NEW MUSIC: I feel as if we live in a society these days where most people are looking out for themselves with some out to make an easy buck. As a former professional singer music will always be a part of me, a passion. Many say music is the only universal language.
Category: Feature Articles
Articles and Interviews from our editorial staff.
For fans of multi-dimensional MIDI controllers, and true performance instruments in favor of grid controllers, the first (annual?) Haken Continuum Conference has been announced for June 9-11, 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina. This new event has been dubbed “ContinuuCon” (pronounced con-tin-you-con).
REVIEW of Matrix 12V: When Arturia recently announced and then released their latest V-Collection 4 of virtual instruments, and announced one of the new products would be a recreation of the venerable Oberheim Matrix-12, I was both overjoyed and impressed they had actually tackled this beast.
ARTICLE: There I was, working at an ad agency whose main office was located not too far from Amoeba Records and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, not to mention a whole bunch of clubs, bars, nightspots, and everything else in that gaudy cesspool known as Tinsel Town. The ad shop was a medium-sized place with only a couple dozen employees but they had some very busy retail accounts like car dealerships and a national chain of pizza restaurants.
ARTICLE: “That’s a hit song!” The speaker was Wendie Colter, complimenting fellow artist Fran Lucci on one of her warm numbers. This was just before Colter delivered one of several potential hit songs of her own. And it was near the middle of a set featuring nicely textured work by Denise (lead singer from the indie band Jacar), as well as several crowd-rousing numbers from the supremely strong-voiced Mara.
ARTICLE: Okay, who’s making this incredible racket? Oh wait, it’s Rakit, a three-piece group that never saw a volume-boosting device it didn’t like. The music they create is dark, mysterious, pounding, tortuous, arduous, twisted, hazardous, risky, treacherous, freaky, and full of danger. In other words, it’s great fun.
ARTICLE: Taking a ride on a cosmic wave of positive energy is a joy that special performers offer. Here are some notable examples of artists who provide transcendence within the forms of popular music. Some musicians seem to provide their own light. Larisa Stow is someone whose on-stage persona contains a million watt beacon. While her vocals are quite lovely, the force of her talent can make you think hers is the prettiest voice in the world.
ARTICLE: Check the club schedules, call the shutterbug, throw on some jeans, grab the earplugs, gas up the car, hit the road, battle for a parking slot, and argue your way into the venue. Yup, ya gotta run that gauntlet to enable the music to wash over you and, hopefully, transport you to another part of the universe. Sometimes, it was all worth it.
Some of you will read the headline on this chapter and think the topic is the tooth-rotting tubes of goop called Otter Pops. But no. I write to you of something that was magical, splendid, and actually good for you. The Otterpops were a band that made a lot of marvelous music before their shelf […]
Hitting the clubs and hearing the sounds may be fun for you once in a while but I did it unselfishly three or four nights a week for years in order to bring you info on a few of the artists who were making noises that were cool, interesting, swinging, or fun. And even maybe […]
BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter 11 – Tom Chaffee by SIHH — SIHH stands for Self-Important Hollywood Hipster, a disreputable character who, as you are about to see, is as opinionated as I am. This is less a review than a peek into the problems of attending live music in an age […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter 10 – Hardsoft: Velvet Chain Beats You Up with a Kiss — Velvet Chain seduces you while battering you into submission. The hypnotic delivery of lead singer Erika Amato is the obvious starting point in analyzing how they accomplish this feat. But while she can deliver […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter NINE – In the Mood Music — If you are fortunate enough to be exposed to the music of Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams, one thing is certain: you will be moving your hips as they perform a wicked amalgamation of funk, salsa, soul, pop, […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter EIGHT – Powder Keg — A truly exciting band is one with the ability to make your hair stand up all over your body and make you forget you missed dinner when you rushed to their show right after work. It is a group you will […]
REVIEW: It’s not uncommon for software publishers to, at some point, bundle together various previously released products into a newly birthed bundle-of-joy, and SONiVOX has done just this with their recently birthed Dubstep Destruction Tools box set. The bundle, or toolkit as they call it, combines four products: Wobble, the Dubstep Grime Generator; TWIST, the […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter SEVEN – Unearthly Frequencies: Debby Holiday — Debby Holiday can use her voice with both precision and abandon in such a way that it reverberates inside your noggin. And even better, she touches your soul. Time sped up. The stars stood still. Inside Luna Park’s downstairs […]
REVIEW: You’ve been kidnapped by evil Audio Trolls and locked in an underground bunker. You are allowed to live only if you produce the world’s best vocal recording. You’re allowed only one microphone to capture the perfect vocal tone on a soprano, a tenor, an alto and a bass vocalist — in the pop, rock, […]
BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka Chapter 6 – Hiding in Plain Sight: Rob Kendt, the Man Behind Millhouse
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter SIX – Hiding in Plain Sight: Rob Kendt, the Man Behind Millhouse — Songwriters can succeed in more than one style of music but artists tend to do better by sticking to one easily-identifiable sound. So what happens when a multi-genre songwriter is the leader of […]
REVIEW: Written from the heart, Elton John’s “Love is the Cure” will confound those expecting to read about his musical career but in discussing AIDS and the work of foundations seeking to eradicate the disease, John has created a valuable document. Perplexing. That’s the word to describe Love is the Cure, the short book or […]
VIDEO: Recently I found myself bemoaning the lack of walk-through “here are some demo patches” videos for a number of synths, keyboards and other music gear I own, so the obvious thing to do was start doing them myself and stop whining about it. So, with a new Nikon DSLR with HD video capability in hand, I thought I would start off this video review series with a fairly rare beast known as the John Bowen SOLARIS. (Chris’ Synth Show 2012)
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Chapter FIVE – Sin, Sex & Cigarettes: The Toledo Show — When you enter the dark fantasy that is The Toledo Show, you have only two choices: One, use all your will power to try resisting the delicious swirl of sin, sex and cigarettes that is unfolding before you; or Two: […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Chapter FOUR – First, They Laughed: A Big Bad Blast of Buckethead — Hitting the stage incognito isn’t new but no one else has been outfitted like this: an oriental theater mask, a nylon hoodie, and a family-size chicken bucket from KFC. Reactions are derisive and derogatory until the guy starts […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Music internships can be a great opportunity for the beginner to the semi pro, to the professional musician that might be changing focus to another aspect of the music business. At the same time, the wrong music internship can leave you as an unpaid employee, doing crap work and learning nothing. Before jumping […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Chapter THREE – Falling into the Abyss: Front Line Assembly — Industrial rock flirts with pure noise, goes out on dates with electronica, and then shacks up with body-bouncing beats. Having embraced all three of these approaches, Front Line Assembly makes music that is aggressive, loud, abrasive, anarchic, nihilistic, and existential. […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Lydia Purple is one of those songs that, for me, encapsulate an era. It is evocative and redolent of the late 1960s. Like a latter-day time traveler, I cannot listen to it without being magically transported back to another world, another moment in space and time. The iconic version was performed by the […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Artists need to think past the recording to get it heard, to get it sold and to get that larger fan base at shows. Too many focus on the recording and don’t think about the marketing, the promotion and the branding of how they will get that music out there. Looking at the […]
MuseWire COLUMN: “Eight Miles High” is one of the greatest songs of all time. It influenced me significantly and from what I can discern from multiple sources had major social-cultural impact also. It doesn’t help that I idolize the Byrds and McGuinn is one of my musical heroes. There are different versions of the song’s […]
MuseWire COLUMN: In the music industry of today, the more questions that are asked more frequently will help artists make the smarter choices. There are a great deal of people out there that know what they are talking about, just as there are truck loads more than are fakes. The more questions an artist asks […]
MuseWire COLUMN: You say you want to make money in the music business and you don’t care how. Let’s see if you’re ready. Greedy? Check. Ruthless? Check. Predatory? Check. Okay, you just might be well-prepared to screw artists by putting on a music conference. Indie musicians dream of many things. Fame. Fortune. Somebody playing one […]
MuseWire COLUMN: In blending soul, R&B, gospel, and rock, Solomon Burke had the ability to reach from the stage and shake listeners to their very core. The might and majesty of Burke is honored in this updated version of a review of his 1997 stage show. It is just before midnight and I am standing […]
MuseWire COLUMN: David William Kearney is a guitar slinger who will happily do axe-battle with you using blues, R&B, or rock. He’ll take on all comers with sweet toned ballads or psychedelic frenzy. And as this long-lost nineteen-ninety-eight article shows, the man has incredible roots. Oh, and he’s still gigging. From the band’s first few […]
MuseWire COLUMN: It’s a rainy day in Southern California so I decided to fool around with one of the things I like doing best … experimenting with guitar sounds. I must confess I used to be pretty promiscuous with tonal experimentation. I went through your EL34s, 6L6 and KT66 power tubes, your Amperex, Mullard, Telefunken […]
MuseWire COLUMN: A lot of musicians and bands are playing on any given night, at any given club in any given city. So taking a smart approach to music advertising and gig advertising when it comes to social media promotion of the performance date is a good idea. One of the best ideas for musicians […]
MuseWire COLUMN: When did the Doors’ records start going downhill? The answer to this question is shortly after their third record, however, the band’s incipient tendency to write bad songs is evident as early as their first, as I will explain. The problem mainly has to do with the band’s inclination to attempt to integrate […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Joke book or important guide to the music industry? Author and compiler Jeffrey Weber believes it is both. One thing is certain: you will laugh, wince, howl, grimace, and laugh some more. Two musicians walk into a bar. One doesn’t order a drink. Hey, it could happen. If you smiled, this book (“You’ve […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: African-American spirituality has been expressed in a profound tradition of music dating back to the first days of slavery in the United States. One of the consistent lyrical themes of this genre is the temporality of life, its transience and impermanence, the problem of evil, and the promise of a better world to come.
MuseWire Column: Playing in rock bands, creating soundtracks for motion pictures and television, and writing modern classical music would be an impossible combination for most people but composer/performer Jocelyn Pook is succeeding in all of these arenas. Jocelyn Pook does not hear sound the way most people do. Whereas someone else might hear a droning […]
MuseWire REVIEW: Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington’s music is not often discussed alongside the work of Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, and Arnold Schoenberg, but Reed College professor David Schiff convincingly makes a case for comparing and contrasting the creativity of each of these composers. Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy, and Alban Berg show up, too. For music majors, […]
Who Has a Better Guitar Sound – Eric Clapton (on Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears) or Jimmy Page (on Led Zeppelin I)?
MuseWire COLUMN: This is not about who is the better guitar player, viz, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Maybe the question (and their theoretical rivalry) stems from the fact that both of them were in that smokin’ slab of 1960s pop-psychedelia, the Yardbirds; or, that neither of them is quite as good as Jeff Beck. […]
MuseWire COLUMN: The Los Angeles Times recently has carried several stories about a series of tuba thefts that have plagued local area high schools, colleges, bands, orchestras and other performing aggregations. A quick www search reveals that L.A. is not the only jurisdiction victimized by this spate of thievery. On further review it turns out […]
MuseWire REVIEW: Yes, OK, it took him a long time to get them done, and some people still haven’t gotten theirs from the initial production run. I am pleased to advise, though, that it is well worth the wait. Ours arrived from Europe in good order with sturdy packaging, nothing to be worried about as […]
MuseWire COLUMN: For immediate dispatch from the wild and wooly frontier south of Disneyland – after a decade of resisting the blandishments and imprecations of colleagues I finally re-attended this year’s NAMM convention (Jan. 19-22, 2012). NAMM of course stands for the National Association of Music Merchandisers. Its annual soiree is held at the Anaheim […]
MuseWire COLUMN: The Sundance Film Festival begins today (January 19th) in Park City, Utah, and runs for an exhausting 10 days through January 29th. When I was an executive in the independent film business I attended Sundance regularly. I’ll never forget the frisson of excitement I experienced when a film I financed and produced – […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: Somehow the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia managed to get backed into a political corner where it had to shut itself down for a day (January 18th) in order to demonstrate solidarity with those protesting proposed legislation to restrict the prerogatives of web site owners.
MuseWire COLUMN: A press release today (January 17th) from Clear Channel announces a new division called Entertainment Enterprises, to be headed by John Sykes. I think Sykes is a nice guy; I used to work with him when I was at Capitol-EMI and he was at Chrysalis Records. The premise of this new venture, however, […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: After several visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the primary reactions were trepidation and consternation. The building itself is quite impressive but the well-packaged contents of the RARHOFAM are often silly and ultimately insignificant.
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: His name was Paul Atkinson and he played electric guitar. He made music in the most inventive of the British Invasion bands, The Zombies, whose gorgeous harmonies, infectious hooks and intriguing jazz-pop blend made huge sellers of ‘She’s Not There,’ ‘Tell Her No’ and ‘Time of the Season.’