September 12, 2014

FRIDAY'S FIVE

For the first weekly installment of great new music, here are my top five picks for the week of Sept 12, 2014

THE DEETS - Charlie

Great rock song out of the UK!  Both song and video are fantastic!  These guys should be HUGE!






TWO BEARS NORTH - Bipolar Princess

I'm not sure what's in the water in Alberta, but Sophie Heppell and Melissa Walker have made an instant classic as far as I am concerned.







DIEMONDS - Get the Fuck Outta Here

Just balls to the walls rock!  Shit I miss music like this.  I am loving that this is coming outta my hometown Toronto!  Besides, anyone who has a bio that reads "Flying V's and Smokin' Trees" is alright in my book!







LIME CORDIALE - Bullshit Aside

Great song and brilliant video from the Australian band!  These guys should be the real thunder from down under!







ALOHA RADIO - Holidays in California

Absolutely loving the surf/Hawaiian sounds from this band!  It's hard to stay in a bad mood while listening to this one!

September 08, 2014

The Books

Like it or not, if you are in a band, are making a movie, or are an artist hoping to make a living performing their craft, then you are running a business.  Now there is an old axiom that says "There's no business like show business" and unfortunately that is both correct and incorrect.  Most industries have their specific nuances and regulations, and show business is no different, but in the end the goal of all business is the same...  To be profitable!




Now the artist in you will fight this fact, and that's actually a good thing.  It's what makes you good.  It's why your fans will love you.  Any business person who is just trying to turn a profit and not improve society with their product are just fooling themselves.  Do you think that when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak worked those long hours in the 70s and early 80s  they did it for the money?  Hell no!  They were broke as shit!  They had a vision, much like you, and just like you they worked hard to realize that vision.  Profit is what enabled them to keep moving, keep creating, and in the end, become legends.



So if you are brave enough to realize that you are indeed a small business owner, then it's time to be smart enough to take the first step in becoming successful.  YOU NEED A BOOKKEEPER!  Unless you happened to be a trained accountant that happens to be an artist (hard to believe, but that must exist somewhere!) then quite frankly you don't have the slightest idea of what you are doing.

As a professional bookkeeper I have seen many small business owners try to do it themselves.  Usually to save money.  It's perfectly understandable too, especially for an artist making next to nothing.  If you are in a band however, you do need to keep track of your assets (instruments, the van, etc.), and your expenses (travel money, rehearsal studio fees, etc.).  This is important because once you do start earning money you will need to ensure that you are doing right by your friendly neighborhood tax collector.  You need somebody to tell you exactly where you stand financially.  So please, no matter what stage in your careers you are in, get yourself a good bookkeeper.  Typically this will be taken care of when you get a manager, or get signed by a label, but until that time you will need to be responsible for making sure this is done properly yourself.

IOC is not offering services yet, but I am a professional bookkeeper.  If you are in need, please don't hesitate to contact me at shawnfrair@powerbusiness.ca.  I give rates that suit your needs.  I am not interested in having you pay anything you cannot afford.  But even if you don't contact me, do a quick Google search of bookkeepers in your area.  You will find plenty of them willing to help you out!

I understand, you didn't start your venture to do the books.  Let a professional take care of it so you can focus on what you love!

- Shawn Frair

March 27, 2013

The Weekly Playlist

The "Weekly Playlist" is a group of songs that might not get much radio play, but they definitely should.  By adding these gems to your podcast playlist, you can't lose!


BIKE - Pink Floyd

A quick little ditty from Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  This might be founding member Sid Barret's finest work with the band.





THE CHANGELING - Phutureprimitive

Off their "Kinetic" release, this is dreamy and hardcore at the same time.  Tough to put a label on this kind of vibe.





HALO - The Cure


A happier side of the band, and it's just great!




GUNS OF BRIXTON (LIVE NYC JUNE 1981) - The Clash

Absolutely destroys the original.  Lose yourself in this gem.




MY GURU - DJ Shadow & Dan The Automator


The entire release, Bombay the Hardway, is dope and unlike anything else out there.




BEHIND CLOSED EYELIDS - Shpongle

A pioneering track that helped shape a genre, we're just not sure what that genre is!  Someone told me "Psybient".





ELECTRIC WORM - The Beastie Boys


An instrumental off their "Mix Up" release.  Sick bass-line delivers the goods!





THE SHOOTIST - Billy Elm & Woody Jackson


Modern day western shoot-out styles!  Pistols at dawn for the new millennium!





THREE STRIPES ON A CADILLAC - Otis Taylor


Blues done proper...  Dig it!





STACK-O-LEE - Samuel Jackson

Yep, that Sam Jackson, blues-man extraordinaire!  He does a few for the Black Snake Moan soundtrack, all of them killer.  It's one of the better soundtracks out there.




- Jason  

March 23, 2013

Katey Laurel - On Her Journey


In a world of saccharin it's refreshing to know that soulful artists like Katey Laurel are out there.  Unafraid to show real emotion and wear their feelings on their sleeves.


FROM HERE - 2011


Katey's 2011 outing From Here is a smooth sounding album that flows seamlessly from track to track.  Produced by Neilson Hubbard, From Here is everything that is right with the music industry.  The fact that Katey's music isn't in regular rotation on country and adult contemporary radio stations across North America is everything that is wrong with the music industry.  Here are the highlights:

BEGIN AGAIN  - The opening track is a beautiful love song about fixing all the wrongs in a relationship and giving/receiving second chances.  Begin Again has a very catchy chorus that gets caught in your head immediately and builds to a wonderful ending proclamation of "It's not too late".

FROM HERE - "There's something in the air tonight" begins the title track, a bare bones inner dialogue song that becomes as self reflective to the listener as it is to Katey.  This is just a wonderful heartfelt track.

BLUE SKY'S COMIN' - Hands down this is my favorite track on the album.  Singing about perseverance Bule Sky's Comin' is a positive outlook during hard times.  Again, a very catchy chorus pulls you in and refuses to let you go.  I played this one on a loop five straight times!

In all this is an honest feel good album rich with emotion.  A folk/country mix that is great for Sunday morning breakfast with the family, a long drive on a sunny day, or in your ear-buds at work.

After getting in contact with Katey she has gracefully allowed IOCweekly to provide our readers a free download of From Here.

I was also fortunate enough to get an interview with Katey, so without further adieu...

THE BIO

Raised by on the roads, Katey traveled much of her childhood in an old VW van.  Listening to the likes of Emmylou Harris, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, Katey grew up having a passion for music.  Mastering the French Horn as kid, Katey received a scholarship to Huntington University's music program.  Coming back home to Colorado Katey continued her pursuit of music through accoustic guitar and piano.  Winning many awards and being showcased in Windows 7 "Playlist 7" and Heineken's "Ultimate Playlist", Katey is becoming a powerhouse on the indie scene.

THE INTERVIEW

IOC - Your bio mentions that you were raised by migrant parents, can you tell me more about them?

KL - Basically, my folks were footloose hippies into the 80's. A few Volkswagen buses were home, and they taught me to love the great outdoors, folk and bluegrass music and even hummus. Yes, good times.

IOC - Besides The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Emmylou Harris, who would you consider your influences? Your bio mentions alt-rock, which bands were you into?

KL - I really loved The Wallflowers, Counting Crows and Ben Folds Five. Oh yeah, and Jars of Clay, The Newsboys and a bunch of Christian rockers of the 90's too.

IOC - What was it like working with Microsoft to be on the "Playlist 7"? Did they approach you? How did that all come to be?

KL - Honestly, that one was big thanks to Reverbnation. Since I was high on the charts for Denver as a pop artist (honestly, probably because I was one of the few who was working social networking early on in my career and joining all these sites), they contacted me and sponsored my song to be on the Playlist. Pretty cool opp for an indie, unsigned artist like myself.

IOC - I noticed that you didn't have a "merch" section to your web-site, but instead a crowd-sourcing section where fans can donate/become part of your LaurElites. Have you found this approach successful?

KL - I really only make T-shirts on a limited basis for my "true" fans who back my records, I've found that to be a more cost-efficient way to work as a self-funded artist. That way, I only fill orders once a year (or maybe two) and they're special limited edition shirts. The LaurElites Song of the Week Club was just born in November and I have a number of folks on there as a thank you for backing my last record. It's a lot of fun to send out unreleased songs and older demos to the people who most support me and my music and hear their thoughts and feedback. It's an ongoing conversation and it's kind of special for them because no one else is hearing these songs. It's special for me because I get to share them with the people who are excited to hear them AND get their impression to know if it's something worth recording in the future.

IOC - Do you still play the French Horn? (I played the trombone when I was younger, I understand how cumbersome brass instruments can be!)

KL - (laughs). No, I actually spent fifteen years trying to master the thing unsuccessfully, and then I moved into the type of music I'm creating now (different genre, same dream - movie soundtracks). I did stop into a music store a few years back to see if I still had chops and I did...have range...but I could tell it would be a painful (literally) process to rebuild my embrouchure (muscles in my face, basically) to be able to play for more than two minutes. Wow, it really was training back then, like being an athlete!

IOC - With social media, and sites like Kickstarter, do you still think it's necessary for artists to be signed by labels?

KL - I don't think labels are as necessary as they used to be and artists can definitely take on their own marketing and interaction with their listeners. The harder part is raising funding (which is what record labels provide), so crowd-sourcing is pretty crucial for independents to be able to produce quality music for their listeners. I'm glad I'm not on a label and it would have to be an amazing offer to consider signing with one. Most people don't understand that label advances are LOANS not free money. That's a big misconception in the general population AND the artist population. I really don't relish the idea of being in debt to someone over my art.

IOC - You mentioned that you want to write for movies, what is your favorite movie? Also, what is your favorite soundtrack or score to a movie?

KL - Gosh, I love a number of movies but probably my all-time favorites are The Lord of the Rings movies (fantastic score) and Moulin Rouge. Baz Luhrman is a genius, and his soundtrack of all the bizarre covers of classic rock songs is one of my favorites.

IOC - What advice would you give to somebody just starting in the music business? Is there anything you wish you had known before you got into it?

KL - My advice to someone just getting started is get all the education you can. Read everything you can get your hands on. Take online courses. There is really no education in the music business other than the school of life (some call it Hard Knocks University) so we have to prepare ourselves in any way we can. Some of my favorite courses have been Sarah Gavigan's "Get Your Music Licensed", Chris Rockett's "Music Marketing Classroom" and Cari Cole's "Step Up to the Spotlight." Be sure to read Donald Passman's book "Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business" and another one by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec titled "Music, Money and Success." These will give you nuts and bolts. Then, work harder at your creative craft than you think you have to...repetition makes you better and better. Write songs, then write more songs.

The one thing I wish I would have known before I got started was where I could go to get this valuable information. I've been doing this for over ten years and I just started taking these courses last year!! That's a lot of time spent that I could have been leveraging things differently. It does take time to learn and grow, so be patient with yourself. This is NOT an overnight success business, although it may seem like it from an outside perspective. Probably the most valuable thing I've been taught in the last year is that this is a process. They don't tell you that they're (the music business folks) watching and waiting and looking for progress and development, so stay consistent and follow up with contacts you make over the years. It may not have been the right time for you or for them when you first met, but conditions AND positions change. Hopefully this helps someone out there on their journey.

IOC - Who are you listening to now? What new artists do you like?

KL - There are so many great new artists out there right now. I really enjoyed checking out Elizaveta's new record, and my friend Cody Crump has a new album out that I'm digging. Of course, Katie Herzig continues to be one of my favorites, and she's a mover and shaker in the licensing world with her unique style and sound. Her last record "The Waking Sleep" is phenomenal.





Katey Laurel is everything true indie stands for.  Support Katey and follow her on her journey.  It will be worth it!

Katey Laurel can be found at:
Web Site - www.kateylaurel.com
Twitter - @kateylaurel
Facebook - kateylaurelmusic

Photos by Andrew & Alicia Booker



- Shawn Frair

March 15, 2013

The Strokes - All The Time

The Strokes have released their new video for 'All The Time'  Check it out!


March 13, 2013

KICK ASS 2

Here is our first look at Kick Ass 2.  Very excited about this one!!!


March 12, 2013

TRAILER TUESDAY

The trailers for March 12th.

TO THE WONDER

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
Director: Terrence Malick


I will see anything directed by Malick.  Not everything will be great, but when it is (see Badlands), it will be unforgettable.   

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
Director: Dan Scanlon


I am so happy they made this!  Monsters Inc is probably my favorite Pixar movie.  This one is probably a safe bet!

THE INTERNSHIP

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn
Director: Shawn Levy


This comment from YouTube sums up this pic but I will still see it.  Just know what you're getting into!

 CanOfMinus 12 hours ago
Two out of season salesmen take an internship at Google to learn new job skills. They are razzed by their younger coworkers and made to look the fools when walking into obvious pranks and a bunch of "Oh, no!" moments, but in the end their "old fashioned" know-how and do-or-die attitudes wins them the respect of their younger coworkers. Owen gets the girl, there's a flash forward to their new successful online business, classic rock song outro. 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Your welcome.