INDIE NEWS BEAT
March 31, 2005 Edition
* Bludshot: Alternative Funk In Hip Hop Form
* R-H Brings Variety Of Sounds Together On Black Asia Vol. 1
* Arms Of Kismet Set To Release "Cutting Room Rug" CD
* Angela Correa "Correatown" CD Release
* Finespun Takes National Radio By Storm!
* Award-Winning Reporter Sings A Different Tune
* Artist Of The Month Flags Big Year For Allison Crowe
* Pillow Talk: Custom Made To Awaken LA Hip Hop Scene With Upcoming Release
* Royal Playboy Cartel Opens For Judas Priest And Robert Plant
* Indie Managers Association Announces Re-launch of Company Web Site
* Ampcast Lives To Broadcast Birthday Party
* U.S. Indie Band & Film Expo
It has taken Bludshot over two years to write, perform, and record his highly anticipated new album, Another Day. Fortunately, it only takes one listen to realize that it has been well worth the wait.
With each of the album’s sixteen tracks, Bludshot repeatedly shows us why he is not your average hip-hop artist. He blends elements of funk, hip-hop, rock, and soul as if they were always meant to be together, and the end result is so infectious that you’ll find yourself wondering why someone hasn’t done this already. His sound has been described as a cross between Outkast, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Twista, but this is one of those rare cases where an artist can be recognized for a style that is uniquely his own.
When asked about his inspiration, Bludshot cites a wide variety of influences. He appreciates the classic rock sounds of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles, just as much as he enjoys the soulfulness of Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, and Bob Marley. He worships at the throne of old school hip-hop artists like Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Pharcyde, and A Tribe Called Quest, but also praises the work of current acts like Snoop Dogg, Outkast, Incubus, and Black Eyed Peas. All of this comes through in his own music, as he takes the best elements of numerous genres and weaves them together into a remarkably smooth sound.
Supported by a remarkable live band that includes James Pierce (backup vocals), Tiphanie Gist (backup vocals), Cornell Pearce (guitar), Clarence Chandler (bass), and Demetrius Beynum (drums), Bludshot has rapidly built up a strong local following throughout Virginia, filling venues to capacity on a regular basis.
With his debut electronica album, Black Asia Volume 1, Rajesh Hardwani (a.k.a. r-H) has taken one big step toward reaching the goals he has set for himself, which include remixing for established artists worldwide and making a living through his music.
Using an astounding variety of instrumentation, r-H aims to show you how Thai, Japanese, and Indian grooves and chants sound when layered over break beat and drum and bass. Thanks to the performance and production expertise he has accumulated over the years, the album is more polished and accessible than his previous works, which is a good thing, because this is music that truly needs to be heard. "’Excited’ would be an understatement." This is how r-H responds when asked how he feels about Black Asia Volume 1. "I believe this is the true, all-around Asian electronic music album, and I can’t wait for the industry to have a listen."
And he isn’t going to just sit back and wait to be noticed. In addition to promoting Black Asia Volume 1, r-H is already hard at work on Black Asia Volume 2. He is also remixing for the R.I.P. Family, a rap and hip-hop crew out of Jacksonville, Florida, and Vandal, a rap and hip-hop artist from Toronto, Canada. r-H also recently had his track "Tim Sum Vindaloo" featured on the Asian Underground compilation, Asian Beat Bazaar, released by Virgin Records UK.
If Arms of Kismet‘s 2004 debut, Eponymous, was a heartfelt affirmation, the forthcoming Cutting Room Rug (April 29) is its prankster twin, fusing parodic rants with tragic laments in a playful cocktail of satire and sincerity. From the mischievous "Clover" to the ominous "Coil," the new CD is a dark joyride, careening from track to track like a condemned man in a funhouse. Its inhabitants can only cry at weddings, can only laugh at funerals.
Fans of postmodern popsters like Beck, The Flaming Lips, and The Postal Service will find a kindred spirit in Arms of Kismet. Cutting Room Rug forsakes pimpin’ and rides for pointed salvos wrapped as sweet confections. Split into three "acts," it attacks with guitars, hooks, and dancebeats, wooing the listener with sugary, stuck-in-your-head melodies and fractured lyrics. The format recalls The Firesign Theatre and The Who Sell Out, veering between spiritual yearning and crass commercialism, compelling passers-by to forget their troubles and "spin the wheel." It sketches a perilous, chaotic world begging for a skip and a chuckle.
Cutting Room Rug was written and produced by Mark Doyon, mastered by Jon Astley (Tori Amos, George Harrison, Pete Townshend), and released by independent label Wampus Multimedia. Guests include Kowtow Popof ("Life Imitates"), Janna Audey ("Coil"), Eamon Loftus ("Auriculara [Listen to Me]"), Scott Goodrick ("Clarendon"), and Paul Golder ("Auriculara [Listen to Me]").
"Correatown" is the first album by Angela Correa to be released on Bed Pan Records, a tiny independent label in San Diego. Initially, the songs were meant to be a humble little demo of one-takes, Angela just playing and singing a natural performance. However, after listening to the songs, producer Gregory Page (Jason Mraz, Tom Brosseau) decided to paint in a little color between the spaces of music and lyrics Angela had created. Most of the songs chosen for the album were actually the first take. The result is a collection of songs that are intimate and sincere, yet texturally loose and organic.
Haunting, genuine, beautiful and sparse are words most often used to describe the music of Angela Correa. Currently based in Southern California, Angela is originally from a small town in Northern California. Her music skirts genres, an amalgam of early American folk, country blues with a certain lo-fi indie rock temperament. Influenced as much by Elizabeth Cotten, Bessie Smith and Jack Elliot as the likes of Beat Happening, PJ Harvey and Neil Young, Angela flirts with traditional folk by telling rich stories brought to life with real melodies, distinctive arrangement and contemporary topics. She is both literate and whimsical, and the nuance and subtlety of her voice is what most intrigues listeners.
The problem with the music industry is that there are not enough bands like Finespun. These four gentlemen exploit every possible opportunity that comes their way. They are beginning to see the fruits of their own efforts. Finespun is currently involved with a major commercial radio campaign.
The band is taking a stab at a six-week campaign solely funded on their own dollar. Demonstrating not only faith in their own project but a true understanding of what it takes to develop their careers. The campaign is proving successful as the boys are currently being spun nationally. Their radio campaign is reaching stations from the East coast to the West coast and in between. Finespun will again capitalize on opportunities by touring in support of their radio success.
They are regulars at clubs in the northeast such as Arlene’s Grocery, The Alphabet Lounge, The Downtown and Acme. Along with landing themselves opening spots for Gilby Clarke (formerly of Guns ‘N Roses), The London Quireboys, Hookah Brown (Black Crowe’s) and Kings X. While on tour, they have played clubs from New York to Austin and in between. In addition, they have received invitations to both SXSW and 2NMC. Because of this exposure and their continued popularity, Coca-Cola’s New Music Awards (2002) have chosen them as one of the top fifty bands in the country.
She racked up Emmy Awards and recognition nationwide. But for Houston television reporter Eileen Faxas, something was always missing. So she dumped her day job to devote herself to her true love: singing and songwriting.
Her debut CD "Dance Cry Swing" is already getting airplay on major Houston radio stations and selling in stores in Houston, Miami and online. The first single is a sexy bilingual dance song called "Take A Chance" that recalls the sound of the Miami Sound Machine in its heyday.
Born in Miami and raised on a diet of American, Latin and World music, the Cuban-American songwriter lets her roots show… making her debut CD a bilingual journey from powerful ballads to Latin-infused pop and jazz to all-out Salsa jams.
Album producer Dan Workman, who’s worked with top artists like Destiny’s Child and ZZ Top, called Eileen "one of the most natural songwriters I’ve ever met", and industry website GarageBand.com named her Spanish release "Vivelo" a Track of the Week.
Collected Sounds, the Minneapolis, U.S.-based guide to women in music, has made Allison Crowe its Featured Artist this month. Collected Sounds profiles such well-known-and-loved acts as Madonna, Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman and Tanya Donelly, alongside worthy new artists. In spotlighting Allison, Collected Sounds’ Producer Amy Lotsberg, (an early champion of such independent artists as Vienna Teng and Regina Spektor), says: "I figured she had some fun things going on and it was high time to call some more attention to her again".
In her review of Allison’s latest CD, Lotsberg notes: "I’ve been an admirer and supporter of Allison Crowe since I reviewed her first EP, ‘6 Songs’ in October of 2002. I was stunned then, as I am now. This incredible chill-inducing voice coming out of a young person is such a rare treat… This girl’s the real deal."
Allison wrapped shooting of a live-in-the-studio concert to be released on DVD later this year. "Whether I’m Wrong", Crowe’s potent song featured by the UNESCO-endorsed New Songs for Peace project, will be a single release to international television. Producer/Director Alex Postowoi, whose camera-work is primarily seen in a host of major motion pictures and television shows, has previously shot music videos for Bif Naked, Jann Arden and Joan Armatrading. The songs were recorded at Turtle Studios in White Rock, B.C. by Producer/Engineer Larry Anschell (K-os, Pearl Jam, Sarah McLachlan).
Fed up with unimaginative cookie cutter rap, the LA-based hip hop collective Custom Made is slated to release their latest CD, Pillow Talk, on June 2, 2005. Like LA State of Mind, the group’s previous album, Pillow Talk showcases stylized rhyme schemes and musical backdrops that demonstrate the potential of LA hip hop beyond West Coast gangsta rap. With melodies composed of sweeping horns, groovy soul, and jazzy chords that fall that drizzling rain, Custom Made’s Pillow Talk is a landscape of loungey beats against smooth poetics.
Merging east and west, Custom Made is composed of emcees that have seasoned themselves in fierce Los Angeles battle scene. The majority of Custom Made members hail from LA, with the exception of Queens, New York-native Aneek. The group’s five original lyricists- Aneek, B-Love, Element, Sinister Six and Skandalous Scoobs – are all featured on Pillow Talk alongside some additional collaborators that include Mobb Deep, Lexus, Inspectah Deck, Jedi Mind Tricks, and Kool G Rap.
Royal Playboy Cartel has been added to two of Judas Priest‘s European tour dates and one of Robert Plant‘s dates in early April 2005. The first night of RPC’s warm up will be Monday, April 6th at Katowice Spodek, Poland, where they are the only warm up band for Judas Priest’s 8,000 person audience. Then they will make their way to the Czech Republic where they will be playing at Hala Rondo, again opening up for Judas Priest. The following night, RPC will be opening for Robert Plant at Czech Republic’s Sazka Arena in front of approximately 16,000 people.
Royal Playboy Cartel have been quite visible on European stages, having played along side bands like Ozzy, Tool and Slayer at Ozzfest 2002 in the Czech Republic. They were also the only American band to play at iFest 2002, a relief concert for the major floods in the Czech Republic that year.
In the USA, Royal Playboy Cartel has played in most of NYC’s most prestigious venues. They are the headlining band every year since 2001 at Visionfest, a NYC indie film festival. Four of their songs are in an independent film, "Xtacy" featured in the Sarasota Film Festival, Feb. 2005. They have recently been signed to new management, Hippotang Entertainment, and will be spending the majority of early 2005 playing local live shows and recording their debut album.
The Indie Managers Association (IMA), a company that provides resources to educate and promote this and the next generation of personal music managers and self-managed artists, took a major step in its re-launch with the announcement of a new members-only section on its company website. The company announced added benefits and resources that make the job of management and self-management easier, more rewarding and less frustrating. The company also launched the IMA Artist Observatory Radio, an internet radio station featuring music from its Members.
"Today’s announcement reflects the new and improved Indie Managers Association a company focused on educating independent music managers that represent artists not signed to major record labels or publishing companies, as well as self-managed artists," said Jeremy Rwakaara, president of the Indie Managers Association.
From April 1 through April 3 the unique Internet radio channel at Ampcast dot com (http://www.Ampcast.com) will broadcast live to celebrate the on-line music distribution’s sixth year of doing business over the Internet. The event is being called an Ampcast-a-thon.
Surviving the turmoil that killed most other on-line music distribution (OMD) sites, Ampcast continues to sign up independent performers and host their original material, much of it free to download. Ampcast dot com handles huge traffic for streaming, downloading and CD purchases of multi-genre independent music and spoken word product.
And, Ampcast dot com "radio" thrives, continuing as the Internet’s major proving ground for independent broadcasting over the World Wide Web. The April weekend jamboree on the OMD’s radio side will feature live personalities and Ampcast-generated material, along with talk shows and information about the groundbreaking web site for new listeners and veteran OMD patrons.
The 2005 US Indie Band & Film Expo will take place in Beaumont, Texas from August 19-23, 2005 (setup and load-in is on August 18). More than 500 bands, filmmakers, and artists are expected to participate in what is expected to become the premier showcase for unsigned acts of all genres. Nearly 18,000 people are projected to attend the birth of one of the industry’s most explosive annual events.
The five-day event will take place at the Fairpark Coliseum and Fairground, and nearby facilities and venues. There will be four outdoor music stages running continuously from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., and indoors, there will be a large screen to show projects in film, video, and animation. Additionally, each participant will have a booth promoting their goods or services, selling merchandise, meet-and-greets, etc. The US Indie Expo will also feature workshops, conferences, Q&A panel sessions, and seminars.
Because of so many entertainment industry expos and conferences today overcharging for participating in their events, many independent artists, bands, and filmmakers simply cannot participate because of the high costs involved. For this reason, many of tomorrow’s talents are overlooked even without having a fair chance in the industry’s competitive nature today. The creation of The US Indie Expo gives every deserving artist a chance to network with other artists, bands, industry professionals, and filmmakers from around the world. Together we can reshape the industry and create new opportunities for the future.