Music

Albums From 2012 That Need To Be Heard

The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs

If you never experienced the Seventies, then this album from a super group of melodic death metal bands recaptures it all. From the “Immigrant Song/Achilles Last Stand” references in “Siberian Queen” to the “I Was Made For Loving You” references in “West Ruth Avenue” or the “Play That Funky Music/ Stevie Wonder’s Superstititious in “Internal Affairs”.

It captures it all and more.

Fen
Of Losing Interest

I didn’t know what to expect hearing this. It’s like Rush on Thrash Metal. Then its Rush on Hard Rock. Then its Rush meets Tool. Then it’s Rush on Groove Metal. Then it’s a cross between Rush and Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Being from Canada, the Rush influences are real strong.

Progressive music doesn’t have to be all time changes and technical playing ability. It can be Fen. Just doing something that blends so many different styles together and making it sound infectious.

Check out “Riddled”, it starts off with a thrash metal riff, then it goes into a verse that is Tool like merged with Kansas.

Adrenaline Mob
Omerta

It is balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.

The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop number one hit.

So put aside all of your views on the members that make up the band and from what bands they come from and embrace a great balls to the wall metal project.

Digital Summer
Breaking Point

DIY band from Phonenix, Arizona, getting stronger with each release. “Breaking Point” was a Kickstarter funded project and it didn’t disappoint. The lead single “Forget You” has racked up 1,027,533 views on YouTube. They are great numbers for an independent band, that also manage themselves, record and release their own music and hold down day jobs.

If you like modern rock, then you will like this band.

Richie Sambora
Aftermath Of The Lowdown

The good old Richie Sambora released a great modern rock album that didn’t get the recognition it deserved because at that point in time he was still in Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) needed him to start the promotional interviews for the “What About Now” album.

Check out “Seven Years Gone”, “Nowadays”, “Every Road Leads Home To You”. Hell, the whole album is good. Give it your time.

Lizzard
Out Of Reach

This band is definitely under the radar for what they do. Think of Earshot meets Tool meets 10 Years meets modern rock. Vocalist, Mathieu Ricou has a voice that crosses between Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lews and Maynard James Keenan.

There is a feel of Progressive Metal, TOOL, Hard Rock, Trance & hypnotic music, DEFTONES, YES and PINK FLOYD. It’s a potent mix.

Vaudeville
Vendetta

Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do. They merge the styles of Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.

Check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Hell Or Highwater
Begin Again

The new band from Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller. Hell or Highwater finds Saller stepping away from his drum kit and taking the mic to be the band’s lead vocalist. It’s hard rock people and it rocks real good and it doesn’t sound generic.

Burnside
Evolution

One of many great bands from Australia. It’s modern rock done really well. Check out “Remember When”, “Lost The Will”, “The Last Time” and “What You’ve Become”.

One Less Reason
A Blueprint For Writhing

This EP was my first introduction to One Less Reason. I knew nothing about them and when I heard “All Beauty Fades”, I was left speechless when the rest of the music and melody kicked in. And they are another DIY band.

It’s a six song EP and there is no filler. A very smart decision to release the best.

Corroded
State Of Disgrace

Corroded have a decent following in their own country of Sweden.

They are a skillful band that create groove based hard rock. Stand out songs are “Let them Hate As Long As They Fear”, “I Will Not”, and “Believe In Me”.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, My Stories

Talking About Riffs – Progress Is Derivative (The Non-Metal Version)

Okay so what do we know.

We know that Robin Thicke released a song called “Blurred Lines” that ended up going nuclear all over the world. That means a lot of dough to share around.

We know that the family of Marvin Gaye have lawyered up with King and Ballow to sue Robin Thicke and song publisher EMI April/Sony/ATV for copyright infringement.

They claim that Robin Thicke committed copyright infringement on Gaye’s “After the Dance” to create his song “Love After War.”

They also claim that Thicke’s “Make U Love Me” shares a similar bridge and identical lyrics to Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.”

They also claim that “Blurred Lines” was stolen from Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”. To muddle the waters even more, allegations also abound that “Blurred Lines” was also derived from Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”

It is pretty obvious that the family of Marvin Gaye don’t care about derivative progress. All they care about is money. This is not about protecting Marvin Gaye and his legacy. A legacy is protected by people and fans of music. By simply having the conversation that “Blurred Lines” sounds similar is proof that Marvin Gaye’s legacy is protected.

Listening to “Blurred Lines” and reading the reviews of the song, you know it got me interested to check out Marvin Gaye and that is what matters in today’s times. Are people listening to the music?

Of course this lawsuit isn’t just about copyright infringement. There is an argument put forward against EMI, about how they strong armed the Gaye family, about how they planted false stories in the media, about conflicts of interest (due to EMI controlling both copyrights), about professional misconduct and breaches of contract

Of course the argument put forward by Thicke and EMI is that the genres of the songs are the same however the notes are different and as far as they are concerned no infringement occurred.

Regardless of how people view this argument. One thing is clear.

The family of Marvin Gaye have been ill-advised. Even if they win the lawsuit, they still lose “financially” in the long run.

The only financial winners here are the attorneys.

The Gaye family will lose out in the long run because artists will stop referencing Marvin Gaye. Once people stop referencing Marvin Gaye this will then lead to people not talking about him. He will be absent from the conversation. The only reason why this has all come up, is that people have talked about the similarities. The Gaye family even used those conversations as part of their counterclaim.

So once people stop talking about someone, in time that person/artist will be forgotten.

The shenanigans carried out by the Gaye family is a far cry to what happened to Bobby Parker. For those that don’t know, Bobby Parker was a blues rock guitarist that passed away recently at the age of 76. He wrote a song called “Watch Your Step” in 1961. The song was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Beatles hit, “I Feel Fine” released in 1964 had that riff. The influence of “Watch Your Step” also extended to “Day Tripper” as well. John Lennon even stated that “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” were songs built on variations of the “Watch Your Step” riff.

Led Zeppelin used the riff in “Moby Dick” released in 1968.

However, in order to show the progress is derivative effect in action, the “Watch Your Step” riff evolved from the Afro-Cuban jazz composition “Manteca.” That is what music is all about. Evolution by derivatives.

However, Bobby Parker reaped few rewards from the song’s success as he sold the copyright to V-Tone records owner Ivan Mogull for next to nothing. In other words, he didn’t know enough about copyright and he got shafted. Sound familiar. Labels shafting artists.

So all you artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright. And guess what the labels are pushing for. Long copyright terms. Look at the massive expansion of the “Duration of Copyright Term” between 1910 and 1998. Just at the time that movie studios and record labels started to appear. Just at the time that the RIAA and the MPAA started to appear and become lobby powerhouses.

At the moment, in the US it is sitting over 100 years due to the 1998 Sonny Bono Act. To top it all off, the Copyright monopolies want longer terms. Longer terms means that our culture is all locked up. The whole point of copyright was to serve and benefit the Public while giving creators a short-term monopoly on their creations. There is nothing that is coming off copyright because Corporations own the majority of the copyrights.

Talking about riffs, what about that riff in “I Want A New Drug from Huey Lewis and the News. It was a hit twice. Once for Huey Lewis and the News and another time for Ray Parker Jr., with “Ghostbusters”!

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A to Z of Making It, Music

The New Artist Lesson

I have come across some good music lately, however the bands/artists that created the music are still languishing at the bottom of the music pile.  So what can bands like Burnside, Tesseract, The Night Flight Orchestra, Polution and Vaudeville do differently to get their brand and music out there.

IS THERE A MARKET FOR YOUR MUSIC?

The common misconception that most bands/artists have is that their music will succeed. The cold hard truth is that no one knows what music will succeed.  That is why A&R people, have a bad strike ratio.  They can find talent, however that doesn’t mean that the talent they find will succeed in the music business.

New bands need to test the market.  You need to see what kind of response you get back.  Find ways to measure the longevity of your song.  Did fans spread it on social media? Did a torrent go up on The Pirate Bay? Does it have seeders? Does it have leachers? Are people streaming it? Are people purchasing it? Are people listening to it on YouTube?

If the song is setting the world on fire, repeat the whole process again with a new song as there is a market there for you.

If the song is not setting the world on fire, take a step back, re-evaluate, create a better song and repeat all of the above as there is no market there for you at the moment.

Burnside created a brilliant album in Evolution that consisted of 13 songs and released them all at once. They relied on an old business model that doesn’t work anymore. They needed to test the market, so that they could see if there is a market for their music.  They should have released a song and measured it’s reach first. If you have an audience of less than 10,000, you should not be spending time creating a 13 song album.  

The Night Flight Orchestra wrote a song called West Ruth Avenue, that in my mind rivalled Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.  Somebody That I Used To Know found a market, West Ruth Avenue didn’t.  (Yes, I know that The Night Flight Orchestra is a side project, however it is one album that should have found a bigger audience).

TesserAct in my view released a great album in Altered State.  Century Media streamed the album on their YouTube page and it had over 90,000 hits.  The album comes out and it moves over 4000 units in the U.S.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The label tested the market with the pre-release stream on YouTube. I think both artists where expecting a better turn out in sales, however this is the wrong view point to have. Fans can now stream their music.

SUPPLY vs. DEMAND

I hope that the bands I have mentioned are not focusing on the payment side of things. Remember Spotify, Pandora, iTunes are all services that you use to get your music out there.  Don’t solely rely on these services as a source of revenue.  It’s a diversified music game. You need to have other strategies for that.  However, before you get to this stage, you need to ensure that a market exists.

Remember that you are a seller and a supplier.  It’s simple economics. Supply vs Demand. At the moment, the recorded music world is over supplied. There is so much music out there, however not all of the music that is released has a demand waiting for it. Demand equals buyers. Buyers equal fans. The artists should be satisfying the needs of the fans.

BUILDING PLACES OF WORSHIP FOR YOUR FANS

It is the fans that will promote you.  No one cares about the music that radio pushes. No one cares about the music that the press and mainstream media pushes.  No one cares about the music if you scream until your black and blue about how great your song is. 

People care and pay attention, when they see fan blogs created in your name (like the John Petrucci forums, the Mike Portnoy forums, the Dream Theater forums and so on).  You need to ensure that you build a cathedral so that your fans can worship your music and spread it.

In the end, you need to have great music marketed to people that will like it and buy it.  Otherwise you will remain in your local suburban market.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

The Evolution of Burnside

I’m listening to an album from a band called Burnside. The album is called Evolution and it was released in December, 2012. I really like it and I recommend it.

I need to know more. So I go straight to Google. I type in Burnside.

I get all these results about Uniting Care, the city of Burnside, the Burnside Public School and all these other results that do not deal with music. Not a good start.

So I change the search words to “Burnside Band” and the website, http://www.burnsideband.com is the first one that comes up. That is better. However I would have expected the Facebook and Twitter accounts to come up as well.

So I change the search words to be, “Burnside Band Facebook” and it comes up, however it is not the first one. Anyway, I go onto the Facebook page, and I see that they have an album launch happening soon. I am confused. The album came out in December 2012. An album launch six months later is a bit weird. 

This is why the idea of the album fails in this day and age, especially if you are a band starting off. Evolution is a great album, one of the best I have heard in the last few years, and it is in my top 10 of releases for 2012. So how does a band, that recorded a great album get it out to the people, without disappearing.

The answer is the fans. The fans need to be sharing the songs on their Facebook accounts, on their twitter accounts or blogs. Once upon a time there was an old way. Bands and new music where broken by radio and the press. Theses outlets are obsolete today. The fans are the new way. They are the new press. They are the new radio.

Burnside have over 7000 likes on Facebook. It’s time to mobilise these fans. The fans need to share. The band needs to record themselves playing some of the songs acoustically and put them on YouTube and then get fans to share those YouTube clips. It’s not about the sales anymore, it’s about remaining relevant and in the public eye. That is the battle.

Burnside are from an area called Penrith, Australia, which is about 70 minutes away from where I live. This is typical of Australia, where talented bands fail to escape the local area. I only live 90 minutes away and I have never heard of them. They formed in 2009, however the members Grant O’Hara (Vocals, Guitar, Bass), Sheldon Wharton (Vocals, Guitar, Bass) and David Rice (Guitar, Bass) have been in other bands prior.

Their bio has them comparing themselves to Birds of Tokyo. Why? They are way better than Birds of Tokyo. Silverchair is also mentioned. Evolution is an album that Silverchair wished they could make. Foo Fighters is another reference. Foo Fighters are renowned for releasing albums with four to five great songs and the remainder is seen as pure filler. Evolution is an album that has no filler.

Be sure to check out Remember When.  If you like Everything from Lifehouse, you would like this song.

The combination of The Battle moving into With A Gun is brilliant.  The strings over the distorted guitars sounds grand.

Lost The Will is modern rock in the vein of Shinedown.

Will I Find You There reminds me of The Calling.  The Last Time is the best song that Daughtry hasn’t written.

What You’ve Become merges brilliant piano playing with distorted guitars.  Its melodic and haunting at the same time.

Through My Veins, has that AC/DC, Long Way To The Top vibe.

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