms Herring, seemed to be shipped from another time and place, steeped in folklore and gothic country dreaming, it became a personal favourite for me, its gentle lucid nightmarish qualities revealing secrets with every listen.
http://www.carolineherring.com

The Histrioniks
Thin, the new release from the Histrionik duo was possible the most delightfully disturbing collection this year. Edgy new Wave and garage, it clung to bona fide punk roots while never losing sight of incredibly catchy hooks and melodies. It had an extremely dark heart though( a good thing ).

Larry: 2008 was an exciting year for The Histrioniks. We released our third CD, “Thin” on our own label, CatErratic Records. We were fortunate to get a publishing deal which will hopefully bear fruit in 2009. In addition to significant internet radio we have received some very positive reviews including an exceptionally creative and thorough critique from Martin, our NBT master of ceremonies. The title song, “Thin” along with “Too Black” and “Shattered Youth” have been the most represented.
For 2009, The Histrioniks are recording several demos that will more than likely be posted on our website. “Sleeping with a Ghost” is our current demo which we sent into NBT for airplay in December. Let us know what you think. There are no plans for a new Histrioniks CD in 2009 but there is a side project in the works that should be finished by the summer. Martin will in possession of a copy as soon as the CD is released so hopefully all of you rock ’n rollers out there will dig it.
To all of our fellow NBT artists we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and prolific musical 2009. Of course, as always, our sincere thanks to our friend Martin for making NBT possible.
Cat and Larry The Histrioniks Baltimore, MD USA

Email: levy201@comcast.net
Myspace: www.myspace.com/thehistrioniksWebsite: www.thehistrioniks.com

Luke Jackson
Imagine a collection of lost kinks songs recorded in Sweden by a Canadian artist with a full orchestra guided along with a British film soundtrack sensibility.
And you are only a third of the way in capturing the essence of ‘..And Then Some’

Luke: 2008 was a fantastic year for me. I started it off shooting the video for “Come Tomorrow” in the freezing Canadian Winter. I had finished recording my new album “…And Then Some” in late 2007 and I spent most of 2008 getting ready to release it, which finally happened on November 4th, auspiciously the same day that Barack Obama was elected president! OK, he’s not OUR president, but the less said about Canadian politics the better.

2009 is going to be a mindblowing year. I will be becoming a Father at the end of January, all things being equal, and that is going to eclipse anything else that goes on in my life and career. Still, I hope that by the time my wife and I come up for air, I’ll be able to hit the road and play some dates in Europe and the States. Oh, and there’s a video in production for “Goodbye London” that is not like anything else you’ve ever seen!

http://www.myspace.com/luke_jackson

Richard Kapp

Richard calls himself the ‘Mad Musical Scientist’ but to my mind he is FAR more subtle than that, hiding a passion and an extremely warm heart and soul under the veneer of the gentle cynic. Richard composes brittle show tunes for the thoughtful and the jaded alike.
http://www.richardkapp.com/

Holly Long

I wrote this on the NBT blog about Holly’s ‘Leaving Kansas’
The darkness of mortality and the brilliance of redemption, this is an album of personal strength and victory over fear and falling.
The stories captured here are sharply focused, uncluttered and so very real. This is no doom and gloom epic, but is also no shiny happy people holy missive, it realises that even in redemption there is space for dirt and truth.
And truth can be harsh, as in opening track, ‘Brokedown’ where no punches are pulled, but , Whether this is sung to the mirror or directed to another character, the words may just set the woman free.
And the singer knows that when she sings ‘Trust Me’ it cannot be wrapped in sweetness but must allow for the edge of darkness to be believed.
And the singer knows that to haunt (as in ‘bones’) is to seduce and where there is pain light will always follow. You can be saved by the romance of the harmony and the shimmer of the piano.
And
If anyone fails to be moved and drawn into the world of ‘He and I (For Truman)’ then that poor listener is lost indeed.
A beautifully dark uplifting release.
http://www.hollylong.com/Tunes.html

Lotos Nile

Kissy Black and the Lotos Nile team, (specially Patrick Steven Patterson who deals directly with NBT) are the kind of promoters/distributors that go that extra hundred miles for their artists. Never once indulging in hype or hard sell, they remain one of the most dedicated and trustworthy sources of fine music on the net.
In May NBT was honoured to host a special Lotos Nile show
http://www.nextbigthing.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=334852
http://www.lotosnile.com/

Marcie
Dance, Trance, Techno and just good Pop Electronica are genres that NBT DIDN’T feature too broadly this year,( a state I hope to rectify HUGELY in 2009.) Thank goodness then for Marcie, who brought thrilling dance grooves and sleek chic dance floor rhythms into the dusty NBT barn!
Not only that but this multi tasker hosted the unique podcast `behind the lyric’ which she described as an audio commentary behind the songs we hear at the late night discos.
Marcie: 2008 was an amazing year! I saw the release of quite a few tunes, and had a #1 on the Beatport. com, the recognized leader in electronic dance music downloads. I am proud that a variety of releases made their mark on the scene. I think the highlight of the year was getting steady support from XM radio and the worlds top 10 DJ’s, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Matt Darey! 2008 saw the release of my EP with Scottish Producer, D:FOLT, and I’m quite proud of the ideas on that album.

My radio show, “Marcie presents Behind The Lyric” had a stellar year, getting picked up by numerous stations worldwide, and featuring many established chart topping artists, as well as new faces! The best thing about the show is that it gives listeners a glimpse into an Artist’s personal creative process. I find working on the show to be a constant source of inspiration for me, and I love that there is now a ‘family’ of artists who have been on the show. Hearing from each other gives us a new respect for our art. Each episode has its own unique character due to the eclectic mix of featured guests! I am grateful that so many guests have opened up to the fans, and shared an intimate part of themselves on my show.

2009 is going to be just as exciting! I’m always in the studio working on new material. Some people tell me not to try to write as much as I do, so I do not risk burnout or over-exposure… but until I run out of things to say, I will keep writing. Sometimes my songs appeal to other people, and sometimes they are just for myself, but either way, songwriting has become an indispensible part of my life. I appreciate all the support from fans, and from sites like NextBigThing. Sharing my creations with you is the greatest blessing I have.
http://www.myspace.com/webmarcie
http://www.myspace.com/behindthelyric

The Jaik Miller Band

With vocals that get right under the skin and scratch at the soul and gritty tightly constructed pop tunes, the Jaik Miller band made you want to go for a drive with the radio on..LOUD.
Recalling and utilizing a very American grasp of country tinged rock and pop, the band calls on the quirky ghosts of the 80s (violent femmes even tom petty) with the irony and sadness of the hectic NOW.
http://jaikmillerband.net

Sheri Miller
One of the most read interviews on NBT this year was with Sheri, as we talked about subjects as diverse as Diamanda Galas, Magic and Charles Bukowski, revealing a singer songwriter intensely creative and forever searching.
Sheri: 2009—-I’m pretty excited, as I’m already half-way through writing my next record, and I’m pretty pleased with the songs so far.
I’ve been road-testing them live at shows, and have gotten really enthusiastic audience reactions, a true litmus test. I hope to start recording this record
next year…cross your fingers for that! And in January 2009- SOON, SOON, I will debut my new music video for “Waste My Breath” on a big screen and all
over the internet. We filmed it in October 2008, in Soho and South Street Seaport of New York City, with over 30 amazing girls lip-synching the lyrics.
They were fantastic, and it was wild to see all these young ladies lip-synching lyrics I had written. Please keep checking back to http://www.sherimiller.com
and myspace.com/sherimiller for updates on the video! And I’d also love if you’d sign up for my email list on either site, to keep you posted on new
shows, videos, free music give-aways, and exciting news. Oh yes! Bring on the 2009!

2008—-After years and years of keeping my head down low in the trenches, playing shows, practicing for hours, and writing hundreds of songs, I
released my debut EP “Mantra” in February. I’m quite proud of it, and it was also received warmly from the press, with some very nice critical acclaim.
I got to play some wonderful shows in NY and LA, ranging from Hotel Cafe to Bowery Ballroom to B.B. King’s to The Living Room, both stripped-down
solo and with a full band (and live string section!) I just found out this month, that I’m featured in Music Connection Magazine’s “Hot 100 Unsigned
Artist” list in their December 2008 magazine. I think you can buy Music Connection magazine in newstands nationwide. I also cut back on my huge
Starbucks coffee addiction, which is a plus, started eating slightly healthier (less buttercream cupcakes and Philly chicken-cheesesteaks) and have
started listening to classical music again. So I’m grateful for 2008, I really feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. Including NBT- a great podcast, and a
wonderful source to discover great new music. Thanks so much, you guys!
www.sherimiller.com

OurAfter
From the NBT review of Tabula Rasa
John Phillips started this turbulent year by writing a blog for NBT about the independent music scene in Pennsylvania, a rare text of promise and optimism and now his band finishes the year with the release of a five song EP that seeks out new sounds while keeping what worked so well in their previous release.
The EP is full of pure pop moments, allowing rough edges to slide into the perfect polish, injecting tinges of darker edgier rhythms from indie grunge influences (Envious Eyes) to the more anthem like sounds of ‘Echo’ that recall Joshua Tree period U2.
The band talks of a ‘mainstream crossover,’ with this EP, and in the creation of these songs have set their sights high, high in the charts of the indie playlists, on the radios and podcasts across the world.
http://www.myspace.com/ourafter

Amy Raasch
Singer/songwriter/actress/poet there was nothing it seemed to us that Amy could not do, and do extremely well. She had her own 52 songs project to keep her busy and/or slightly insane and released the album ‘Love Or Inertia’ to much acclaim. NBT called it ‘’a love letter to the lost, and a shy note to the soon to be found’’
Amy:
If you’ve ever made a dream come true, you may have discovered a fascinating dynamic of human nature: it isn’t long before all you want to do is make the next one happen!
Such was the experience of releasing my debut album, “Love or Inertia,” in 2007. Making that album was the most difficult thing I’d ever done — a true labor of love — and it was thrilling to play songs from it live. Yet as the months progressed, I began to register a growing ache to return to the well of the songwriting process. So, in the dark hours before the dawn of 2008,“52 Songs in 52 Weeks” was born.

I decided I would post the new tunes on YouTube, in a raw, acoustic form — usually learning them as tape was rolling! Minus the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike, I had to dig for it. And minus the luxury of abandoning too many ideas — for being “not good enough,” “impossible to finish,” stylistically untried, etc — I was forced to loosen my grasp on perfection. The shockingly positive reviews garnered by some of these “risky” songs taught me that I didn’t necessarily know everything about my own songs, and freed me up to take even more chances.

I also found inspiration in the lives of others. As an actor, putting myself in someone else’s shoes has always come naturally, but what crystallizes from a true story into a song is unpredictable and revealing.
“On the Shores of Elsinore,” a bluesy rocker sung from the perspective of a 14 year-old, African-American girl, is one such tune. Confronted with racist boys in big, red trucks in the desert town where her family seeks a better life, she refuses to be bullied even when her life is threatened. “Rooftops of Babylon” expresses the confusion of an Iraq war veteran reviled in whispers she overhears around her hometown, and “Version of Me” shoots from the hip of a defiant teenager gone missing.
All of these people taught me more about life, as did the process of continuing to work even as my own life was plowed through with unprecedented intensity. As a result, I enter 2009 at my humblest, most honest and clearer about my dreams than ever. I am excited to see what will be revealed. My deepest wish is that it will inspire others to make their own dreams come true…one after another.
Your thoughts and opinions on the new songs are welcomed and encouraged. Sign the mailing list at amyraasch.com to share the journey — and to help shape the new album!
http://www.amyraasch.com/

Red Rock Management
Ritchie Koning and the guys at this German based distribution and promotions label are dedicated to getting the best rock and alternative bands to the worlds ears, and introduced NBT listeners to bands from all over including Norway, Italy, the UK and of course Germany. From Industrial to metal to quirky experimental electrix they slipped right into the NBT eclectic.
http://www.redrock-management.de:80/

Sarathan Records

Jonathan Kochmer (owner) and Kara McGraw (head of Marketing) say it all so I will let them take the stage without further ado.

Jonathan: 2008 has been a very busy year for Sarathan Records! Some of the highlights have been our newest releases (War Tapes’ EP, Feral Children’s “Second to the Last Frontier” and Peter Bradley Adams’ “Leavetaking”. Also, I got to tour with my trip-hop band Two Loons for Tea throughout the US for three months, supporting our 2007 release, “Nine Lucid Dreams”. What a blast!

Like all companies throughout the world, big and small, we’re saddened and have been affected by the various global economic crises. But the situation has forced us to think very critically about how we spend every dollar and every minute of our time, and happily, this disciplined outlook has allowed us to simultaneously cut costs, increase efficiency — and to substantially increase sales and our artists’ profiles. A big part of this success is due to the earnest efforts of our growing team of talented interns, both at Sarathan headquarters in Seattle, as well as across the US and Canada. Thanks to all of you!

We’ve only been a full-fledged label since 2006 — so we’re thrilled that 2009 promises to be the year that our artists, and the label, truly explode onto the global music scene. Our 2009 releases will include full-lengths by War Tapes, Abra Moore, Feral Children, Peter Bradley Adams, Two Loons for Tea, our newest artist Thunder Buffalo, and others to be announced later. We’re proud to have such hardworking and talented artists, staff, interns and partners, and look forward to getting our music into the ears and hearts of everyone who might enjoy it. We believe that musical tastes in 2009 will continue to be diverse, which is one reason why we have such an eclectic roster. We also recognize that 2009 is likely to be a very challenging time financially for everyone — but feel ennobled by and proud of being able to offer the gift of music to everyone.

Kara McGraw: Sarathan Records is but one of the many start up companies to take inspiration from Amazon and Microsoft and struggle to come into their own in downtown Seattle. As it is with many labels, the concept of Sarathan started with one band — in Sarathan’s case, Two Loons for Tea. As the reputation of Two Loons for Tea grew, the company gradually expanded to embrace a uniquely eclectic roster of artists whose styles range from singer/songwriter to hiphop to rock. Its small crew of avid music-lovers huddles in a building, once known for being the WTO Anarchist headquarters. Sarathan’s walls picture large, stylized roses and giant hummingbirds that inspire its team to seek out the sweetest things in life: inspiring art, creative music, and good fun!

The year 2008 has carried its share of trials and triumphs for this little indie label. It started off with a bang when the label signed three fantastic artists: War Tapes, Peter Bradley Adams, and the vivacious Feral Children. The responsibility of preparing for three great summer releases transformed Sarathan into a buzzing hubbub of excitement and activity. The marketing team grew to help cover tour and release promotions, and routines were more firmly established to preserve organization during the expansion. As a result of Sarathan’s efforts, Peter Bradley Adams’ album has seen a surge in radio plays, reaching top twenty in the non-com charts and exhibiting some impressive staying power in AAA stations. War Tapes have performed with big names such as Tiger Army, The Bravery, and VNV Nation, and Feral Children been featured alongside Fleet Foxes, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), and The Ettes. Most recently, Sarathan was proud to announce that Two Loons for Tea was honored as finalist in the 2008 Independent Music Awards.

Despite these successes, this year’s recent financial crisis has unfortunately taken its toll on Sarathan. After cutting as many extraneous costs as possible, Sarathan realized it would have to let go a few of its beloved employees. Heartbroken, yet determined that the “show must go on,” Sarathan looks toward 2009 with faith in its artists and hope for a bright new year.

http://sarathan.com

Dudley Saunders
Simply: Dudley Saunders made the NBT Album of the year by a solo Artist. Ok it seems to have been released in 2007 BUT we only heard of it in 08, The Emergency Lane deserves to be heard by ANYONE who likes the music NBT plays and writes about.
Dudley: “In 2007, I discovered that the old print media had stopped covering underground artists. But in 2008, the blogosphere bucked the mainstream and started to champion THE EMERGENCY LANE – and did a better, smarter job of it than old-media ever did. The result? Burnside Distribution just picked up THE EMERGENCY LANE for an official re-release. I owe it all to podcasters and bloggers who had minds of their own.

And in 2009? I’ve just written and recorded my first song for an independent feature film (which, so far, they like, so keep your fingers crossed). In the spring, I’ll be singing Chris Rael’s song-cycle ARABY in New York. And I’ll be regularly releasing acoustic versions of the songs I’m writing for my next CD, NOVELSONGS – all songs inspired by – you guessed it – novels!
http://www.dudleysaunders.com

Phyllis Sinclair
This gentle Protester….
Phyllis: The beginning of 2008 found me preparing to package my second album, Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole. It was important to me to present this album in a way that would intrigue because I wanted its stories to be heard. The sentiment of “Fathomless Tales….” didn’t stray far from my first album, Fence Posts and Stones.

Fence Posts and Stones told the story of Hannah, an Aboriginal woman who died in the north end of the city of Winnipeg, and her unique way of coping with the difficulties that met her there while she struggled to maintain her dignity and Aboriginal identity. It also contained songs like “Sleep Baby Blue Eyes” a lullaby which included spoken word in my Cree language, and “North Coast Fisher Wife’s Prayer” all of which I worked hard at writing with integrity and respect for its subjects and subject matter.

My challenge with this new work was to meet, and hopefully surpass, the success of Fence Posts and Stones so that these new stories like “Main Street” and “Sayisi Song” would also be heard amidst “Encinitas” and “Lost for Words”, which I also value for entirely different reasons. The goal for this new album was to, once again present struggle as a powerful impetus for positive change, to view difference as an avenue for exciting exploration, and to shed light on the challenges faced by Canada’s Aboriginal people in a way that everyone could relate to in small way. After wrestling with album titles for over a month, I decided on Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole, because I felt that that was exactly what this album was: a collection of stories that most everyone could relate to, and which allowed the listener to be taken beneath the obvious surface beauty of life to explore deep, dark and often vulnerable places.

The surprise one finds is that beauty is found here too: to view, to feel, to explore. The stories and packaging of Fathomless Tales from Leviathan’s Hole were designed to allow the listener to be willingly led to witness and explore a side of life whose beauty is often hidden.
I feel that I have met this goal to a great degree since this album was selected as one of the Top Recommended Albums of 2008 by American Music Belgium and was nominated for Best Folk Acoustic Album by the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Along with gaining interest in my music, 2008 presented a deep personal loss. My mother, the last surviving member of her family, the last fluent Cree speaker of our family, and the strongest link to our Cree culture passed away. Her passing leaves a huge hole in our family. She had a unique and humorous way of saying and doing things that were obviously an effect of the colorful and expressive Cree language that she loved so dearly.
As the eldest member of the family, I feel a renewed sense of responsibility to ensure that those things that make us Cree stay alive. Her passing has somehow ignited my determination to document our historical experience and chart our cultural future. How this will reveal itself in my music will be a surprise to us all.

Regardless, my goal in 2009 is to continue writing songs with the same degree of empathy and compassion, to not compromise my sound for one that is more accepted, and make music that everyone can relate to in some small way. I have a lot of work ahead of me in 2009 but as they say….”inch by inch” A valued friend once said to me “Don’t look up the hill and see how far you have to go. Look back down and see how far you’ve come.” Great advice! Best wishes to my fellow songwriters in 2009, health and happiness to all who listen and who support independent music. Peace.
http://www.phyllissinclair.com

Strangers In Wonderland
Another band, another duo who found the magic: in the dark places in the dreaming and in our fragile reality.
Swedish sugar coated spikes of sonic shivers.
http://www.strangersinwonderland.com/