Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rock Music, w/ An Operatic, Theatrical Twist

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San Franciscan Andrea Plamondon's single "I Still Remember" (featuring Joy FM) brings us guitar's riffs with a chasing rhythm in a bluegrass/experimental style. Despite her musical background as a classically trained opera singer, Andrea demonstrates her intense attachment to rock music, having spent the last two decades performing with some of the most accomplished rock bands in the Bay Area. The song, while having it's roots in garage and underground scenes, keeps true to its musicality. This is especially the case for the drum line, with it's fantastic breaks that give you the false perception that it is not constantly on time. This song chases you, keeping you pleasantly involved. An intense sound with innocently, wonderful vocals makes this track a powerful piece of rock music with a very refined taste.
-- Nicholas Guida, MusicDish

Kerchoonz' Hardest Working Bands: Donna Marie, Helicopter Girl & The Fortunate Sons

This month, four top bands - Donna Marie, Helicopter Girl, Darnell and The Fortunate Sons - were invited to perform at the House of Rock Studios in Glasgow, UK after participating in the Kerchoonz Live Sessions December download/streams contest "to find the hardest working unsigned acts on the circuit." In addition to earning a "substantial amount of money" for their plays and downloads on Kerchoonz throughout the month of December, the bands were invited to perform at the 'House Of Rock' studios in Glasgow for an 'invite only' audience.

We took the opportunity to chat with winning bands about the secret to their online success and attitudes to artist compensation. You can read the full interview with Darnell here.

What was the secrets to your success on Kerchoonz?

[The Fortunate Sons] Kerchoonz sort of found us randomly in the hills of northern Italy (not really the sort of place you would think!). We were doing a few dates out there and our Italian host started talking about this revolutionary music website which financially supported bands. Upon our return home, we quickly signed up and the rest as they say is history.

The Fortunate Sons

How was it playing the 'House Of Rock' studios? Any good back or on-stage anecdotes/stories?

[The Fortunate Sons] The 'House Of Rock' setting was really intimate with dim lighting and candles all around. We were in the middle of performing of a new song called 'Walk on Fire' and I was bashing a tambourine with my foot, when my foot slipped and smashed the candle holder leaving a sprawling flame rolling out toward the camera's and igniting the floor. I'm surprised I was allowed to stay! It was certainly the right song choice!

[Donna Marie] Everyone involved did a great job, lots of hard work had gone into the first Kerchoonz live event! I feel very humbled to have won the competition. Ian Morrow has a great studio. It was cool to see all the platinum records on the wall! He has produced so many albums that I listened to when I was younger. Quite surreal at times.

Obviously, you've build an active fanbase before joining Kerchoonz. What is your general approach to online marketing? Have you had similar successes in generating traffic and/or getting paid on other sites?

[Donna Marie] A few months ago, I recorded a new EP and uploaded it exclusively to Kerchoonz. This meant that the people who wanted my latest EP needed had to sign up to Kerchoonz, after which they get my music for free as a kind of 'Thank You' for their support.

[The Fortunate Sons] We find that without lots of money, large scale promotion and marketing is very difficult. We do make contact with friends on our network sites like MySpace and now Kerchoonz to inform them that we're playing in their area.

[Helicopter Girl] On my MySpace page, which has grown to nearly 18,000 friends, I answer all messages personally. It's an ever growing phenomenon which can unravel as you participate in it. I don't know whether I have A general approach. I would just say that being polite and staying organised is the way forward.

The Internet has changed the way we market and distribute music. But has it changed the way you approach creating music?

[The Fortunate Sons] When you have a large group of fans with which you can interact, you realise how diverse your own fans are. I guess this allows a free artistic licence to work with your own influences and not conform to a generic sound that a larger label might demand from you. We also get an idea of what songs people prefer and use that information to decide where we want to go next.

[Donna Marie] Fans of my music have been really supportive from the beginning and I feel that I have really progressed and grown into my own style.

Donna Marie

How exactly do you interact with your fans on a site like Kerchoonz? What tools have been most effective in communicating with your fans? Does it sometimes become a little overwhelming?

[Donna Marie] Kerchoonz is pretty easy when it comes to keeping in touch with people. Emails, comments, blogs and bulletins are great little tools. I also upload new songs and demos from time to time. I think that this helps keep peoples' interest in my music so they come back often to my page and check for the latest news.

[Helicopter Girl] Based on Helicopter Girl's online interaction with people over the years, I would say that the vast majority are most likely to log on just to listen or download, whilst a smaller minority will contact you regularly with feedback, questions or even just a 'hi! how are you?' It is very varied. I keep my interactions to emails and comments so as not prevent me from also writing.

In the U.S., recording artists are lobbying Congress to get paid for the use of their music by conglomerates like Clear Channel. Most social networking sites like MySpace or YouTube grew on the back of musicians and other creators without compensating them. Do you think that artists should demand compensation or be content with the exposure they receive? How did it feel to actually get paid by Kerchoonz?

[Helicopter Girl] I believe that if anyone is putting in work, they should receive compensation. At the same time, we must also be aware of things they offer that are a real plus for artists, such as the exposure. Having said that, it was lovely to receive a payment from Kerchoonz.

Helicopter Girl

[Donna Marie] I think if companies are making money from artists, then it is only fair for the artists to get paid. Personally speaking, it costs me a small fortune playing so many gigs, traveling, promoting music, pressing CDs and paying for session musicians,... It isn't cheap. It's an expensive business and a lot of work goes into everything that I do. Getting paid by Kerchoonz was a lovely bonus. I bought myself a nice new valve microphone with my prize money - the bottle of champagne Kerchoonz gave each winner was a lovely touch.

[The Fortunate Sons] I don't think we can demand compensation from these sites. These sites have been a great way to get exposure all over the world and had they not existed, we may not be touring countries such as Italy, Germany and Spain. However, now that a site has been created which pays the artist, hopefully the industry will catch up and artists will be rewarded for the traffic they generate.

Donna Marie
Helicopter Girl -
The Fortunate Sons -

Monday, March 30, 2009

So Shush Releasing Their Second Album

UK band So Shush are about to release their second album ‘Wistful Wanders’ (UPC 859701488620) due to go fully live world wide on most major music download stores by April 20th 2009.

Since the release of their self titled debut album in October 2008 this alternative rock band have enjoyed good reviews and airplay on numerous North American radio stations.

Their song ‘We are the ones who say no’ is currently at number 20 in Neil Young’s LWWT video chart having remained in the top 40 there for the last six months.

The new album can be previewed in full via

Rocker-T with Joan Baez on 'The Way Life Should Be'

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"One good thing about music, when it hits you - you feel no pain." I would argue that the validity of this quote depends on what you're listening too. However, when Bob Marley uttered this phrase, it certainly applied to his music, and I would also argue it applies the "The Way Life Should Be," by reggae recording artist Rocker-T, featuring Joan Baez on lead and back-up vocals. It has that feel-good atmosphere of reggae while also incorporating strong musicianship, especially from trumpeter Bill Ortiz. He fills in the empty space with tasty lines, and utilizes the mute when playing along with the melody, adding a complementary layer to the simple, yet effective production.

The lyrics are optimistic and hopeful, with the message that "brotherly and sisterly love is the foundation of a peaceful nation." Rocker-T's voice isn't anything special, but it works well for this song, especially when he harmonizes with Joan Baez. With effective vocals, strong musicianship, good production, and a message of peace and love, "The Way Life Should Be" is an easy listening experience that may not cure you of all your physical ailments, but will certainly lift your spirits.
-- Will Cohn, MusicDish