Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Album of the week: The Box Borealis by Moon and Pollution

I have to admit when local rag City Pages has its moments (despite the fact that the local publication posts some of the shittiest writing I have ever read by the biggest douchebags in the metro area) like when they post online an interview with a band that would appeal to my musical sensibilities when it comes to electronica music. This doesn't occur very often but when it does I do have to eat a healthy helping of crow. In this case I came across an interview on City Pages website featuring a new local band called Moon and Pollution. They are an electronic/pop duo featuring Molly Dean on vocals and Graham O'Brien as producer. You can read their interview here on City Pages' website.

After reading the article, I immediately went on to the band's bandcamp page and listened to their debut album The Box Borealis. It is a beautiful, well crafted album that shares the same vibe as fellow local artists/acts Tiny Deaths and Aby Wolf's work with its gentle, lush trip hop beats and Dean's haunting vocals. There was no doubt that The Box Borealis was going to be this week's pick for Album of the Week.  There is nothing about this album I did not love. It is very well produced and I get immense pleasure out of listening to each track on the album.

Not sure if I am going to make it to their record release party on Saturday since I am trying to get rid of a cold that has been plaguing me like forever and I really want to see some friends perform live at Ground Zero on Friday night. I have posted a link for tickets to their upcoming show.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singing competition shows is not the way to go to start a music career

Today I read that American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is suing the show's production company 19 Entertainment so he could get out of his contract with them because of the oppressive climate he is in. You can read all the gory details about it here.

I will be up front and say that I have no sympathy for the guy. It is clear as day that the intentions of American Idol and their production company is to make as much money out of their cash cows, er, winners from the long time singing competition. You have to be pretty naive to think that if you were to win a singing competition you would have complete artistic freedom with your music. From what I have read about the situation, Phillip Phillips had to sign quite a few contracts. That in itself should have a been a tell tale sign for him that this was not going to be about what he wants to do as an artist but what 19 Entertainment expects of him as their client. People who go on these shows should know better than to expect that they would have complete control of their music.  I don't think these contestants who goes on shows like American Idol and The Voice don't even consider the "business" part of the term "music business".

Unlike American Idol, the winners, let alone the contestants of The Voice have yet to achieve the fame and popularity of those who have  gone on American Idol. In the past NBC has claimed that their goal with the show was to help the artists with their career and weren't concerned with getting hit singles/records from the artists. I find that to be utter rubbish. C'mon. The mainstream music industry today is all about the benjamins. The Voice has been on the air for seven seasons and yet most of the contestants and winners have faded into the shadows. Is this what those contestants really wanted or at least expected when they were voted onto the show? Does anyone remember the first winner of The Voice Javier Colon? I sure don't.

Today many artists are utilizing sites like Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Reverb Nation and various crowd funding sites to get their music to their fans. Granted it takes a lot of work for the artist to make their music, promote it, and if they are releasing their music on CD/Vinyl (besides in digital form), and shipping out the music which often comes straight out of their pockets but they are not stuck in a binding contract with a company whose sole interests is making money. In other words it is a lot of work to go at it alone in the music industry with crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, getting music made and put out there for music fans says a lot about the role of record labels and the state of the music industry (which is the old way is done).

I have to ask this question to those who want to go on singing competition shows? Are you willing to sell out your integrity and artistry as an artist just so you can become famous? And do you think it is worth sacrificing your art for the sake of becoming a celebrity? Fame is fleeting as a lot of past American Idol and The Voice contestants can probably vouch for me on that statement. Music should be about art, not celebrity and being famous. I get the impression with the contestants who goes on to these shows. I have quite a few friends in the local music scene in bands. I see what they do to get their music heard. It is a lot of work. I have a ton of respect for my friends who have to go through so much shit to get their music heard than those who go on singing competition shows. Those shows are a joke and are just looking for the next cash cow/corporate slave. A little hard work doesn't kill anyone.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly playlist for the week of 01/26 through 02/01

For this week's playlist, I compiled some of my favorite songs that have been covered or written by the Greek synthpop duo Marsheaux. They are one of my favorite synthpop bands for the past five years now. I think they are underrated in my book. I think I discovered their music on youtube. Not really sure how I discovered them but whatever the case I loved what I had heard and have been hooked on their music since first hearing their song "Summer".

The band recently released a cover album on Spotify of the Depeche Mode album A Broken Frame. I enjoyed it. I think it is worth checking out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seabound with Architect: Speak in Storms tour Saint Paul, MN show 3/27

In case you have not heard about the next Kilted Farmer Koncerts show, it is going to be the German synthpop band Seabound with the German electronica act Architect featuring Haujobb's Daniel Myer. Wisconsin trip hop band Endless Blue will open up the show and DJ BigKev will be dj'ing in between sets.

In honor of the upcoming show I have posted playlists featuring the three bands performing that night. I personally am particularly fond of the Architect album. Endless Blue is really good too. I have a couple of their albums. If you dig trip hop, I definitely recommend checking them out. I personally prefer Seabound's other albums but Speak in Storms isn't too bad.

Seabound /wArchitect Facebook Event

Seabound tickets

3/27 Seabound, Architect, Endless Blue Show

Seabound Facebook Page

Architect Facebook Page

Endless Blue Facebook Page

All the gory details about the show can be found on the Facebook event link which I have posted below the Endless Blue playlist.  The show is on a Friday night. Unless you work on the weekend (fortunately I don't), do come to the show to really show support for our local scene so Kilted Farmer Koncerts can bring in more bands like Seabound to town. Every single person that shows up to the shows do make a huge difference. Please share the Facebook event with your friends as much as possible.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My latest finds on Bandcamp

This past week I found some compelling music through Bandcamp (one of my favorite sources for finding new music). Of course I have to share what I heard with my blog readers.

I am really digging the sounds of Animal Bodies right now. Excellent band from Vancouver. I find their music very hypnotic to listen to.

Oscillating Faces is from Colorado. I had listened to a couple of their songs on bandcamp and totally dug what I had heard. The music is a mix of industrial, ambient, and noise. From what I have read on their Facebook page, they are currently working on their first album.

Vajra is a band from NY that blends hard rock with Middle Eastern Indian themes.

Antilav is an excellent electro act from Russia. Their "In My Dreams Around the World" EP is my favorite find from Bandcamp. The song is addictive. It has really great hooks.

If you are looking for some interesting new music, check out the music that I just posted here. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1977

I admit it, I have a soft spot for ABBA. I couldn't resist including one of their songs for this week's Throwback Thursday ;).

01. Iggy Pop: Lust For Life

02. David Bowie: Heroes

03. Runaways: Queens of Noise

04. Heart: Barracuda

05. Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill

06. Donna Summer: I Feel Love

07. ABBA: Knowing Me, Knowing You

08. Ramones: Sheena is a Punk Rocker

09. Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express

10. Sex Pistols: Pretty Vacant