Rock Biz

The Indie News Beat for the week of February 5, 2007

February 5, 2007 Edition

* Latham’s New CD "Sophomore" Breaking Ground In Post-Retro
* New Album: "Floatovations – The Realm Of Levitation" Out Now
* Indie Label Debuts With Star-filled Double-Album
* The Vernon Neilly Signature Guitar Giveaway Presented By Tagima Guitars And Seymour Duncan
* Kobo Town Makes Ranks Among The Best Of 2006
* Tiger Tiger Celebrates The Native American Rock Movement
* Down With Disease Through Download For The Cure
* To Sponsor Millennium Music Conference In February 2007

Latham’s New CD "Sophomore" Breaking Ground In Post-Retro

The new Latham CD, "Sophomore" is off to a bang with an impressive review from Music Connection Magazine that dubs the songs both "vintage Aerosmith" and "vintage Bruce Springsteen." Latham also pulled in "Rock Artist of the Year" honors from the Los Angeles Music Awards, along with a nomination for "Best Rock Record" and an honorable mention for singer/guitarist/songwriter Mark Latham as "Best Rock Vocalist."

Two years in the making, "Sophomore" is a collection of 11 tracks that pioneer the art of post-retro rock and roll. Selected from a menu of 50, the disc is an eclectic mix of rock, pop, ballads and jam that explores relationships with women, god, death, the working masses, adolescence and the city of angels.

"Sophomore delivers songs you’ve never heard before but you’ve known for your whole lives. Strong lyrics, massive hooks and beats to move those feets. High energy rock and roll with a punch. Now that’s a tasty beverage.


New Album: "Floatovations – The Realm Of Levitation" Out Now

Auckland, New Zealand, February 3rd, 2007 – Perhaps the perfection of a relaxation/meditation CD is one that leaves you with very little to say at all; one that stills the mind so completely and smoothes over every rough spot in your psyche so thoroughly that you are cast into the role of receiver alone.

JO BLANKENBURG‘s album, FLOATOVATIONS, is the aural equivalent of drifting on the open ocean (a Caribbean one for certain) with only the lulling sounds of nature to fill your head, replacing the hum and buzz of the outside world. With a watery, liquid theme, this album easily surpasses most relaxation CDs in focusing in on lush and full atmospheres, somewhat akin to a film soundtrack but using simple textures and structures with natural ebb and flow.

As a whole, the album narrows in on the quality of levitation and buoyancy, and much like the title, floats the soul along on a sound journey of soft keyboards, strings, ocean waves and birds, joined by guitar, pan flutes, didgeridoo and several other colors along the way.

For those seeking deep rest, meditation, general relaxation or just a way to decompress on the way home from work, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate selection of compositions.


Indie Label Debuts With Star-filled Double-Album

The newly founded Soul Renaissance Records releases their debut CD ­ "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities." This first project is an unprecedented showcase for the R&B sound and talent made famous in the 1960s and 70s by musicians in Detroit and Philadelphia. "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities" is available online at, and at other select retailers worldwide. Distribution is being handled through Super D, an independent distributor.

The first singles, "Love Train" and "Got To Give It Up" have been available for purchase and download on The new single, "When The World Is At Peace", was released on January 15th, to coincide with Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. exclusively on My Space:

"A Soulful Tale of Two Cities" brings together artists and musicians from Detroit and Philadelphia, two of America’s most legendary and prolific music Meccas, and features the two distinctive sounds of Motown and Philly Soul.

Motown’s Funk Brothers and surviving members of their Philadelphia counterpart, MFSB, lead the all-star ine-up. Headlining artists featured on the album include such legends as George Clinton, Kathy Sledge, Major Harris, Freda Payne, Lamont Dozier, Bobby Taylor, Barbara Mason, Bunny Sigler, Jean Carne, Jimmy Ellis, Kim Weston and Ali "Ollie" Woodson.

"A Soulful Tale of Two Cities" is the brainchild of executive producer Phil Hurtt, who is also president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Soul Renaissance Records. Hurtt, an award-winning songwriter, producer, and arranger, began his career in the 1950s as a performer and soon became one of the most sought-after vocalists in the industry. Hurtt was also an integral part of a group of highly regarded writers, producers, musicians and singers whose work is currently acknowledged by many in the music industry as "The Sound of Philadelphia." In addition to releasing two albums of his own, Hurtt wrote and produced for some of the time’s top artists including The O’Jays, Sister Sledge, and many more. In recent years his music and voice have been sampled by hip-hop and R&B artists including Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and DMX.

With the combination of Hurtt’s experience and leadership, an extraordinary team of producers, arrangers, and writers, and an impressive assortment of legendary musicians, "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities" promises to be a truly remarkable album. In Hurtt’s words, "these artists are masters; they already have a fan base, they already have a following, they already have the knowledge, the know how, the experience, to do whatever they need to do musically… these are the people that can do it, and have done it, these are the ones you hear every day and don’t always remember who they are. But you can’t forget the way they sound."


The Vernon Neilly Signature Guitar Giveaway Presented By Tagima Guitars And Seymour Duncan

Independent label CEO and recording artist Vernon Neilly is proud to announce the Vernon Neilly Signature Guitar Giveaway, presented by Tagima Guitars and Seymour Duncan. Launched in late 2006, the giveaway will offer the opportunity for entrants to win a Tagima Signature VN1 Vernon Neilly Guitar, Set of Seymour Duncan Pickups, G-Fire CD and Vernon Neilly Live In Brasil DVD. The deadline for the giveaway is March 30, 2007. For more information or to enter, visit Guitar Global

Vernon Neilly is an award winning guitarist/producer who is also a world touring performer. He is also the CEO/President of his own internationally distributed label Boosweet Records, and Guitar Global, a company that exports high quality guitars and basses internationally. Vernon has also participated in 2 major blockbuster films by Warner Bros and Universal Pictures, and has done a cameo appearance in the UPN TV Comedy "One On One." Vernon is endorsed and sponsored by some of the worlds leading musical equipment and musical software manufacturers such as Seymour Duncan, Tagima Guitars, Giannini Strings & Guitars, Morely, Digitech Electronics, Cakewalk, Sony Media Products, Levys Bags and Straps, Nady, Xotic Effects and Jim Dunlop who supplies his signature guitar picks.


Kobo Town Makes Ranks Among The Best Of 2006 According To Blogcritics, CBC Radio One And The Live Music Report

Toronto-based calypso act Kobo Town‘s debut album Independence was named by Blogcritics as the best International album of the last year. CBC Radio One’s "Fresh Air" and "Big City Small World" radio shows also chose the record among their Top 10 lists for 2006. Finally, The Live Music Report had this to say about the record after placing it on their Top 10 list of outstanding 2006 discoveries:

"It is daunting to attempt to describe a CD created by a poet with the eloquence of Trinidadian-born Drew Gonsalves. His "St. James" would fit nicely in an anthology of Caribbean and Caribbean-born poets that would also include the works of Linton Kwesi Johnson. Some heavy material, but there is levity too ‹ and rhythm! Lots of sounds to savour."

Kobo Town produced and self-released Independence in November. Drawing heavily upon the sounds of traditional calypso, roots reggae and dub poetry, the album is a collection of stories which offer a running commentary on a wide variety of social and political themes including domestic violence, homelessness, globalization, the war on Iraq, and the various frustrations and betrayals of the post-colonial era.

Named after an historic community in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where calypso was born, Kobo Town strives to recover the social conscience, satirical storytelling and strong acoustic/organic rhythms that characterized Trinidadian music in the past. But while the group’s singer-songwriter Drew Gonsalves expresses a wish to "celebrate the musical and artistic traditions formed over the long years of our turbulent history", the tales that fill the album could be told anywhere.

Independence was co-produced by Lyndon Livingstone (David Rudder, Andre Tanker, Mighty Scrunter) and Drew Gonsalves at the Razorshop in Maraval, Trinidad. Independence will be available for download through CD Baby, iTunes, Music Discovery Network, Calabash Music and select online retailers.


Tiger Tiger Celebrates The Native American Rock Movement

Inspired by the nature of the Florida Everglades, their American Indian culture and Chief Buffalo Tiger (their father) of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the Tiger Tiger Band career highlights include initial recordings at Woodstock (later released in Germany on Sony’s ZYX label).

Based in Miami, Florida, national recording artists Tiger Tiger have headlined and graced the stages for numerous festivals and concerts over the years. They were featured in the First Miami Pop Festival along with Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum and Led Zeppelin. In fact, the actual jacket that Lee Tiger wore on stage at the first Miami Pop Festival in May 1968 has recently been put on permanent display in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The jacket was designed and created by Stephen Tiger. At The Seminole Tribes Big Rock Pow Wow they performed with Chicago, Edgar & Johnnie Winter. These accomplished and respected musicians were requested by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley to be their backing band.

Tiger Tiger’s last commercially released album, Southern Exposure, received a Grammy nomination. Their self-produced music video Lay Your Burden Down took second place for Best Music Video at the 2000 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. The Tigers have recently completed their most exciting Native American cultural CD, Peace From The Everglades, Dedicated to the Survival of the Miccosukee & Seminole People of Florida. This CD received two NAMMY nominations in 2005, for Best Pop/Rock Recording and Song/Single of the Year for Heya. In 2006 Tiger Tiger received the Lifetime Achievement Award from NAMMY (Native American Music Awards) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. This would be Stephen’s final appearance.

Tiger Tiger recently finished recording Native to this Country. The album was released end of 2006. Future plans include touring and promotional opportunities in support of the new CD.


Down With Disease Through Download For The Cure

Can music save lives? The music industry has been no stranger to using music for charitable causes. Rocking for Darfur, Music for Bangladesh, Tibetan Freedom Concerts… all aimed to create awareness and revenue for interesting global causes.

The industry has united once again but for something a little closer to home. Even more exciting, it gives hope to not only those afflicted by disease, but hope to musicians looking to break through into the industry sphere so difficult to get in front of.

The exciting new music "contest" and charity program, Download For The Cure®, combines the ability for the independent music artist to both get heard and have their music serve a bigger purpose.

Partnered with the most recognizable name in the fight against cancer, the American Cancer Society, Download For The Cure will offer a national music search to select a 12 to 15 song virtual album exclusively available through iTunes. All download proceeds from that virtual album will be directly donated to the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.

The best part, music artists who apply will have the opportunity to be heard by an industry panel hand selected for their different functions within the music industry. The panel consists of representatives from major labels, managers, attorneys etc.

Director of Marketing for Virgin records, Nikki Hirsch, is one of the 8 industry panelists. Download for the Cure® is an exciting program for Ms. Hirsch not only for the chance to help those affected by cancer but to have a great way to find new music. When asked what makes a great artist "great" Nikki explains, "Artistic integrity is the most important criteria for me, and that means staying true to your sound and style without compromising it to fit a trend. And on a superficial level, I like music I can rock out or shake my tush to."

The American Cancer Society is more than excited to have the opportunity to unite music makers and music lovers in an effort to fight cancer. "I have no doubt that this program will find success and provide us with a link (pardon the pun) to a new audience… we couldn’t ask for much more than that – a chance to spread hope, an opportunity to make a difference," says Mark Drill, Regional Income Development Director of the American Cancer Society’s regional headquarters in Philadelphia.

Source: To Sponsor Millennium Music Conference In February 2007, the parent company that presents the Independent Music Conference (IMC’07), the online independent music store and InterMixx, Independent Music Magazine, will be a key sponsor and partner in the 11th annual Millennium Music Conference taking place at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, February 15th – 18th.

Apparently the founder of the MMC greatly appreciated the emphasis on education at IMC06 where he had generously contributed some of his time as a Panelist and Mentor. After the IMC he publicly commented…

Message dated 9/7/06 from John Harris of the MMC:

"You guys had more going on at the IMC than I could fathom… what a great resource for independent musicians."

"John Harris is an industry icon and it’s been my great privilege to be involved with his event since its very inception eleven years ago. It just keeps getting better each year and John’s confidence in my ability to create a quality educational and networking environment at MMC means a great deal to me," comments President and Founder of the Independent Music Conference, Noel Ramos.

"In recent years, our online store became a major sponsor of the MMC. John also chose us as his preferred web hosting company and asked me to contribute my artistic skills by designing and maintaining the MMC web site. He’s also given me the privilege of designing and producing his ID badges, the MMC Conference Directory (as a special edition of our magazine), the MMC Goodie Bags and many of his ads which appear in publications all over the country."

This latest expansion of the cross-promotion between these two organizations further solidifies their powerful cooperative bond. "It’s exactly this kind of community and unity building that I believe in so strongly, and I couldn’t be more proud or pleased to get the job!" summarized Ramos.


Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © MusicDish LLC 2007 – Republished with Permission