I May Be Coming Back to this Blog…

It’s been quite a while since I’ve actively posted here. And I can’t really say that won’t continue. But I can say that musically, at least, I may actually hit a stride this year.

As my friends and family know, I have yet to finish an album…the same one I started almost a decade ago..! But this year I’m turning 40, and that’s ignited a growing desperate desire to get something finished. Anything. Whatever it takes. Getting help, over simplifying, etc. Maybe even launching a combination album release party and birthday party, or something crazy like that.

It’s an idea that’s constantly floating in my head.

In either case, I want to actively create again.

I recently visited the songwriting collaboration site, Kompoz.com, and thought it might be an easy way to get back into the groove — i.e. I can go and help other people finish their songs, which relieves myself of the self-induced pressure I experience when I work on my own stuff. The hope is, I’ll “learn” how to crank material out, and not overthink things, like I usually do. (My song avalanche is now on version 18!)

We’ll see what happens. If it works, I’ll start posting progress updates here on the ol’ blog. Wish me luck — I’ll need it!

3-Yr Old Cover of “Awakening” by Switchfoot

I am this kid’s biggest fan.

Look at that rock star gaze, the powerful pipes, and the axe-wielding bravado.  It’s 22 seconds of liquified gold.  :)

You can take your “Mm Bop” and eat it, Hanson Brothers…

How to Advertise on YouTube, Pandora, MTV, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone

ReverbNation has consistently broken the mold in offering tools that empower independent artists.

Their most recent ad creation platform, Promote It on Top Sites, is pretty incredible. Anyone with $25 can launch an ad on Youtube, Pandora, MTV, Pitchfork, and a whole slew of other sites.  I’ll regurgitate  the full details here, but will shamelessly slap their intro video below:

The platform is awesome.  But please, please, if you give it a try, start CONSERVATIVELY.  Be as narrow and specific with your targeting as you can, to make sure your precious ad dollars are spend efficiently.  This can be a great way to burn through savings fast.  :)

Starting a Band

More random thoughts on a late night, this time thinking back to the days when I was in a band (or two)…

If you’re reading this blog, surely you’ve thought about starting a band at some point in your life.  Whether you dreamed of playing to sold-out stadiums, or simply to hacking a few local gigs to wow the local scene, it’s all about sharing (and showing off) talent. Actually starting a band can be both hugely exciting and incredibly painful.  Here are some pitfalls many of us have faced when starting a band.

Band Member Goals

Are all the band members’ goals aligned?  It’s important to ensure that all members of the band are on the same page. How often will the band practice? What kind of music will the band play? How will the band split songwriting credits?  Who plays what?  Bands require compromise, but if everyone has different goals, the band’s toast.

Band Member Chops ‘n’ Skills

Playing music requires expertise.  Of some kind anyway.  (There are a ton of stories of unimpressive musicianship achieving success, but in reality, most successful bands are made up o f incredibly talented and/or charismatic musicians.)  Performance experience helps as well.  Some people are naturally charismatic.  Hopefully, if a band member is stage shy, it’s the keyboard player, and not the lead singer.  And hopefully, if a musician is “faking” skill on stage, it’s your percussionist, and not your lead guitarist.  (No offence to any Wooden Spoon players out there.)

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Why You Should Scoop Up Florence and the Machine Tickets

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, and I thought I’d share some random, late night thoughts about a band.

Someone told me that if I was a Lord of the Rings fan, I’d like Florence and the Machine.  That seemed like an odd statement, so I put it to the test (I love LotR), and voila, I’m now a fan of the band.  They’re touring America this month to support their new album “Ceremonials,” and Florence and the Machine tickets are currently available.  As with many breakout bands, appearance in various media launched their success, making it yet another good case study for the “screen to mp3” success story.  Let’s walk through it.

Florence and the Machine’s unique sound is the key to their success. Florence Welch’s haunting voice overlaid on ethereal backing tracks creates a cloud of mystery around the listener. The complex harmonies combine with enough thump in the bass to remind the listener that this is a rock band. The band’s sound has been categorized at various times as English art rock or even soul. Perhaps the best description is pagan rock. The melodies and soaring vocals are reminiscent of New Age music from the 1980s.

The group appeals to a segment of rock fans who in earlier days might have listened to more pop-based bands. Although this segment is small, the band is fortunate to have been noticed by the mainstream media. Early in their career they were featured on the program “BBC Introducing.” Since then, their songs have been picked up for play on numerous television programs and movies, including “Wild Child,” “Eat Pray Love,” “Saving Grace” and many others. The recent “Snow White” gig was the latest in the string of soundtrack appearances which have given the group widespread exposure.

Since “Ceremonials’” debut, the band has also released two singles, “Breath of Life” and a remixed version of “Spectrum (Say My Name).” “Breath” was featured as the theme for “Snow White & the Huntsman.” “Ceremonials” reached the top spot on the UK charts in its first week. It peaked in sixth place in the U.S. The band also received two Brit Award nominations for the record.

When the tour concludes, the band will begin work on their third album. it could be a minute or two before the group is back on tour, so now is the time to scoop up those Florence and the Machine tickets.