The NBT Review 35

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As NBT head honcho Martin Smit is down with the Flu this week,( yes summer flu in a heat wave, not wonderful!)  He just reviews Tag by Adriana, second in command William Elliot takes the reigns for Nick Daugherty

Movin’ Higher – Nick Daugherty (Sky Rocket Records)

The title track sets the mood, a song for flying, for those thoughts that touch a soul as you travel to a loved one, a gentle gliding melody full of bright easy harmonies.

This is summer drenched pop, evoking the same laidback rock and jazz tinted soul journeys that Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson often take, and in the track ‘Out of My League’ Nick even adds a hint of cool gospel.

The album is full of accomplished emotional ballads like ‘A Thousand Times Tonight’ and ‘ Please Come back Home’ showcasing a heartfelt vulnerability  counterpointing the amiable swing of other tracks, during which Daugherty invites you to slow dance the humid sultry night away with him.

All is not just unruffled and dreamy though, in standout track ‘Staring At The Sun’ Nick allows his voice to get a bit rougher, and rocks out with the best of them.

This is a fine pop album of the sort that will always be full of sweet summer breeze, that was made for lazy Sunday afternoons, and that brings a little bit of California to the room where ever it is played.

http://nickdaugherty.com/

 

Tag –Adriana (Independent Release)

This collection is sneaky and delightfully seductive, it is wicked, human, and heartwarming, sometimes all these things resting gleefully together in one song.

It carries a European chill into the sweaty jungle rhythms, an ice cream swirly centre covered by day-glo  PoP Art laughter.

It slinks along, big back cat like, growling, purring, elegant and oh so  deliciously dangerous.

Adriana refines what worked so well with her previous band Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and disregarding nostalgia, she slips and slides onto wry modern dance floors, letting the words bite and kiss as the beat clitterClatters ambiguously across the dancers’ bodies.

Best of all, there is nothing shallow about these nightclub confections, layered in between the loops and licks  is the soul of the edgy, the thoughtful, the ironic and the daring.

An album that subtly surprises with every new spin, gently hypnotizes and revamps, rejuvenates the tired listener.

Get your own seduction here

http://adrianakaegi.com/

 

Catch both these artists on this week’s NBT Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

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The Shiver In the Dark

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An Interview with Izzie Voodoo

Voodoo creates a shimmering concoction of electro sounds, equally at home in the nu rave, indie and gothic tribes we threw a few devious questions her way and this is what came back…

 

NBT:  electro is bright shiny and very much modern (ie of the last 30 years or so) voodoo conjures up thoughts of darkness, mystery and the ancient..How do these two seemingly opposites meet in your act and your music?

My music’s always had a darker edge. It started out being far more eclectic , more guitar orientated, and much more ‘alternative’ and has grown into something which has more direction, has cleaner sounds, lately has far more space and gives way to the possibilities of having a more fun (but still  twisted) edge. Before, it was too dark and manic to handle that. I think my moods constantly battle with a childlike attitude to life and between highs that induce occasional hysterical giggling fits and a strange edge to my personality that’s drawn to anything dark, unnerving and unknown. The weird thing is that the 80’s type music that has had some influence on what I write was stuff from the commercial Goth era, whereas now I prefer to listen to more dance/electronica/pop stuff, and that must be where the crossover comes. I think it’s a decent balance though that might keep you on your toes.

NBT: Musicians should be political….or not… Discuss

Not deliberately so, in my opinion- there’s nothing worse than a preaching tunesmith. If a song demands that you make a point, make the point, but then leave it be.

NBT:  which is better, the internal of the studio or the revelations on stage?

That depends on the crowd, for me. If there’s a great crowd and they like what they hear, there’s no other feeling (horrible cliché, but true), but since I’m a geeky tech head, I tend to be  a  bit too happy locked up in the  studio- with beer and liquorice allsorts.

NBT:     how does a self confessed control freak delegate when creating music..or is that possible?

It’s not possible J

 I do it all myself til it’s nearly done ,then ask for constructive criticism and get really unbearably arsey when someone tells me ‘this isn’t right’ or ‘that’s too loud’. After an hour when I’ve calmed down, I generally pull my head in because I knew it was wrong anyway but was too burned out to fix it. Graphic design and some of the mastering I delegate out or share because I think it’s important to get an outside look at what you do.

NBT:  The internet is innocent, crazy and brave, with a wink of an eye and a touch of a keyboard it can discover, delight and showcase. Will this wild child save or destroy independent music..your thoughts please. J             

Absolutely- but I think it will change   the way that people access independent music- has already. It’s part of the evolution process of the industry. Already it’s given so many artists an opportunity to be heard by thousands of people that they would otherwise have had no chance of doing – not because they aren’t good enough, but because they don’t move in the right circles and get the right breaks. The internet is a wonderful new tool for musicians who have recorded songs, who no longer need record labels to do the things record labels traditionally did. The one thing that I think is already suffering hugely as a direct consequence of the internet and of new media tools like mp3 players , and the ability to view home made videos of bands at the drop of a  hat on a  phone and such like, is the live scene- which certainly from a  small venue point of view, is virtually dead on it’s feet.    

 

You can buy her songs and learn about gigs and news here

http://www.izzievoodoo.com/

Izzie is also on this week’s episode of the NBT Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 

                                                                                                   

 

 

 

The NBT Review 17

Fathomless Tales From Leviathan’s Hole – Phyllis Sinclair (Independent Release)

 

This is a true story. Wanting these tales, these personal songs to sink deeper into my soul, so that I could write about them with hopefully more depth, I walked around my city with them unfurling endless, serene on my player.

And

I found myself seeking out the parks, the giant trees, the places where gold autumn colours would dance in the wind. I watched couples, old women, children play or merely sit thoughtful on benches and catch the fragile sunlight when they could.

Then

I was taken to places and situations this gentle protester wrote and sung about. I was taken to places and shown situations that this quiet storyteller had seen, captured and created.

Many of the songs are laced through with an aching feel of loss, of the kind of sadness that in lesser hands could wrap despair around the SoulBody and make us seek out only the destructive shadows. Sinclair knows the Sadness must be released, but she brings hope and the knowledge of history and enlightenment, letting the sadness become a healthy, necessary way of accepting all that is terrible.

Some of these tunes are personal snapshots, we feel honoured to share, some are painted on a broader canvas of the recent past, all tell of a life far removed from the city I listened to them in. and it is a mark of this collections power that I spent an afternoon finding out more about the towns and travels revealed so beautifully and subtle.

Find out more, read lyrics and buy the album here

http://www.phyllissinclair.com

 

…And Then Some – Luke Jackson (Popsicle Recordings)

Sweden, England, Canada. That these songs were created, caressed, seduced and orchestrated in  these countries  would matter very little if their pop beauty was flawed or, even worse, boring.

These songs will capture the fussy Wall Street fast talker, the jaded Berlin intellectual, the grinning fashion disaster swooning through London’s High Street.

These songs are timeless and belong everywhere, no boundaries or borders in this world.

Take opening track ‘Come Tomorrow’, (And many will, this is a song that will drive mothers crazy as their daughters sing it endlessly and husbands hum it every chance they get) a jangle confection of harmonies and guitar, like the Byrds just took happy pills or The Beach Boys discovering New Wave.

Take ballad, ‘A Little Voice’ recalling old Elektra Vinyl, the stop and listen orchestrations flowing around the fragile folk. Or ‘ Half A World away,’ a strange mix of the half cousin of a New order song and a long lost Americana Power Pop revolutionary.

The Whole album is like this, each play is a delightful surprise. A Brand New ‘Been There Forever’

Find out more and links to buy this album

http://www.myspace.com/luke_jackson

Catch tracks and words from both these artists on the NBT Podcast going out on the 31st Oct

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

The NBT Review 8

Last Girl On Earth – Deni Bonet (M.R2 Records)

 

The CD cover of this Singer/Songwriter/Violinist’s new release gives a clever hint into the ambiguity and essence of her creations. The artist, dressed in black, lies in a field of warm brown and red instruments, except for the one she holds in her hand, which is a delicate COLD blue.

We already know, before even reading the revealing song titles, that there will be a gleeful mix of the sharp and the gentle.

Opening track ‘Is This A Test’ juggles feisty brash guitar, with a pure pop knowledge and delightfully the violin isn’t thrown head of the mix, but subtly swings around the edges of one of the few songs about fear written this year you can dance crazy to.

Bonet isn’t afraid to poke fun at her persona and her relationships, deep in the security of self knowledge and ability to write about love without feeling self conscious.

After a quirky cover of a soul/disco classic (Cameo’s ‘Word Up) we venture further leftfield with an intriguing take of scattered overheard conversations, showing us again the unease that twirls just inside the so called ordinary.

We encounter two versions of the track ‘Last Girl On Earth’ and for me the sparse piano/string driven thing works the best, showcasing once more the fragile hesitation, balancing tightrope like, with the strong smile/shrug.

We come now to my two favourite tracks on the album. ‘It Sucks But It’s True’ has a glorious edge to it, allowing the writers irritation to become a ragged changeling of an alt rock song.

And finally ‘Fuck It’ a sweet foul mouthed anthem, destined to be sung in cars and bars and stadiums, with pride and drunken vigour.

 

http://www.denibonet.com

 

Lantana – Caroline Herring ( Signature Sounds)

 

In the calm detachment of the ‘selfish girl’, she reveals, song by song, a dangerous beautiful world. Caroline Herring lives, watches and creates in a moonlit isolation, kept still by faded promises and dreams full of diamond light refractions/reflections.

This is a world of ghosts who made the sad choices, often the wrong choices and now float through the country evenings broken, yet pure.

The singer loves these ghosts, these ‘Heroines’ she shows us the strength, the power, of the lover, the fair and tender ladies.

In her songs of doomed characters, it would be oh so simple to label the singer as country gothic, but her music, her thoughts transcend such stereotypes, and we are haunted by a world that exists, like a half forgotten lullaby on a stormy night, between the verses.

Once in her world we are captured. Seduced.

Her shadows become our bed sheets, her words a dream we do not want to end.

Lantana is a place I shall visit often.

 

http://www.carolineherring.com/music.html

 

 

 

The NBT Review 3

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Alphabet Blues EP – LowStar (Independent Release)

First there is guitar, like a lone rider coming out of the silent mist. Then an army of melody and emotion. We are taken over by the bangPOW rhythms and the glorious shouts of the chorus. This is how the title track wins the day.
Tribal drums and swirling guitar, vocals mixed in the heat of battle, the song ‘Drone’ continues the battle, and then the bassGLIDE intro of ‘Connected’ slides us into the aftermath, flowing and thoughtful.
A trio of shiny forceful rock songs.

http://www.lowstar.co.uk

Paper Tiger – Sean Fournier (Independent Release)

Fournier produces and plays all the instruments on this his second release, a subtle but multi layered love letter to the too often disregarded singer/songwriter world. We are invited to ‘step inside’ and the galloping guitar of a younger Paul Simon greets us. Even in its many dark moments, the warm and gentle (personal) voice makes the visit here a comforting one.
The songs are arranged with quiet skill and in the heartbreaking ‘she was the green’ the stark vocal sadness is wonderfully counterbalanced by the fade in and fade out of a fuller string and band canvas.
To prove that this isn’t some 70s folk rock homage, Fournier hits us with the wry and pleasantly rude Fiest like ‘Weathervane’ and the flamboyant bittersweet ‘Lie’ making this a collection of songs that lets out it secrets carefully and irresistibly.
There is nothing fake about the fragile here (listen to ‘Weak-I feel like Superman) and no self pity in its soft-smile honesty. And most important of all it has none of the smugness that artists like Jack Johnson let filter through when attempting moods similar to those on this release.

http://www.sean-fournier.com

Leaving Kansas – Holly Long (Skim Milk Productions)

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

Bilkis – Bilkis (independent release)

This is the sound of another world, a lo-fi sighing, almost dangerous world. It is the sound of a glass world, a mirror world about to shatter from vibrations and whispers. It is a mix of the scary gypsy queen and the fragile fairy princess.
These are songs stolen shy from reflections upon nervous water.
These are magic chants, revealing what hides beneath the dreaming lovers eyelids.
These are gently twisted Pop songs, they rumble and roll using Folk as a mere departure point
And in ‘make me happy’ lies the secret of Bilkis, tunes that drift by the soul, then dart sideways , sinking sneaking in, and when u go to sleep tonight dear listener
The soundtrack to this other world shall be playing.

http://www.myspace.com/bilkis

Hear these Artists either on the 3rd April NBT Podcast or the 10th April Show.

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

The NBT Music Columns : The CyberPR Blog (Ariel Publicity)11

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Woman Behind the Monitor (and the Mic):  Anji Bee  “The Sexiest Voice in Podcasting” Anji Bee of the Chillcast talks about the show and her double life as both podcaster and musician.   T:  How did the Chillcast get its start?   

A:  I guess you could say The Chillcast got its start with college radio DJ’ing. After 3 years of doing various shows and working in management at a college radio station, I was pretty well hooked.  Then I discovered Internet radio, and started creating both live and prerecorded Internet radio content – including interviews with indie bands like Hungry Lucy and Sunburn in Cyprus.  Eventually podcasts were invented, and I put 2 and 2 together.  Podcasting was better than radio because listeners could tune in whenever was most convenient for them – which seemed really revolutionary!  My first podcast was actually  Chillin’ with Lovespirals, which Ryan and I launched to help promote our 2nd album, Free & Easy.  Shortly after, I started getting permissions from indie band friends to create a weekly music show podcast – because you have to understand that at this time the podsafe music movement was barely getting started!  Adam Curry had just begun his Podsafe Music Network — which is actually how he and I met and became friends, when Lovespirals joined the site.  Adam played us on the Daily Source Code, and then we started talking back and forth on his podcast about Creative Commons vs BMI and all those kinds of things.  To make a long story a bit shorter, I put together a few fledgling episodes of The Chillcast, hosting them on the Internet Archive site and C.C. Chapman, who was really active with PodShow at the time, pitched the show to Adam and PodShow management, and I was signed as one of the first group of podcasters to the new PodShow Podcast Network.

 T:  What have you learned from operating on both sides of the broadcasting world, as a podcaster and as a musician?  

A:  Good question. Podcasting is a great way to communicate with your fans, to give them a sense of who you are as a person, as well as to inform them of your latest projects. You can really build a sense of brethrenship, not only with your fans, but fellow indie musicians and fellow podcasters. Podcasts are more intimate than a newsletter, less time consuming than a forum, and both more immediate and long lasting than a personal appearance. I’m surprised more bands aren’t doing podcasts, actually.

 T:  With over a half million downloads of the Chillcast, what is the top tip you would give aspiring podcasters in terms of building such an impressive listenership?  

A:  Consistency. Being consistent with the quality, content, and output of your show is really important. Listeners want to know they can rely on you to provide whatever experience it is you’re providing on a regular schedule. If done well, your show becomes a part of your subscriber’s life that they look forward to, and you don’t want to let them down!

 T:  Chillin’ with the Lovespirals was one of the earliest band podcasts, what was the impetus behind such inspiration and foresight?  

A:  Well I mentioned this briefly in your earlier question, but the idea was to share information about the new album we were releasing, and what better way to promote an album than with the music itself?  We had shared audio interviews we’d done with radio stations in mp3 format on music sites for years, so I knew people liked to listen to us talk about our music and band experiences. We have all the recording gear here at our disposal, so it just seemed logical to produce our own audio content and make it available via our site. We had fun doing it, too. At that time, iTunes was just launching their podcast directory, so getting listed on that was a real thrill.

 T:  Why should a band be PodSafe?  

A:  Podcasts are a very low cost promotional tool. Unlike radio, it’s very easy to break into the podcasting world.  There are still relatively few bands vying for attention on podcasts. If your music is good, you’re bound to get noticed. And podcast subscribers are truly interested in music. These are the cutting edge people who have sought out an alternative form of entertainment; they’re serious. If they like something they hear on a show, they actually go out and buy it. I get email and comments all the time about buying music from my shows — in fact, I got one this week from a guy who was sad that Sun Dula Amen wasn’t on iTunes yet, because he wanted to buy it! And of course, I know for a fact that I sell my own CDs from podcasts, I see the proof from orders on the Lovespirals Webstore.

 T:  You’ve said, “an indie band can make more money selling less CDs without a big label” so where should the revenue be coming from?  

A:  Everyone’s experience is going to be different, but in the case of Lovespirals, we have personally been able to make more money selling less CDs having released our music on our own label. When you consider that standard royalties paid per CD are between $1 and $2, I mean, come on — you’re going to need to sell an awful lot of copies to make any appreciable amount of money! And even then, you’re only paid quarterly, so it will take a long time to see anything come in. When you sell your CDs yourself, especially directly from your own website or at live shows, then whatever money is made is all yours, right away. And then there’s the money made from digital sales and licensing. Its a lot of work to do on your own, I won’t deny that, and most people probably aren’t willing to take on the additional responsiblity, but we did and it seems to be working for us.

 T:  What’s next for The Chillcast and Lovespirals?  

A:  Lovespirals are continuing to promote our new album, Long Way From Home. We have a remix EP off of the first single, “Motherless Child,” being released digitally, and we have a remix contest lined up for the second single, “This Truth,” with Peace Love Productions. In all likelihood we’ll do a digital release with the winners of that contest in early 2008.  The Chillcast just launched a Video Edition, which is a new weekly feature for the feed. The first episode included a video by Karmacoda, and the second includes Beth Hirsch. As for the regularly scheduled audio show, I’ve got a great little chillout Christmas episode, and a really amazing extended DJ mix for New Years coming up.

 

For music from Lovespirals go to www.Lovespirals.com

 To check out what’s playing on the Chillcast go to AnjiBee.com