Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spend your New Year's Eve eve with Same Sky Radio tonight, 7:00CST

Friday, December 17, 2010

Drawn From Bees - Aussie's coming to the US next spring...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Music Business Changed - by Bob Lefsetz

Below is a reprint of a recent blog by Bob Lefsetz, music industry analyst and 25-year publisher of "The Lefsetz Letter". Bob raises some very interesting points that are relevant to our international artists as well as all of us who participate on some level with music. You can subscribe to The Lefsetz Letter at

John Mellencamp wanted a record deal. It was the only way to bust out of Indiana. He went to New York, signed a bad deal, changed his name and still didn't break through. But he got a toehold. He was in the game. To the point where he kept on making records until Pat Benatar covered "I Need A Lover", which caused FM stations to spin the original and give Mellencamp notoriety and cred. Then Mellencamp dug down deep and recorded "American Fool" and had a hit with a riff, "Hurts So Good", and an MTV staple, "Jack & Diane". "Hurts So Good" was not a breakthrough, but a perfect synthesis of what came before. But "Jack & Diane" had a heartland intimacy separate from Springsteen's New York/New Jersey tales of the Magic Rat and it resonated, John Mellencamp was a star.

He released an even better album, "Scarecrow", he regained his name, he was living the life of a rock star, which used to mean if I'm successful enough, if I generate enough money, I can do whatever I want. I can record whatever I want, give the middle finger to the label, I function in a rare air above businessmen and politicians, the public reveres me for my integrity and cash rains down. But then MTV became more about image than music and Mellencamp could no longer have a hit. And then came the Internet. MTV aired no videos, FM played classic rock staples or alternative or harder-edged rock, and Mellencamp could tour on his laurels to those who remembered when, but he could get no radio traction, he could sell no albums, he claimed the system was broken.

You've seen the news right? Wherein Mellencamp likens the Internet to an A-Bomb? ( He claims it destroyed the music business.

No, it CHANGED the music business!

Suddenly, the game Mellencamp played was history. You didn't fly to the coast for a record deal, labels weren't interested in signing anyone who hadn't already sold 10,000 records independently and/or was a pretty, malleable face willing to work with anyone and everyone, singing others' songs in order to make it. Sure, people were stealing music, but even before that, only Top Forty sold any records, and record labels were in the business of selling records.

Eventually bands with a following declined to sign with the major, why give up all those rights if you don't play Top Forty music anyway, why not be in charge of your own destiny?

And with MTV airing few videos and active music fans tuning out radio, even those who got traction had less impact and made fewer dollars.

And Mellencamp keeps recording music, which doesn't sell, despite the fact he puts his heart and soul into it. He keeps doing the same thing to less and less of a reaction, isn't that the definition of insanity? Or an indicator to take a different direction? Or change your philosophy?

But Mellencamp is not the only old wave musician decrying the Internet, Prince said it was completely dead, history. He put out his album as a newspaper cover mount. Sure, he got paid, but have you heard the music, have you even heard anybody talk about it since the hype of its release?

That's what this is all about, the inflammatory Mellencamp remarks...he's trying to get you to pay attention. And it works a bit with the old guard. Then again, you play the record once and... In the old days, radio picked a track and infected your brain, today if you don't instantly hear a track on Mellencamp's record, you're on to the next thing, because there's so much stuff. There wasn't so much stuff in Mellencamp's heyday, the system excluded it, can't we return to the days of the system, when only talented, dedicated people played and won?

Well, it's still the same, only talented, dedicated people win. But it's harder than ever to reach the ubiquity/success Mellencamp once had, if it's even possible at all. You've got to really want to be a musician, stardom may never come.

But you're in control of your own destiny, you don't have to change your name, and your music is freely available everywhere, everyone can sample it. Alas, you've got to be good enough to rise above the fray, and your only hope is that your fans spread the word.

But that's what it's all about now, you and your fans. You build a bond, with no middleman between you, and you go on a journey. Almost always slow, oftentimes very short in length. But that's the game.

And the problem isn't only that the old stars don't like the new game, but the old middlemen don't like it either. The labels hate the new game. As do radio and TV. It's chaos, there's less money to be made.

But the fans love the new game. Suddenly, it's all about the music. They're not beholden to one style, they're not limited by their pocketbook, they can discover what they like and play it as much as they want.

Put any value judgment you want on the new game, but you just can't eliminate it, the old ways are never going to come back. You can try to corral people into listening to your handpicked stuff, but this only works if there are no tune-outs and you can only keep people's attention if you're honest and trustworthy and good, like the classic rock acts of yore. This is tough when the labels hate the music and radio and TV are about commercials.

Pay no attention to the singing nitwits on TV, the faces on "American Idol", Justin Bieber...they're the last vestiges of an old era.

Suddenly, it's all about music. Make good stuff and people will find you. How many? Interesting question. But you got into it for the music, right? You like playing music, right? Because if you got into it for the money, notoriety and fame, you're fucked.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rediscovering Houston

Houston rocks!

I can't believe I said that! Growing up in the suburbs and being a fan of neither traffic nor shopping, my opinion of Houston for a very long time has been less than enthusiastic. Granted, my family almost all live there and I'm a life-long Astros fan (and still pissed about the Oilers skipping town). But I've been as guilty as any Austin hipster in my Houston-bashing over the years. Not any more. Sure there are still tons of issues there, and I'm not planning to relocate any time soon, but there are some strong signs of culture, internationalism, and pockets of coolness that are undeniable.

For the past three weeks I've been staying within a stone's throw of the Johnson Space Center on a combination family visit and work trip. I don't get to see my family often enough. Every time I do I am amazed at how smart, funny, and beautiful my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and in-laws all are. Nobody wants to listen to "that guy" go on about his adorable family, so I'll leave it at that.

The international side of Houston was the purpose of the trip. Houston is the home for 91 consulates from all over the world. They range from one-person Honorary Consul operations all the way to impressive compounds the size of major embassies. Word has it there are more consulates in Houston than in any other city outside of New York City and Washington. I was able to introduce our organization to representatives from nearly a dozen countries in a 2-week period - and even got to trot out my rusty German for a bit (Danke Herr Herrmann!).

The sheer sprawl of Houston definitely seems to impact the music scene, but there are great alternative press outlets like Free Press Houston and the Houston Press that do a good job of pulling it all together as much as possible. And there are venues stretching from Galveston to the Woodlands that feature great local and touring bands. Add in tons of great restaurants, art galleries, world-class fine arts, and friendly people - you get a city that is creating a scene worth watching.

Cheers to Houston!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Music You're Not Supposed To Hear by Christopher Livesay (NPR)

Music You're Not Supposed To Hear
by Christopher Livesay
NPR - June 30, 2010

Musicians are often made targets for censorship. Across the globe, when an artist's message or aesthetic is deemed too controversial by a country's government or society, he or she can be shunned, threatened, barred from performing or even imprisoned.

A new concert series in Brooklyn provides an innovative outlet for musicians whose voices are hushed in their home countries. The Impossible Music Sessions have staged performances of banned music at the Littlefield Performance Space in Park Slope, Brooklyn. These concerts are unusual in that the artists are not physically there -- they join the show via an internet video call, and a band or musician they have collaborated with beforehand gives their music a proper performance.

Founder Austin Dacey says the idea for the series came to him as a visual: "I had a mental picture of an empty stage, empty but for the instruments that would be played by the artists who could not be there," Dacey told Christopher Livesay of All Things Considered.

Impossible Music is sponsored by Freemuse, a non-profit NGO that works for freedom of expression as a human right. The concert series brings Freemuse's mission to life in the heart of New York City.

The first session featured an underground electronic rock band from Tehran called The Plastic Wave. The band features a female vocalist, a huge taboo in Iran, and performs "Western" secular music -- music the Islamic Republic considers an abomination. Founders Saeid Nadjafi (Natch) and Maral have been arrested twice for performing their work, under suspicion of "Satanism."

The Brooklyn band called Cruel Black Dove is playing the show for The Plastic Wave. Such is the concept for the Impossible Music Sessions: If your government won't let you play your music, a sympathetic band in the U.S. will step in. Cruel Black Dove also features a female lead singer, Shirley Ho, who says what The Plastic Wave is enduring makes her appreciate her own freedom to perform.

"That's why we're so passionate about this project, because we really wanted to bring their music out in order for them to be heard."

True Rock 'N' Roll Spirit

The Plastic Wave could be arrested for trying to sell their music, but the Iranian government has yet to take down their Myspace page or free downloads of songs from their website. Despite constant duress in their home country, The Plastic Wave's appearance in Impossible Music Sessions allowed them to momentarily defeat the Iranian censors.

"It's people like Saeid and Maral doing electronic rock music in Tehran who are really living the spirit of rock and roll -- the spirit of resistance to unjust moral authority," says organizer Austin Dacey.

The next installment of the Impossible Music Series will feature the music of Baloberos Crew, a hip-hop group from Guinea-Bissau. The group calls out specific military leaders in the West African country for murder and corruption, in "Seven Minutes of Truth."

"I rap because of the situation in the country," says NB Show, a member of the Baloberos Crew. "It wouldn't be right to be singing R & B, to be singing about love. We need to be more hardcore. We need to criticize."

Members of the group claim to have practically been kidnapped and put under arrest by Guinea-Bissau's military. As such, they have had to keep this Impossible Music performance low-profile at home. But via web cam and an online phone service they were able to collaborate with New Jersey hip-hop artist Hasan Salaam to ready their rhymes for a live, American performance.

"Yo, they workin' hard! They strugglin'! I respect struggle," says Salaam. "So it's my duty. If I were in their position, I'm pretty sure they'd do the same thing for me."

Salaam has put several weeks of hard work into translating the music of Baloberos Crew into English, but has retained some of the choruses in Portuguese. Tonight, the West African group and Salaam will perform their collaboration in front of a live audience at the Littlefield space -- all with a little help from the internet, a webcam and a video projector. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

DMI Alumni Artist Opens World Cup 2010

If you have been living under a rock for the past week or in denial about the FIFA World Cup being the most popular and celebrated sports tournament in the world, I have news for you.

1. Soccer is the real deal. Get with it.

2. It's okay to like Kobe AND Ronaldo. Really, it is.

3. You just missed THE South African rock group blow the socks off billions of people

DMI Alumni, The Parlotones helped open the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, with the likes of Shakira, Black Eyed Peas and Tinariwen. We take special interest in all of our DMI artists, past and present, so you can bet your last South African Rand that we were glued to the screen cheering them on! Although their original 8 minute set was cut down to 4 minutes due to scheduling, The Parlotones utilized every second with their latest single "Push Me to the Floor". When the crowd's cheers exploded during the set, it was clear The Parlotones are a South African favorite. Rightfully so.

Since their 2005 debut album 'Radiocontrolledrobot', The Parlotones have established themselves as one of South Africa's top selling rock bands this decade. They have platinum and gold albums, a world tour and MTV awards to their name. Plus a resume of stage sharing with artists Metallica, Violent Femmes, Kings of Leon and The Gossip.

If you weren't able to hear The Parlotones when they came through with Blue October or worse haven't heard of them (gasp!), now would be a good time to start googling as they have already broken through the UK market. And as the US always seems the last to know, The Parlotones need to be on your radar... NOW!

Big congratulations to DMI Alumni, The Parlotones! Their fantastic World Cup performance came to us as no surprise but the R. Kelly set was a different story...

Friday, May 28, 2010

We Should Be Dead - New Album, Irish Tour

News from We Should Be Dead!

So, finally we’ve got news for you! We Should Be Dead are back for the Rock And The Roll!!!
The 1st single “Up All Night” from our forthcoming album “Dreamstate” will be released on June 18th and will be available worldwide on I-tunes and all online music shops!
The album will follow on July 2nd and will be available in all music shops nationwide, aswell as worldwide on I-tunes and all online music shops. It was produced by Owen Lewis (Hole, REM, Lady Gaga etc.) Check that shit!!
To coincide with the album release, there will be a number of live Irish dates. Oh ya, by the way we’ve multiplied. There are now 5 of us, just to spice up your life!!
June 30th – Whelan’s, Dublin
July 2nd – Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick
July 8th – Roisin Dubh, Galway
July 16th – The Pavilion, Cork

Check out their Myspace page for the latest dates & info:

Also, check out a preview of the single and the video for "Forget Romance, Let's Dance" at