another hectic year another huge collection of new acts discovered. When i say new acts, well new to me, and new to some listeners,though of course, a lot of the bands and artists have been playing, creating for ages, making music that seduces and provokes and revigorates.
What was amazing for me , was the the sheer diversity of the tunes on offer, from ghostly industrial landscaping to tender folk ballads, from exuberant indie pop, to things full of complicated time changes and sneaky shifts.And what amazed me even MORE, was that even the most glittery pop concoction, or most basic lo fi rock out, all had these things in common: passion, care and love.
These were NOT songs made by committee with one eye on sales and the other on offending no one. this was music made for the joy of it, sure the bands want to ‚‘make it‘ want to have that illusive hit, but its the song first, the hustle later. something the majors could learn from, (if they only stopped being so damn SCARED of the independents that is).
So ok.. here are the bands, singers, performers,labels, promoters that made this year even better than the last. ladies and gentle beings here in no particular order are this years Wonderful Ones.
Part One HERE
Part Two HERE
The NBT Visual Page can be seen HERE and HERE
Cassis and the Sympathies
Photographer, Film Producer, yes Cassis was all of these in 2010, but somehow she still found time to create a shivering set of electro songs steeped in the otherness of Europe and the cosiness of the States
Cassis in her own words:
2010 started great as Matt Keating and I went on tour together with Joerg Feyer: In 10 days to 6 countries driving 7500 km. It was one of the better tours I have experienced and comes right after touring with the local buses through Mexico.
At the end of the year I am excited to report that I have changed my location from Brooklyn to Berlin as I am writing the soundtrack for a German feature film for the next couple of months. I am working with the director, Catharina Deus for the third time on a film for major German TV, ZDF.
The Birmingham based Lantern Music team and I have started to collaborate on a new album for a band project called ‘A Hawk in the Rain’. We recorded for 5 days outside of Berlin at Jan Tilman Schades house, a successful composer and cellist known for his work with ‘Einstuerzende Neubauten. Just recently we continued to record in Leeds in an old church basement.
. Hopefully the film I am currently working on will come into the cinemas. And I will finish a new song CD. Yeah!
this year wartapes built upon their identity, mixed the dreaming with the machine howl and cat-like scratched up against the listener. Was the purr of the tunes seductive or scary or both? Their song ‚‘Do You Ever Think Of Me‘ made it into the NBT top 20 trax of 2010.
Master storyteller Price released his 5th Album in 2010, the beguiling ‚’With the Eye of a Skeptic & a Few Other Likely Stories‘ songs crafted from an acoustic base and coloured by a band of musicians totally in sync with the mood and aspirations of the artist.
Bill in his own words:
My latest album, “With the Eye of s Skeptic…”, was released at the tail end of 2009, so I spent most of 2010 trying to promote it. As I look back over the year, I am struck by how similar 2010 feels to the last four or five previous years – that is, full of frustration and yet plenty of progress as well. Frustration at trying to gain more exposure, play to bigger audiences, sell more CDs and keep up with the technology surrounding music promotion – all of which fall under the “business” side of music.
Yet, the progress was substantial. The new album got more positive reviews and airplay than any of my previous releases and I’ve finally gotten my web site to a level that I’m very pleased with. The other progress was purely artistic.
I feel the new album is as good or better than anything I’ve done. I’ve met and played with some new and amazing musicians, written new songs, performed at some new venues and had several very memorable shows. So as usual, the most satisfying results are things that have come from the creative and not the business part of what we do – the heart and not the head, you might say. But isn’t that what it’s all about? And isn’t that what this season reminds us all – that when we share what’s in our hearts, it brings out the best in us and all who surround us? Peace and best wishes to everyone for 2011. – bp
what made Petrone‘s release (The Last Hundred Yards) so important was that it was a hip hop album without over inflated ego, and no bitterness and it dealt with something that meant life or death to many of its target audience, the personal experiences of a soldier fighting in Iraq. there was no granstanding or political powerplays within, just a honest lyrical stance on top of great beats.
Ms Homes was a glowing inspiration for those who wished to survive, not just the indie music world, but the obstacles that pop up during the course of our ‘ordinary‘ days. (no life can ever really be called ordinary can it)
Danika in her own words:
Thanks a lot for including me in the “wonderful ones” edition of the next big thing! There were definitely high and low points of 2010. Really, the best part of the year for me was releasing my debut cd and taking the jump into music full time! I had a fantastic cd release party and felt so lucky to have so much support from family, friends and even complete strangers!
Other high points of the year were recording and releasing my first music video and traveling to Los Angeles and Nashville for multiple business and creative opportunities. The human connections made face to face were great. We live in an online world today, but nothing beats face to face contact! And shows!!! Every show under my belt gave me one more opportunity to connect with someone new and I’m thankful for that.
Low point was the insane migraine I had flying on the red eye home from LA. My head hurts to even think about it now.
2011… ohh am I excited! We’re looking to do over 120 shows this year and spread our wings geographically. We’re excited to have joined the Abolitionist tour for its Midwest and Austin dates. The Abolitionist tour’s purpose is to raise awareness and funds for human trafficking issues.
Also, I’ve been writing a ton of new music lately and have been fortunate enough to meet some really great new co-writing partners from around the United States. I have a really fantastic team of people I’m working with on so many different levels. Be on the lookout for new music in 2011!
nominated for a grammy, her folk opera Hadestown featured the cream of the alt country universe, here is what our writer Cobus Rossouw said about it:
Hadestown is also beautiful. This may not be a pre-requisite for everyone, but for this reviewer an aesthetically pleasing artwork is always preferable to a work that is provocative but not evocative. I could listen to Hadestown anywhere, in any company. It will reward the casual listener and the listener who wants, needs to be broadened.
A last word: If you love music then buy Hadestown right now. Buy Hadestown because you need to own it and praise the gods that Anais Mitchell is a musician and not a sculptor, because most of us would have to make do with a photograph of her work if the latter were true. Buy Hadestown because Mitchell and Chorney have earned the right to your money and your heart.
Small City Calling
In ‚’Castaways‘ the band created a mini indie pop classic and in their full length album,‘Oceanus‘ a journey well worth taking. the perfect escape.
Prolific creator of so much digital music, the esteemed Mr Fox filled the internet airwaves with music that soundtracked the vibrations of future discos.
Mach Fox in his own words
he110 Martin & NBT readers/listeners –
thanx for supporting independent musics and including Mach FoX as one of the “Wonderful Ones” in 2010. Hope our music has entertained/interested and confused some of you.
2010 saw the release of the dark postpunk maxi-single “Nu Dead Pretty” along with some re-releases and “The Sky Is Falling” EP in December by independent German netlabel afmusic and available as FREE legal downloads under Creative Commons License.
You can expect more releases in 2011, including an alternate version of “The Sky Is Falling” EP mixed/remixed by Swedish music Producer Planktoon, and another slab of electronic tinged gothrock from Mach FoX and his fantastic creatures. If you’re visiting Mach FoX’s universe for the first time make sure you come armed with a twisted psyche.
The Sky Is Falling released 12/07/2010 by afmusic under Creative Commons License- Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative
what we said: He constructs a gentle swing, a love song simply (complicated), about the strength of love, then old fashioned piano ballad, with a skill an equal to those old Carpenters’ tracks composed by Paul Williams. Note here must be made of the soulful minimal production by Filippo Gaetani, never overusing orchestration, always adding just the right touch of drama and emotion
Peter In his own words:
Looking back now over the last year, I feel like it has been a very productive one… It was the year I recorded and released my second album. January started with ice & frost, but still we managed to get the wheels in motion for the recording of “Sleepless Street”.
Throughout this process, I have been very lucky to meet and work with some very talented people, some of whom, I now count among my very dearest friends. 2010 for me was littered with magical moments, too many to recount here! Recording guitars and vocals for the album with producer Filippo Gaetani in Italy and Vienna will always be special to me. I will always remember too, the late-night skype calls to Sweden with Marcus Gunnar Pettersson, as he skillfully brought the album artwork to life!
Since the album’s release in the middle of the year it has received glowing praise from listeners, bloggers and reviewers across the globe. My music has been played on internet radio and podcasts from America to Australia, and on terrestrial radio in Ireland. It is hugely rewarding to know people are responding to this record, and it gives me strength and encouragement to push on bravely into 2011. Next year I will continue to tour live and also begin writing songs for the 3rd album !
welcome the poet, the performer, the playwright to the nBt stage. politically and socially incisive, her album created with Karla Mosley, ‘The Expatriate Amplification Project ‚ celebrated the power of the female voice, both in a physical and intellectual way.
For a change this is indie music that is positive, playful, joyful even.
Rebecca in her own words:
So many musical adventures in 2010! Some highlights for me were an “Exile on Main Street” tribute at a record shop called Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ; and gigs at the Presby Iris Garden and the Terra Tea Salon, both in lovely Montclair, NJ, growing center of hipness.
Lately it’s been harder to balance my day gig and my music, but yet it also feels more important than ever to heed the musical calling.
I love country music, and it’s been my dream to write a bunch of old-school country songs, maybe some that someone else might record. But I also still want to rock and be weird. So for my follow-up to “Slowpokes,” I’ve challenged myself to write a double CD, half of which’ll be purer country stuff, and the other half will be odder. The writing is maybe 1/20th done, but it’s starting to speed up!
PS, I can’t stop listening to the new record by The Autumn Defense.
a band that kept surprising us, starting a set with some exquisite modern college rock and then twisting our expectations with guitar ambience worthy of Mogwai. Their release End Of An Era really wasnt the end of anything but rather the beginning of a delightful sonic journey.
the spirit of Tangerine Dream lives on!
Orange 1 creator Hans-Jörg Lorenz in his own words:
2010 was kind of calm! I had a CD release in spring! The CD was ORANGE-1 2010 which is described as rich orchestrated with catchy beats& dreamy with swishy, swirling sounds that take you to far, distant places! Beautiful in sound! I released a second CD in November 2010! Thename is ORANGE-1 ORBITAL URBAN! It is described as to have sophisticated grooves & a fantastic atmosphere! I would describe it as futuristic, groovy & ambient!
we said this about the EP Froghill Legend.‘We got to get these cats to start thinking outside of the box’ the fourth track, ‘Cloud Kingdom’ starts andthis is exactly why this music WORKS so damn well, I have said before and will say it again, what sets this collective apart is the willingness to skip the cliché, the easy formula that runs like a virus through much hip hop. Memphis Reignsstarts outside of the box, and seduces its way in. No pose no imagined chip on weak shoulders here.
Imagine Jay Z if he didn’t have to keep record executives happy while being chained to a idiotic Kanye West,imagine Eminem before he lost the plot and with a far broader love of the many tribes of music and you are only half way to catching on to this set’s charm.
this year was very much the year that dream PoP slipped into the mainstream‘s consciousness and Elika rode that wave with elegance and verve.
the band in their own words:
2010 has been a great year for us musically, but personally it was avery difficult. Automatic Entertainment released our latest album”Snuggle Bunnies” in October. We are proud of the record and believewe accomplished something really beautiful with the release.
In 2011 we are planning on playing more shows, finishing the recordingof our next album, and there might even be a tour or two squeezed inas well. We are looking forward with hope.
a band that never disapoints, real indie goodness, smatterings of 70s glam, 60s nuggets, dark Psychedelica and those undefinable strange things in the mood and the music that make them unique.
the band in their own words:
2010 was a particularly productive year for The Histrioniks. We released our fourth CD, “Camouflage Baby” on our own label, CatErratic Records. We were fortunate to get a publishing deal on our previous CD, “Thin” so hopefully the same will be true for “Camouflage Baby”.
In addition to significant internet radio we have received some very positive reviews including an exceptionally creative and poetic critique from Martin, our NBT master of ceremonies. The most played songs so far have been, “Hey Sincere”, “Interrupted Again” and “The Last Three Days”.
For 2011, The Histrioniks will work on a few new tracks but most of the energy will be devoted to The Thromboes new release. Both bands progress will be posted on our websites. We decided to send a demo version of “Forever Young” from our current release. This particular version was how we were originally going to do the song. It has a different lead vocal by Cat. The final version has more angst and is more spoken whereas this version is more flowing and pretty. Let us know what you think about the song and our new CD.
Feel free to write me and for sure friend us on myspace or our webpage. You can also find us on Facebook.
To all of our fellow NBT artists we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and prolific musical 2011. Of course, as always, our sincere thanks to our friend Martin for making NBT possible.
special mentions must be made of these acts/artist that i discovered after the deadline to this blog but i am sure we will hear a great deal from in 2011