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Music Notes

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Jakprints, a Cleveland based printer, has recently developed its EcoGreen Sticker: a environment-friendly alternative to traditional sticker stock. After realizing that this type of sticker wasn’t readily available, Jakprints sought to make this green alternative as part of their efforts to “[create] a business with a positive impact on our environment and community…” said Jakprints cofounder Dameon Guess. Printed on Trustick stock, another eco-friendly invention by Jakprints, EcoGreen Stickers are manufactured without using water or toxic agents, and has a face stock made completely from inorganic stone (either limestone or calcium carbonate). The sticker’s unique visual quality makes it an excellent choice for environment friendly bands to make promotional stickers.


After her sophomore album dropped back in September, it was shown that A Fine Frenzy’s Alison Sudol once again produced a string of infectious singles, including  the light and reflective “Happier.”  Bomb in a Birdcage resulted in a career high-point for Sudol, after reaching number 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Additional highlights found on Bomb in a Birdcage include “Blow Away” and “Electric Twist.”

The initial period of making connections can often times be intimidating for musicians new on the scene. With a myriad of options and opportunities, it’s no surprise that many are left wondering how to effectively promote their sound. For those looking for an accessible place to network and gain information on all things Boston, look no further than the iconic Middle East Club.

Hosted by the venue’s national booking agent, Kevin Hoskins, the “Rock Shop” series was created to help artists gain footing in town. “We wanted to help new bands try to make sense of info, touring, publicity- it’s a lot of information to get,” says Hoskins. “We wanted people to meet other people doing like-minded things. The nature of the city makes it hard to make connections.”

With half a dozen sessions already under their belts, Hoskins is happy with the initial turnout so far. “With the first meeting there was only four days notice, but we had about 60 people,” he says. “We had about 100 the next time. There were some great questions and discussions, and people still stayed after to talk.” Other participants have included Shred of Team Shred Agency and Productions, Steve Theo of Pirate Productions, Randi Millman of T.T the Bear’s and Carl Lavin of Great Scott and O’Brien’s.

likeZEBRA, a recently developed networking tool, is seeking to connect music lovers with underground artists by directly linking bands to a fan base. In addition, likeZEBRA provides promotional tools and exposure to artists, while those searching for underground music can easily browse through a wide variety of artists. The site enables visitors to discover music by searching through genre, artist, fan, or track. Musicians looking to promote through likeZEBRA are given access to a variety of viral promotional tools, as well as the opportunity to create and sell merchandise through the site.

A new company, TheRevolution LLC is aiming to provide the direct tools necessary for indie and underground musicians to promote their music through their fans. The concept is for artists to create “virtual street teams” by rewarding fans who promote their music with “fan commissions,” which could range from T-shirts, free concert tickets, and CDs to meet-and-greets, and even cash. Fans go about promoting their favorite musicians by posting music players onto their websites, whether it is a blog, Facebook page, or personal website.

Since the appeal of TheRevolution LLC seems somewhat too good to be true, I decided to try to create a media player of my own, and to post it to my WordPress blog site. TheRevolution LLC required me to fill out my name, email, and address in which my “commissions” will be sent to. After hesitantly agreeing to submit my personal information, I was given a fan ID, and the option to create a player, and essentially upload it to my site. Upon browsing for prospective artists whose commission I would be receiving, I finally realized that the website currently gives fans access to just over 60 artists, none of which I had never heard of.

Despite the lack of variety, I proceeded with choosing an artist in an attempt to create my player, and get that commission. Julian Lennon/James Scott Cook was my artist of choice, as I added them to my “Player” list and opted to get the code for my blog. A box popped up showing the music player itself, along with the option to share it. I was then asked to click on the “Copy Player Code” button, and to “simply paste the code to the web page you want this player to appear on.” Easy enough right?

I don’t consider myself a very technology-friendly person, yet after having my WordPress blog for over a year that is the one site I can easily navigate through, while knowing all the options available to me. After failing to find a spot to “simply paste” my code into, I went back to TheRevolution website in hopes of finding out where exactly to stick the HTML code. Located conveniently at the top of the page was a ”Help” button, where I was reassured that copying the code was “easy to do,” and “not to worry.” Apparently, the Facebook application is so simple, that TheRevolution didn’t even bother to explain the instructions (maybe I would have better luck there.) Their attempt to help with my issue of where to stick the HTML was to tell me, “select the Get Webpage Code link next to the music player you want to post. Then, click Copy Player Code. That’s it. Now, go to the webpage you want the music player to appear on and paste the code in its HTML.” Needless to say, I gave up.

If there’s a soul out there who has successfully uploaded a media player to their blog site, I beseech you for your help. For all us non-HTML experts, who are unaware of how to “simply paste” HTML code onto an already-built website which doesn’t belong to us, TheRevolution is simply a lost cause. Not to mention, the site is laden with spelling errors. Those fans expecting commission are also susceptible to not getting their “payment,” due to a “what if?” mentality of if the artists just never respond. No contract holds the artists to paying fans, making it particularly easy for artists to get their “virtual street teams,” without rewarding their fans. All in all, if TheRevolution is truly out to revolutionize music promotion, the site and the concept could use a little work.

Tiny Fires has produced a haunting self-titled debut album filled with dreamy melodies and wistful lyrics. Bandmates Dylan Metrano and Guy Capecelatro III have clearly used years of knowledge and strong musicality to help create an inventive and infectious collection of songs. The seven tracks seductively woo the listener in, resulting in an addictive yet calming experience. While many of the songs feature notably strong and aesthetically pleasing harmonies, there is an archaic feel to the production as a whole, as they evoke emotion through voice and instrument alike.

As glistening guitars and melodic drumming are strong elements throughout the album, listeners are either eerily entranced or comfortably lulled by the songs. Surprise elements to tracks such as “Sinner Man,” and “Dreaming through Days” incorporate spoken pros and carnival-like melodies. “Dreaming through Days” is an almost ideal, innocent contrast to the reflective and poetic “Beacon” – a piano-filled, chant-like manifestation of times passed.

A particularly noteworthy track is “Wild at Heart,” a shimmering, guitar-based ballad of a girl named Jane. With a chorus that rhythmically croons, “She’s a blackheart, she’s a heartbreaker, she’s wild at heart / To know, know, know / To love, love, love / That was her art,” the song tells a mantra-like story of death and lost youth. Like the rest of the tracks on their record, “Wild at Heart” gives listeners yet another original taste of Tiny Fires’ truly skilled and innovative sound. (Burst and Bloom Records)

By now, the members of Vary Lumar have been around the block and then some. With the release of their third EP Plasticolor Coma, Vary Lumar once again re-mastered their sound, now giving fans a more stripped down and minimal version of their music. After returning from a yearlong hiatus, members of Vary Lumar wrote and recorded the four tracks to Plasticolor Coma in only two months.

The EP is a colorful, musical escape, which builds on ethnic influences and effortless melodies. The tracks are simple compared to their previous sounds, while dainty, poppy elements are strongly held throughout all four tracks. Despite their steps in yet another new direction, the EP is an uncomplicated collection of infectious material.

“Laying on Ice,” a somewhat upbeat tune with jazz elements easily encompasses the overall feel of the Plasticolor Coma. Smooth, raw vocals are delivered from Paul De Pasquale, while lyrics such as “And I say it again/ And I’m gonna water this place/ And it never cross your mind/ And it never cross your mind,” are an easy anthem that resound with listeners. Harmonies accompany De Pasquale, making the song that much more unique and somewhat haunting.

Plasticolor Coma is a uniquely fitting title for the tracks. Vivid instrumentation and colorful soundscapes allowed for Vary Lumar to yet again recreate themselves through their third EP. (Swoom Records)