The NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Part Three Of Three

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!

http://www.cassisvision.com/

Wartapes

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.
http://www.facebook.com/wartapes


Bill Price
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
http://www.billprice.info/

Mike Petrone
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.

http://mikepetronemusic.com/


Danika Holmes
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!

http://www.danikaholmes.com/

Anais Mitchell
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.

http://www.anaismitchell.com/

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.

http://smallcitycalling.com

Mach Fox
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

http://www.machfox.com


Peter Doran

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 !
http://peterdoran.bandcamp.com/album/sleepless-street

Lenelle Moise
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.

http://www.lenellemoise.com/

Rebecca Turner

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.

http://rebeccaturner.net/

Carta Marina
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.

carta marina

Orange 1

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!

http://orange-1.jimdo.com

Memphis Reigns

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.

http://www.myspace.com/mmechanics

Elika
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.

http://elika.bandcamp.com/

Histrioniks

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.

http://www.thehistrioniks.com/

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

Tallulah Rendall

MaCu

iCON

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The NBt Review 101

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

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

Fever Changing –WarTapes (Independent Release)

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

It is only PoP isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.facebook.com/wartapes

Marco Mahler – Design in Quick Rotation (Full Album)

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

A review on his latest can be found here

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.marcomahler.com/

End Of An Era – Carta Marina (Independent Release)

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

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

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

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

http://cartamarina.bandcamp.com/

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

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

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

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject