The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part One

wonderful-ones

The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part One

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/

 

Well it’s been 12 long hectic eclectic months since i last featured The Wonderful Ones. In that 12 months the NBT Project became ‘’the little Resource that could.’’

Listenership of the podcast nearly trebled, the readership of the NBT blogs soared to five times as much, the offshoot podcast for darker music was born, and the Alternative country podcast is almost ready for the tear and glare of the internet universe.

Again I was amazed and thrilled to find so much good music out there in Independent Land. Music of honour, strength and passion, Punk, Pop, Soul, Dance, Rock n Folk, all the tribes were heard from, and NBT found itself in the weird position of trying to fit three years of new music in just 356 days.

So. Here they are

The Bands

The Artists

The Resources (labels, promoters, distributers)

The Wonderful Ones of 2008.

Below (in Alphabetical Order) is a bit about each of them, as well as thoughts from the bands/artists themselves about this past turbulent year and their hopes for 2009

Ariel Publicity/Rhoda

Those who are regular readers of NBT, know that we host the Ariel ‘New Media Pioneer Interviews’ which showcase those brave souls/podcasters/bloggers who spend their time promoting independent music on the net. But of course AP is much more than that; it is tireless in its efforts to expose new artists to the world, to get them seen on as many stages (virtual and worldly) as is possible. I asked Ariel to choose and artist for selection onto this blog and here is Rhoda.

A native of Uganda, Rhoda was raised in the Washington, D.C. area, where East and West African rhythms, pop, jazz, Broadway, R&B, and hip hop music imbued her childhood, creating a unique hybrid in her musical sensibilities. As a member of various choral groups, from school and church choirs to a female a capella group while attending the University of Virginia, Rhoda’s musical instruction includes five-part harmony and piano. Her talent emerges from deeply within, guided by a natural force of love and passion for all things creative.

Rhoda: The year that was 2008 has been yet another wonderful year in my musical journey. Early in 2008, I joined a rock band as one of three lead vocalists performing at various charitable events, including fundraisers for local school communities and AIDS research, with some incredible celebrities, including Paul Shaffer, American Idol Ruben Studdard and American Idol contestant Kimberly Locke. As the year progressed, I continued to bring the West Village, Harlem and even Jersey City’s respective houses down performing with the greatest funk cover band in the land, Loose Booty.  And in September of 2008, I released my second solo album. The album Rhoda is my deepest treasure; my collection of soulful songs of the heart which explore some of the most significant relationships of my life.

As 2008 draws to a close, I look back with an inspired and adoring eye, remaining ever-grateful for all the beautiful harmonies sung, every amazing solo played, every kind word of support and encouragement from MySpace friends, music bloggers, and warm faces in the audience, and most of all, for every moment I saw and felt someone moved by the music I feel so honored and compelled to create.  As I look forward to 2009, I see myself performing intimate acoustic sets at various venues in New York City and throughout the East Coast, I see many more endless hours of the funk brought to you by Loose Booty, and yes, I see album number 3 which me and my incredible producer, Kareem A. Walkes, have already started writing. It’s going to be a lovely ride. I hope you’ll join me.

http://arielpublicity.net

http://www.rhodankojo.com/

Bilkis

Bilkis aka Sophie brought a stripped down electronica/folk into the NBT world in 2008, melding the ghosts of This Mortal Coil, and Nick Drake and making shadows and blurs sensual again.

Bilkis: 2008 has been a productive year. I have spent quite a lot of time working at my craft of singing.

And started some recordings with Victor Kuc, I am excited with what we are producing… and although we haven’t had much time together for recording.. he lives in Poland I live in London… we hope to do more work together early next year. We produced a great cover version of Bel Biv Devoe’s Poison, which needs a few finishing touches before it can be released. And have started work on one of my own tracks which I should be done in the next month…(takes longer when you don’t live in the same country!)

 

In 2009 I’m going to be spending more time Poland. While I’m there I’ll not only be recording things and putting down beats for my own Album, but doing some collaborative work on tracks which are stylistically very different from what I do…I’m sure the result will be interesting!!

I hope to have releases also, a single near the beginning of the year… and hopefully an album later on in the year.

www.myspace.com/bilkis

BirdEatsBaby

As the days turned to winter and flirted hard with the snow reflected nights, NBT discovered warmth upon the cabaret stage with the crooked PopTheatre sounds of BirdEatsBaby. Look out for the debut album early 2009, and played an extreme amount of times by us.

BeB: Birdeatsbaby began the year fresh-faced and eager, filled with the hope and energy, which every hard-working band feels, thinking that this would be the year for us. So far, we have watched as the music industry buckled under downloading chaos, and descend further into the same old Indie crap. But we are not broken, we have kept playing, some were bad gigs, such as empty rooms and deepest, darkest Ipswich. We have also had the opportunity to play to wonderful, appreciative audiences, with artists such as Thomas Truax and Lou Hickey. We were one of the last bands to play the hallowed Pressure Point stage before its closure, and we were featured in an acoustic set at the Great Escape Festival.

                However, we are forever looking forward. This year will be the making of us, our album is ready and we will be releasing it around May 2009. To promote this, we are setting off on a grand tour of the U.K. and Europe, with our arch-nemesis Mr. Joe Black. With our combined efforts, we shall descend upon Europe and give them a show they will never forget. We shall prevail.

http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk

Deni Bonet

Classically trained Violinist Deni Bonet, has played with a shiver inducing who’s who of of the finest alternative folk indie and pop artists around including NBT personal faves, REM , Warren Zevon and Richard Thompson. But in 08 she brought out her album `Last Girl On Earth’ which showcased a great mix of the vulnerable and the sassy.

http://www.denibonet.com/

Joe Cassady and the West Coast Sound

This was music of subtle textures, it had a polished surface that enticed into a disturbing yet welcoming world that mixed the surreal with beat poet wanderings, then mixed it all up again with an seeming effortless folk rock boogie. The album, ‘What’s Your Sign’ had one of the best covers this year as well.

Joe: 2008 was a big year for us!  It started out on some pretty high notes with a lot of great recognition for our debut full-length CD, What’s Your Sign?  The first week of the year saw it named by USA Today music editor Ken Barnes as one of his favorite CD’s of 2007, that was followed by a similar recognition from Soundstage! magazine. We then began our European radio and media campaign for the record and were thrilled to have it very well received.  BBC2’s Bob Harris spun us two weeks straight on his show in the UK which was a huge honor and we were similarly honored with all the various airplay and press received we received, NBT included!

In May it was back to the studio again to begin recording our follow-up record The 47th Problem which will be out on the Avenue A Records label in February and which NBT is getting first cracks at previewing in the “Best of 2008” podcast.  Somewhere in between all of this we played 40 live dates and I hosted a weekly Americana Music series called “Avenue A Records Presents” at locations in New York City and New Jersey—it was a busy year!  In 2009 we will be releasing our new CD The 47th Problem in the U.S. and Europe and playing a ton of shows here in the U.S. in support of it.  Hope you enjoy it.  Have a great 2009!

http://www.joecassady.com

Colour Cold

With the release of debut album ‚‘Safe From Silence‘The far from Cold Bloemfontein South African band proved all of us that had been praising them to the mountains and over the oceans and beyond had been right. An example of what College Rock should sound like, taking dashings of EMO, Hard Rock and Power Ballads, and with ‘to die for’ pop hooks left behind the angst and self satisfaction of most of the ‘BIGname’ superstars.

CC: The year we decided to run!

It is always exciting to begin a new year. Something urges you to do better and elaborate plans fill January month to help bring the big world a little closer to your stage. The challenge is not the beginning of the year; it is keeping the excitement and drive long enough to help you through the challenges of those plans.

We began 2008 the same way we do every year, only this time we decided to run.

With a borrowed budget, late night recording sessions after work, phone calls that reached almost one hundred and e-mails to four countries, we released our debut album and performed to a sold out venue in our hometown. Two to three months passed and with June approaching, it all seemed to be slowing down. More phone calls and more e-mails… till suddenly we see one of our songs climb an independent rock chart up and up to number two. Reviews clearly state that a lot of effort was put into the album release and radio stations are now taking our phone calls and arranging interviews on shows we have been listening to for years.

We have achieved more in 2008 than the previous three years combined, but our greatest success has been the friendship and trust we have gained from people around the world who we have never even met.

The video documentary with Gee Davey was certainly a highlight this year. My hope for 2009 is that more artists come together and enjoy the gift of music a little more. I think that the business of music in general will stay on the same road next year, and those who keep their feet firmly on the petrol, or gas if you prefer, will have more success. For Colour Cold, 2009 will be a continuation of 2008, with more music off the shelf, live shows to film and great friends to meet.

And if you thought we run pretty fast, watch us sprint!

Liz Tsikkos COLOUR COLD

http://www.colourcold.co.za/

Ian Churchward/The Morrisons/Legendary Ten Seconds

No ‘best of year’ NBT blog would be complete without mentioning Ian, band member of  The Morrisons AND the Legendary Ten Seconds, Ian forever brings the spirit of John Peel into the NBT studio, which is one of the small things that keeps me going. He also composed the insanely catchy NBT theme tune.

http://www.freewebs.com/themorrisonsband

Feral Children

A private howl for every bedroom, a group gasp and the indie world dances, its the songs behind the stories of the smeared lipstick, the starlight sparkle of the bottle in the forest, the StagediveEternal.  ‘Second to the Last Frontier’ becomes NBT’s   Album of the Year by a Band.

FERAL CHILDREN’S Assessment of 2008:
2008 was a long year, a busy year for our band and ourselves. We started 2008 by playing a sold-out new years show, followed closely by the first of four tours. We saw the courting of ourselves by our current record label, Sarathan Records. We watched sunsets in the Moab Desert on the way to and from Austin. We played benefits for local and national causes. We wondered if we can tour Europe in 2009. We started writing a new record. We found ourselves in New Jersey at a bowling alley eating pork roll and tofu while a band set up 40 amps. We deafly drove home in four days. We’re home now finishing our preproduction for the first recording session of our next record, which will bookend 2008 quite nicely.2009 is anyone’s guess. We will finish recording our second record, possibly in more sections due to talk of tours. We’re still wondering if we can go to Europe or Japan this next year. Our only goal is to hopefully become better musicians through the process of touring and writing. Hopefully that will be the case.
Some of our reviews- 
Pitchfork 
CMJ
 
Visit us-
website

Lauren Fincham

One of the few Artists to make both the 2007 AND the 2008 lists, Lauren released the album ‚‘Perfect Pain‘and we had the pleasure of writing about it for our first ever NBT Review Blog.

Lauren: 2008 was a quiet, reflective year for me; I feel like I finally regained my creative focus.

 Most of my challenges were internal – emotional struggles with changing relationships and my own economic ups & downs.

I did get to reconnect with some important people that I’d thought I’d lost to drugs, but they’ve returned and are starting to share their musical gifts once again.

I am very grateful for that gift.

I also learned that my dog Anya is helping me to have more patience and know how to enjoy a nap.

 2009

 I really really want to travel more this year – I have been dreaming of going to Iceland for 3 yrs and haven’t gotten it together yet – but hopefully I will soon

I also would like to travel to a lot of the cities and countries to meet the awesome folks that support and play my music.

Maybe someone out there can help me come up with some ideas on how to do that?

 I have big plans to be bolder and more prolific with my creative ventures…

 We’ll see how that turns out.

http://www.12houserecords.com/lfincham/index.htm

 

 

Gee Davey

A time warp-tumble of now and then, hints of hardcore, grandfunky  SoulGrunge pop. Super shiny artifacts rolled reflecting on empty cold beaches and  the super light flares on the highways of the big city.

As well as releasing a captivating EP this year (She Sells Smiles) DJ and the guys collaborated with South African band Colour Cold to make a two part Video Documentary about both bands; check out both bands myspace pages for news on that.

DJ from Gee Davey: 2008 was a great year for us in Gee Davey –land.  We really, really, threw ourselves into our live show this year and we have really just been gigging anywhere and everywhere they would let us play.  This year was such a mosaic of shows, to think back on it now is fascinating.

In 2008:  we played for thousands of people under a beautiful sunset just yards from the water on the north shore of Long Island and we played for only seven people at one of the hippest clubs in New York City; we played during the hell of late August when the air conditioners broke, and we played at midnight during the first snowfall in December  (strangely enough, at the same club); we played at 1 in the afternoon and we played at 2 in the morning; we played with hard rock bands, modern rock bands, classic rock bands, jam, metal, psychedelic-trip, power-pop and cover bands, and some of the best bands we have ever shared a stage with.  We played on while sweat burned our eyes, and blood trickled from our fingers; while our equipment faltered, and our voices gave out.  But most importantly, we played on.

And just as we end every show we play, I give you the very last line of the night, from “Last Song”…

…and I’ll sing my song to you, it’s all I want to do.

Thank you very much 2008…    (and goodnight!)

http://www.geedavey.com/

Grand Atlantic

From Australia the BIG music, on their album ‘This Is..’ Grand Atlantic tapped in the orchestral majestic finding superb sweetness and infinite sighs within their beautiful pop songs.

Phil Usher: 2008 turned out to be a different year from what we had planned, but was a typically busy one for Grand Atlantic.  We began writing and recording our second LP in December 2007 and had hoped to finish up by April 08.  Of course being an independent band, there are many things to consider and we ended up finishing the tracking at the end of August.  The missed deadline wasn’t helped by our usual ambitious approach to writing and recording an album.  I am happy to say that the album has been mixed by the fabulous Magoo and was mastered in Nashville last week.  So we are already looking forward to a release in 2009 with many shows and hopefully some overseas touring. 

 

On the live front, we have done many shows this year in Australia, in and around our base in Brisbane.  Some highlights were the sold out Beatles tribute night, supporting some great Australian and International bands, and launching our new single “Tripwires” at the Troubadour to a capacity crowd.  We’re playing our last show for the year this week and then taking a break for Christmas etc…  2009 will be an exciting one with the release of our 2nd album entitled “How We Survive.”  We hope everyone has a great Christmas and would like to wish everyone a successful and happy new year.  See you out on the road in 2009!!!

http://www.grandatlantic.org/

 

The Heise Bros

 

Country garage, indie rough n rock, the simple pleasure of the unfiltered alternative to the gloss and posing of much of the music industry. The Heise Bros, became , for NBT at least, the spiritual children of bands like the Replacements and the DBs.

 

2008, as The Heise Bros. see it:  It started off with a bang, very literally. On December 31st, Nelson’s wife was getting induced for labor while the brothers had a New Year’s Eve gig to play. Fortunately, the doctor’s assured Nelson and his wife that Paige Susan Heise would not be born until the morning of the next day, Nelson snuck out of the hospital for an hour and played the show and came back to his wife side (with her permission, of course). Paige was born around 9 AM on January 1st, 2008. So things started well as Nelson was a new father and Robert a new uncle. But that did not prevent the boys from putting out their annual album entitled “III: The Return of The Heise Bros.”, featuring their new band mate Matt Egger. The brothers played a handful of acoustic and electric shows in 2008 in support of the new effort, and remain as always an unknown treasure to see live.

2009, as The Heise Bros. see it. This upcoming year will feature the brothers other band, The Hit & Mrs., follow up record. This will feature longtime drummer V. Stak. This tends to display the more rockin’ side of the brothers. Right now, they are working on the vocals and mixes. For your listening pleasure, the brothers will let you hear one of the rough mixes on NBT with a song called “Saint Maria” and a VU cover. Enjoy!

www.theheisebros.com

www.thehitandmrs.com

www.100under60.com

Hemifran

For any broadcaster/podcaster/blogger/radio head honcho, Hemifran is a pure wonderful blessing.

Run with elegance by Peter Holmstedt, hemifran concentrates on getting independent music from around the world, heard in Europe. Many of the bands on this very blog and on the Wonderful Ones Podcast are sourced to NBT by this company.

http://www.hemifran.com

The Wonderful Ones 2008 continues HERE

https://nbtmusic.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/the-wonderful-ones-2008-part-two/

 

 

 

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The Making of “Safe From Silence”

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Dirk Hanekom Vocalist for Colour Cold shares some thoughts on the creation of the bands debut release.

 

I think it was Frank Zappa that said “Sometimes, writing about music is like dancing to architecture”. I couldn’t agree more. It’d be easy to describe the making of our album in purely techno-istic jingo; Two weeks recording with another week for polishing, and two months of mixing sessions slotted in between work, practice and the rest of the daily bullshit that gets in the way of what we love doing most, namely making music. So with that in mind, I’ll share my fondest recollections of making “Safe From Silence” with as little technical crap like sample-rates and layers and drop-ins as is humanly possible.

We started on a beautiful August morning, moving our gear into MARS Studios, and spent the rest of the day getting a basic rough sound for the whole band, where we could play together as a band without being separated into single little boxes where each of us would have to play individually on our own. This setup made for a much more relaxed vibe whilst recording and I have to say that I was particularly grateful for that. We spent the first week laying down basic tracks, with the rhythm section going first (meaning that we still played together, but with more emphasis on Dirk and Tiaan), and then the same with me and Liz. After the basic tracks had been laid, Liz went wild with her guitar parts, nailing them either first time, or only after take 1 million. Whichever the case, I think she did a brilliant job, and her ‘voice’ on guitar really is one of the outstanding things about our album. Then it was down to me, my vocal chords, an isolated room and headphones.

Here I have to give a huge shout out to Malcolm Aberdein, producer and head poohbah of MARS Studios. He was not only our producer on this album, but also a mentor and more importantly a friend. Malcolm helped me reach places deep inside of myself and thus helped me make my voice soar to places I didn’t think it could reach. Colour Cold was very lucky to have been able to work with someone so dedicated and passionate…and that’s the short of it. The long would take more space than I have here, and besides, the amount of energy, tenacity and downright criminal fun we had with making Safe From Silence would be hard to bring across properly, however long there is to talk about it. I hope whoever is reading this will have a good time with our album, and if our music can make you crack even the faintest of smiles, or frowns depending on your demeanor, then our job has been done well. I’m never good at endings, so I’ll close this off with a thank you to our fans, who are the very soul of what we do, and the top 5 things I learned while making this album:

5. Making breakfast for your band gives you at least 2 extra hours in the day before your nerves start to get frazzled…

4. if your guitar has earthing problems (here’s the only place I’ll get technical) then take a standard guitar cable, cut off one end, attach that to the bridge of your guitar and the other end attached somewhere on your person and viola! No more earthy-hiss…

3. Laugh every now and again.

2. if your producers three year old starts bouncing on the carpet when you play a track, that’s a good sign.

1. As terribly clichéd as this sounds, never give up. The next take might just be the one you’ve been waiting for.

 

Thanks and Peace. D

 http://www.colourcold.co.za 

The NBT Review 2

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Jaik Miller Band   Jaik Miller Band (Truth Movement)

 Something about this release makes me think of vinyl, American new wave mixed with the grit and glory of a country rock free at last from the self-pity and the tears. This new recording recalls the ghosts of the first two Tom Petty releases and almost famous and always cool artists like John Hiatt and Graeme Parker.

There is a timeless and easy grin feel to this, no airbrushing the anger and the heartbreak, but… that grin, that energy, never falters.

4447 is pure single, a song the listener knows and loves from the first rolling verse, sliding easily into the air and waiting for national fame when the band (WILL) eventually play Austin City Limits. (not being of the US of A, i have no idea if that show is still going but oh i hope so).

That is not to say there is no darkness on the edge of Miller’s town, many of the tunes come weary from the fight (Furthermore) and ready to brawl ( Social Disease) and in ‘After Last Call’ you can feel the heaviness of the night and the stories of the bar as clearly as any Waits ballad.

There are no clever, ‘oh look at me’, twirls in this, but every instrument including Jaik Miller’s spine tingling vocals recall the very best of Vic Chesnutt and the subtle playing of the DBs.

http://www.myspace.com/jmbrocks

 

Colour Cold – Safe From Silence (Independent Release)

 Thousands of bands, from all over the world, attempt this style, knowing that if they succeed, their music will be the soundtrack to countless first loves, college adventures and the thrill of discovery within that forever time before the nine to five takes over.

So every time a new band comes up and starts to reveal their creation, it gets harder and harder to notice them amongst the many.

Colour Cold a band from Bloemfontein a small city in the heart of South Africa, not only manage to catch the listener’s attention, but with skill and subtle artistry capture their hearts as well.

Listening to the songs, being caught up in the lyrics, I became aware just how much depth and strength there is on display here. The band is not scared to tackle the darkness and the insecurities of those around them, but never fall into the trap of easy over dramatics that seduce too many bands.

With a production that is crystal clear and shouts and struts when needed, and shines but never dominates and a skill with melody and emotion, this band manages to be both commercial (the song ‘then let live ‘ DEMANDS to be  a number one hit everywhere it is played) and sincere.

This is no facebook/myspace/mtv manufactured band slinging out major company gloss, this is a band that will last and last.

http://www.colourcold.co.za/

 Plasmabat – Twilight Music (Independent Release)

 The opening music evokes images of a sun-filled afternoon speeding towards night. The thrill of the heat on our bodies, and the knowledge that this will not last forever. It is the perfect opening to a creation called ‘Twilight Music’

Minimal instrumentation by Hugh Caley gives the imagination time to dream and wander about in the spaces in the sounds, seemingly stopping time and making the experience of listening to this for the first (and indeed the 12th, 200th) time, extremely rewarding.

On standout track ‘familiar shadows’ the term ‘Frippertonics’ is used in the press release and while the ghosts of both Robert Fripp and Brian Eno recordings certainly reside here, the mood has an essence and a soul all of its own.

What makes this album stand out is a sense of tension perhaps even fear lying not quite so hidden under the calm

http://plasmabat.com 

You will be able to hear all these artists on the NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

Going out on the 19th march

The NBT Review

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Welcome to the very first NBT Reviews Blog.

Martin Smit who runs the NBT project and hosts the NBT Podcast reviews new releases from Lauren Fincham and The Strange Tones

AndChris Manik Moon the host of the NBT Bullets from the Belfry Podcast reviews the latest creation of South African industrial/electronic band NUL.

 Lauren Fincham :  Perfect Pain (Twelfth House Records)

 With a subtle shrug, the singer kicks of this 6 track EP with a sly soft ‘constant craving’ lullaby for the gentle outsiders, old priests and fallen dancers. You are caught up in an ambiguous take of hope and defeat. You are soothed but entranced by the glowing imagery at the same time.

While there are definite hints of artists like Jane Sibbery and KD Lang in the arrangements and production, what makes Perfect Pain stand out is how she twists the complicated modern ( for example an online relationship) with and into haunting glances at her past.This album is the sound of the artist taking stock of where she stands in her own universe and with fear or tension preparing to move on to brighter, perhaps even, more difficult worlds.To make a collection this dreamlike, Fincham is extremely lucky to have the perfect back up, the musicians are in sync, sympathy, and indeed understanding, of every word and melody she creates.

Tiny moments like the late night trumpet of the title track, the sad slightly dangerous viola on several tracks all contribute to this thing of thoughtful beauty.

 Go to

http://cdbaby.com/cd/fincham3

To listen to and buy this cd.

 The Strange Tones :   We’re On Our Way (Meteor Sonic)

 When Tarantino goes back to making movies about quirky outsiders on the run, The soundtrack to that howling film should consist of tracks from this release.Raw roots rock n roll is the hardest beast to tame. Bands that attempt this often run the risk of being a novelty act or sunk in a pool of nostalgia. The Strange Tones though sidestep these problems with ease.

With  a perfect sense of humour, a healthy dose of self awareness, and the swagger of bands like the Cramps and alt country legends; X, The Strange Tones take music from the past and make it sound like it belongs, right here and now.

 Go here

http://www.strangetones.com/

To listen to and buy this cd.

  

NUL : Elektro Berzerk

 

A frantic beat (where’s my bpm monitor?), solid riff, nicely distorted guitar breaking in and the guttural Afrikaans lyrics rasped in repetition puts Nul firmly in place as the Afrikaans version of Rammstein. Though it lacks the bombast of their German counterparts –this, in my mind, is a good thing. The songs sparseness and angularity putting emphasis on the strong songline and lyrical message, a message to the ‘Rampokkers’ to get out, relate and stand vas!

Go to:

http://www.nul.com.sg/

 Hear Lauren Fincham and The Strange Tones on the March 5th broadcast of the NBT Podcast
http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 And you can hear an interview and tracks from NUL on the Bullets from the Belfry podcast right now!http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/ 

If you want your CDs or song downloads reviewed or want to become a reviewer for us: Write to me:lightsleeper@gmx.de   

The Manik Music Rant episode ONE

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Chris Moon aka Manik plays in several strange and wonderful ‘difficult alternative’ bands and will be hosting the NBT offshoot podcast for darker music ‘Bullets From The Belfry’ starting in feb 2008.

 http://www.myspace.com/manikmoon 

An alternative dj in South Africa…that in itself is an oxymoron…look, I love music, i just feel that everyone else should feel the same.

My musical appreciation started in the 70’s, and like any young lad if it was loud and raucous it was great. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep ruled the roost, Status Quo and Thin Lizzy were heroes and David Bowie the ultimate rebel. A couple of friends and I started a mobile ‘disco’  because we wanted to bounce around to the kind of music we liked, not the drek dished out at the local school hop.

By the late 70’s, rock was disappearing up its own sphincter and the disco kids wanted Donna Summer and Saturday Night Fever – on repeat. I wanted something else – I ‘found’ The Ramones, my mates were distressed, what’s this, no complicated chord structures and no guitar solos, no nodding along knowingly. On the disco kids’ side….no shiney shirts, doo-wop choruses and carefully synchronised  dance moves to a bog-standard m.o.r. beat….. I abandoned the mobile disco thing. Look, I know a dj  , is supposed to, play to the crowd, but what do you do when the crowd knows squat? 30 years later, things haven’t changed. Alternative to me is exploring new sounds, new experience, new innovations, these days I get requests for tracks 20/30 years old!! Not that I’m averse to the odd classic, mind, but Siousxie Siousx’s (bless her) ‘Peek-A-Boo’  aint one- not with the wealth of what the Banshees have put out….(She has a new album, its great, what do you mean you can’t dance to it ‘cos you haven’t heard it the necessary 15.4 times?). 

South Africa is small, musically (yes it has a wealth of ethno-centric music, but we are talking ‘rock’ here). There has always been a  serious lack of exposure to new music – back in the 70’s there was one radio station that played ‘pop’, by the 80’s on that there was one dj who attempted to break new ‘alternative’ music. The only place to hear music even remotely off the mainstream was in music clubs – discos by any other name- and they were few and far between. Being a small market means directly that in heads through the door, alternative music had/ still has a very small market. Clubs that cater for such don’t last long, those that do, some become legend, some bland out and cater to the masses. I don’t like the term ‘alternative’ any more, its meaningless, its been out-marketed. Alternative today means ‘rock-in-general’, quite frankly, an alternative to R n B, house, ‘disco’. Labels are evil – look, I go to a ‘goth’ club today and hear…….well basically house with gloomy vocals..hooray, either that or metal…. *clicks on rant mode * 

Metal aint goth!!, It aint even ‘alternative’ (in the original context), its distorted testerone-driven over amplified play-by-numbers drivel performed by misanthropes with bad make-up and no sense of humour!!

 

*end of rant *

 Anyway, where was I…..there was a time I’d nip down the nearest (only?) alternative club and hear a wide variety of sounds, from electronica to rockabilly, ska to rock, metal even, ‘disco’ even. The emphasis was on new, ground-breaking, the only skill being to keep a thread going. Clubs that would be a meeting place of like minded- music freaks, alternative in music, alternative in thought. A place where some eager young pack with a couple of instruments between them would have the opportunity to do stuff – good or bad!! Dodgy photostatted fliers with forthcoming events, always something happening, something new, something to look forward to over a few pints – a musical meet-n-greet! Glory days.  We’ve gone backwards, that’s gone. Now, music has become so Balkanised that you’ll hear one genre-all night- each ‘artist’ trying to sound like each other, the only skill demanded that the dj ‘beat-mix’ , the only demand that the dj keep the dance floor packed the masses catered for and soothed with similar sounding, uncomplicated rhythm-pah! As cutting edge as a plastic butter knife. The internet-good and bad – good that its a never before dreamed of wealth of access to new music, at your fingertips, listen to it NOW. Bad in that it is also a wealth of bands that sound like bands that sound like…..Bad in that, hey, why go to a club when all I need is here, why go and physically interact with real people with other real interests in other things, other music………