Archive for the ‘The Rocking Chair Blog’ Category

Top Ten – Metallica

Posted: August 5, 2015 by Maximum Mike in The Rocking Chair Blog
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jamesI’ve been thinking a lot about that age old question, that big one that keeps us up at night; will there ever be another band as big as Metallica? When I asked my friend that question, he asked me if I meant a band as famous with the crazy reputation and following or did I mean musically?
I think I mean musically. I’m still unsure because like I said, this is one of those questions that has been written about and will be written about for years to come.

The point of a Top Ten is to rank songs, to tell you which are the best and in this case, which are the best Metallica songs. In my opinion, I think it’s impossible to have a definitive ranking of anything through opinion. Your number 4 will be my 7 and you will despise my 9 and 10. The whole thing is kind of dumb. How do we truly choose the best? Each song has a different meaning to different people. Recently, Spin Magazine decided to rank every Metallica song ever which you can find right here. It’s a cool list and their top ten isn’t very surprising (except for number 5) because it feels generic. It has all the songs you would guess should be in a Metallica top ten… so what was the point? If anything, what we really got out of the whole ranking was a reminder of all the songs from 50-151. I mean the first song from before The Black Album to enter the list is #76.  There are tons of other Metallica songs which people aren’t very blown away by. That in itself is super interesting to me. They are so big but a lot of people don’t like a lot of their music. Especially Metal-heads. Oh my god is there a lot of hate for Metallica from Metal people as I’m sure you’ve heard that line “I don’t listen to anything after The Black Album. ” Metal-heads, the original hipsters.

The intro thus far is supposed to explain how my list differs from other lists around the internet and the unique perspective I’m trying to put into my Top Ten. Here’s is the thought process in connection to the “Will there be another Metallica?” question.(Here is my favorite answer to the question by someone smarter than me) If today’s Metal bands listened to Metallica and now are what they are, how can they ever be Metallica because Metallica didn’t listen to Metallica, they were influenced by other bands. Do you see what I mean, it’s a time travel paradox thing. Metallica became who it was because the right people listened to the right bands at the right time. Very few Metal-heads today listen to Southern Rock/Country and Punk and Classic Rock and Metal. Metallica did. Metallica never struck me as musical snobs, never. Upon writing that last sentence, I’m sure they have from time to time said something negative about one band or another but their covers,  their friends in other bands; Metallica loves music.

I love music too. Rock 4 Rookies has always been that festering compost heap of genres. I love Rock N Roll, always have and there is truth to the statement that Metallica rock! They Rock! They don’t metal, they rock. ROCK! When they were young, they were fast and angry and innovative and ready to fly on the wings of a Metal breeze but something changed with in them over the years. Instead of a slicing riff, we got pounding melody. Instead of drilling machines we got chrome covered in the dust of the American road. Metallica may have started out as a Metal band but it’s not where they wanted to be, they wanted to be Rock N Roll.

So with out further adu, here are my Top Ten most Rocking Metallica songs.

#10. Fade To Black (Ride The Lightning, 1984)

1984 was a young Metallica, fresh off their crazy Thrash debut of Kill Em All in 1983. They had just shocked America with speed tracks like Hit The Lights, Whiplash, and Seek and Destroy. People were blown away but Metallica’s love of Rock N Roll showed up in Fade To Black with that dark acoustic opening. Metallica were long associated with suicide and death because of this song but even deeper down, I they they wrote their first ballad because that’s just what Rock bands they loved did. (<-opinion)

#9. Hero Of The Day (Load, 1996)

Hero of The Day has one of the most beautiful intros to any Rock song. You wonder if Metallica have gone soft but Lars’ drums kick in and there is confusion, what is being done, what are Metallica going through that they write songs like this, Outlaw Torn, Mama Said, and Until It Sleeps. Some people argue that they were just capitalizing of Nothing Else Matters from the previous album, their big mainstream break through. What ever it was, Thrash was no even a glimmer in the eye of Metallica. Rock, soulful Rock was here.

#8. One (And Justice For All, 1988)

Screw you, this list doesn’t have to make sense. I’m making a list of the best Metallica songs from a Rockers perspective, and this song rocks! This anti-war ballad was Metallica’s for foray into the music video world. Amazingly, there is no one who hates this song. Some people originally hated the video but there are always some people who hate new stuff, they’re called snobs. Also, this from before The Black Album, they were still very “Thrash” but listen to that gorgeous intro, the heavy doesn’t start till 3:00 minutes into the song.  But when it does… awesome!

#7. The Memory Remains (Reload, 1997)

This is Strut Rock, a genre I invented. It can be related to any song you listen to when you want to feel sexy, while preparing for a night out with a new girl or if you’re a WWE wrestler and you want to walk with confidence to the ring. Lars’ ads a marching tempo, a soldier returned from battle showing off war wounds. The video itself lends to the attitude, the spin, the sunglasses. It’s not hard to see who Chad Kroeger tries to emulate. (Please don’t hold that against this song)

#6. Sad But True (Metallica(Black Album), 1991)

Still with long hair, no longer playing super-fast Thrash music, I would say this was the moment Metal was mainstreamed. You could argue that it was Nothing Else Matters that brought people to Metal but I’ll counter that and say Nothing Else Matters brought Metallica to the people, Sad But True brought the people to Metallica and Metal at large. Long Live Rock!

#5. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica(Black), 1991)

What is it about this song? Why is it so perfect? Is it the lyrics, the melody, his voice filled with determination? It inspires to take a stand with out saying what that stand is. It’s an anthem filling us with the need to fight against injustice of some form or another. Nothing Else Matters? What does matter in the end is that no matter what kind of music you like, you like this song.

#4. Turn The Page (Garage Inc., 1997)

“A song we wish we had written because we are the road dogs” If they had written Turn The Page it would have almost been too on the nose. I listen to this song and actually imagine it’s about Metallica, it’s how I seen them even though I know about their plane and Gucci and million and millions. I would love to know who chose which songs off the cover album Garage Inc. 

#3. All Nightmare Long (Death Magnetic, 2008)

Silly thing to point out but the guy who posted this song is Chopsuey### his picture is the RHCP logo and it’s a Metallica song. I’m going to make the empty statement that it’s because this music speaks to everyone. Death Magnetic was the last studio album by Metallica and it was meant to be a throw back to their heavier Thrash days… and it was!! It was heavy, fast and beautiful. This song is proof positive that Metallica still have what it takes. This is why I hate it when people say nothing after And Justice For All or The Black Album. Who wouldn’t wanted want to perform out this song live?

#2. Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986)

This song is pure Metal and it’s the best thing ever. In the 1980s, Metallica spent most of their time drunk or on drugs and it is by far their peak of creativity and energy. This is when they recruited the Metallica family and people would given their lives for this band. Sigh, to have been a little older when I was younger and I might have been able to see them in this highlight moment. This song is perfect.

#1. Fuel (Reload, 1997)

This song captures the essence of the perfect Rock song and has all the elements I love the most. I also know this is the main moment I pissed off the most of amount of people. (#sorrynotsorry ) I really can’t help it, this is my favorite Metallica song. I talk a lot about energy while doing The Rock 4 Rookies Podcast and this is the energy I’m talking about. It’s about chrome and steel and Hard Rock and pushing the limit and going fast for speed’s sake. This song gets me going when I am done, when I have nothing left to give, when I’m running on empty.. it gives me Fuel

 

Well, that’s my take on the best of Metallica and I know there were other songs you would have put on your list but honestly, you don’t need me to make your list, you need me to make mine. I do feel bad about missing some stuff so here are two more songs that must be mentioned.

Extra #1 – Enter Sandman (Metallica(Black Album), 1991)

This song is amazing, one of my absolute favorites and I love the audience having the opportunity to see Metallica for the first time.

Extra #2 Tuesday’s Gone (Garage Inc, 1997)

All the people in the song are amazing, and they all came together to salute Southern Rockers, Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

10 Good Questions with DFRNT

Posted: March 9, 2014 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog

1) You were born in Scotland. How did you come to be based in Riga, and what is the Electronic Music scene like?

I lived in Scotland for 29 years, and met a Latvian girl – she had been living in Scotland for some years but had decided it was time she returned to her home, so I felt it was a good opportunity to experience something new, and moved over to be here in Riga. The music scene is a little different over here. There are less parties happening, but because of that, they tend to be a bit busier. That said – Latvia i a very small country both geographically and in terms of population, so we’re probably never going to have a crazy bustling scene. It’s always likely to be smaller than big cities like London, Manchester or even, closer to us Tallinn – they have lots of bigger acts coming through.

2) How old were you when you started to create music, and what were you listening to at the time that inspired you?

I suppose technically I started making music when I was a child, at primary school – I was taking piano lessons and played brass instruments, however that stopped when I got to university. I then got in to mashups and remixes in my final year at university, but it wasn’t till a couple of years after I left that I really found a sound I could put out there, which scored me my first release. Since university I had been listening to a huge range of music – in fact, since high school I had been going to the internet cafes in town, installing Napster, and grabbing lots of music as a means to finding more – at the same time I was using my weekend job to buy stacks of CDs. I was consuming all sorts of genres, styles, old and new. That said, it wasn’t really till dubstep came along tat I felt I could consider producing some. That then led on to the other genres which I work in now.

3) What is your production method? Do you have any sort of ritual to get you into the proper mindset to create music?

I wish I did. I generally have to produce just when I feel like it. It’s not always asy – sometimes I’ll open tracks, play them once, then close them and go back to them at a later day – Sometimes when I think I’m ready to produce, it doesn’t work out – and sometimes when I think “I’ll just take 5 minutes and check a track or two” that turns in to a really productive session.

4) The sound of DFRNT flirts with many different styles of Electronic Music but always manages to dart in and out of styles with one never overwhelming the other. Do you consciously choose which style to lean on as you are producing or is it more the feel of how a track is developing?

I often have a goal in mind when I start – genre, or feeling or something like that – but it doesn’t always end up like that – it can change during the production process – and you just have to go with it – see where it takes you. I think because I listen to such a wide range of music, that comes through when I produce. I sometimes wish I could stick to one genre, but I don’t know if that would do me any favours. I’d probably get bored.

5) Your most recent album Patience is the softest and most expansive release of your career so far. Can you talk about the story the album is telling, and how it was to create?

Well it’s more of a reflection on the amount of dub-techno I was listening to. I put the tracks together with an album of this sort of stuff in mind, and it was really important to me that this was music you had to sit and really listen to – not just something you could chuck on any time for a dance or whatever. It required “Patience” hence the album title.

6) In addition to your own music you manage 2 labels, Tell us a little bit about Echodub and some of the artists you feature on that label.

Echodub was originally a little collective of people putting out music – but a few years back I switched to a regular label format, since it was alot of work trying to pull together releases from an increasingly disparate group of producer,s most of whom went on to do their own (better) thing.

I’ve only really put out a handful of releases since making that switch, because I don’t have a release schedule, and I don’t want the pressure of having to release on the label. It was home for my second album and the El Spirito EP, and I might look at doing some more physical releases in future, but so much of the music I get sent is temporary these days – it doesn’t ever feel like it has staying power, and I’d want to sign tracks that had longevity if I was to take a financial risk on a release again.

7) Cut records is a place for free music. What are the challenges of promoting a free label versus one ?

Interestingly it still costs me money to release on Cut – mastering costs, and promotional emails to a 13,000 strong email list end up costing about as much as we make from those people kind enough to donate to the releases – but it’s often touch and go, so I don’t release on Cut till I have a couple of hundred pounds to spare, so that I can put the music out there.

It’s been great since lots of blogs and people pick it up without too much hype required – I like that we have a relatively hype-free environment to release in to – it feels like people are genuinely listening.

8) Your podcast insight is a place for underground Electronic music. It seems that there is an endless stream of music out there to choose from. How do you find tracks to feature on the show?

Luckily I gt sent a lot of music from labels, and so there’s never a shortage of music to release – it can be overwhelming at times and there have been a few months where I’ve had the next 4 or 5 podcasts lined up, there was so much to showcase – but it’s just about spending time sorting through all the crap I get sent to find the stuff that I really like.

It’s nice though – having the podcast forces me to check everything I’ve been sent – it keeps me on top of all the music to a degree.

9) What is coming up for DFRNT in 2014?

I’m not really sure yet – so far I’ve just had an EP released on Amadeus records – the Flow EP, which the title track was a collaboration with a good friend Fault Lines – who is doing very well with another of his collaborations “Klient” (just signed to Trouble & Bass). I had the small EP with Stunna right at the start of the year on Cut – but so far, I’ve not got anything else lined up – I’m just making music really – if a release comes together, then I’ll look at the options – maybe an album, maybe another EP – maybe something under one of my other aliases. We’ll see.

10) Finally, your three favorite movies.

I used to be able to answer this easily – Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel – a trilogy themselves, and all revolving around the number 3. Lost in Translation was always a close fourth – but nowadays I’m less concerned with films in that way – I just like a film to entertain me. Nothing too deep. I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately – but I’m not sure I’ve really got a top 3 any more. I don’t feel like my favourite movies really define me in any way these days.

For more information:

DFRNT – http://dfrnt.co.uk/

Echodub – http://echodub.co.uk/

Cut – http://cutmusic.org/

10 Good Questions with Mystical Sun

Posted: August 22, 2012 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog

1) Who is Mystical Sun? Where are you based?

I’m based in the San Francisco Bay area in California.

2) How did you come to this style of music?

I began working in this style back in 1991 when I started making music with tape loops and analog gear. I had this vision for a type of music that was like a soundtrack and cinematic. I’ve spent all my spare time since then developing my sound to match my original vision.

3) Do you have to prepare your mind to be in a certain state when you sit down to produce music?

Yes, I mediate before I start work on music and always make sure I’m in a mentally good space when I’m working. For me this music is a type of sound yoga.

4) Do you use any samples?

Sure all the time. Most of samples are ones that I make myself. I try to invent each sound to fit the song and I strive to use sounds that sound original and fresh.

5) Do you find it is easier to create music in the morning or the evening?

Evening, actually my main time is after midnight. The quiet of the deep night helps me tune out the chaos of the daytime so I can focus on a deeper sound.

6) You have many Eastern influences in your music. How did you first get inspired by that music?

Yes, Indian Classical Music is a big inspiration. I bought a CD by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan in the early 90’s and was completely intoxicated by the music. ICM is one of the most ancient living musical traditions in the world. The focus on the drone in ICM is what draws me in.

7) What is the story behind the album 26000?

26000 is next in a series of albums I’ve planned, it’s part of a road map and there are a few more to follow. Powers of 260 have an interesting resonance, 260 is the number of days it takes for a human to develop from one cell to birth, 260 is the number of days in one of the Mayan calendars, 26000 is the number of years in the precession of the equinoxes and the Sun is ~26000 light-years from the galactic center. The name was appropriate for this moment in history on Earth.

[8)] Is there a live component to your music?

Yes, I play several stringed instruments live overdubbed on top of the carefully designed synthetic sounds and atmospheres. You will hear Guitar, Ukulele, Sitar and Sarod on 26000.

9) There is an important connection to Nature in your sounds. What natural setting inspires you the most?

Yes, I am greatly inspire by the sounds of nature, particularly birds. In fact every Mystical Sun album has had at least one track that had sampled bird sounds. To my ears birds sound like awesome synthesizers. I’m sure I will continue to use bird samples in the future as well, it’s a staple of my sound.

10) What are your plans for the next year?

I’m taking a hiatus from creating music until 2013 and focusing on mastering the Sarod and making music videos for 26000. Then in 2013 I’ll start work on the next album.

Thank you so much for your fascinating answers. I wish you all the best in the future!

For more information: www.mysticalsun.com

10 Good Questions with Disasterpeace

Posted: July 18, 2012 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog
Tags:

1) Who is Disasterpeace? Where are you based?

Disasterpeace is Rich Vreeland, and that’s me. I’m based in Berkeley, California. Just moved out here from Boston about a year ago.

2) How did you come up with the name Disasterpeace?

I like wordplay. It was a double play on masterpiece. Switching it to disasterpiece, and then respelling piece as peace. Peace and disaster are kind of at odds as ideas, and I like that.

3) You have so many diverse influences from Prog Rock, to Classical and Electronica. How did you come to the Chiptune medium?

Convenience. It didn’t take long for me to enjoy it (no time, actually), but the initial draw was that it made realizing musical ideas much easier for me. Beforehand I was trying to realize full band-style productions, and its hard when you have limited chops and limited equipment. Working with a digital sound significantly lowered my overhead. As I wrote more in that style though, I truly began to appreciate all the nuances and strengths associated with it. Chiptune is great because it puts more of the focus on the musical content, and less on getting caught in performance ability and production (though production is still important)

4) You have done solo work and work on video games is there one you enjoy more than the other?

I enjoy both. I’ve been doing a ton of video games work lately though, and I think I’d like to take some time to focus on a solo project sometime soon, finances willing. Maybe a kickstarter would do the trick. [:)]

5) When you compose your albums, do you always have a story in mind or does that develop with the music?

It depends, I’ve definitely done both. When I was writing Atebite and the Warring Nations, I always had this idea of a high-fantasy battle, something of a Tolkien ilk. Level really had no concept, except that I felt like the songs fit together. When you write for video games, there usually is a story in mind, and it’s some combination of what the game actually is or wants to be, and what your idea about it is.

6) What are your favorite 8-bit video games?

Nintendo and Game Boy were the only 8-bit systems I had. Growing up, Tecmo Super Bowl was easily my favorite NES game. I played that non-stop.

7) What is a Disasterpeace live show like?

It has definitely evolved over time. Lately, it’s been me on guitar and my friend Roger Hicks who plays drums. I put together the entire set beforehand, and its a recording without drums. Then I automate a bunch of guitar effects, so that they change on the fly and I don’t have to worry about stomping down on pedals.

[8)] Do you find that composing Chiptunes is confining or does the specificity of the medium free you to develop new techniques?

The chiptune medium is confining but it’s almost always been a good thing for me. It forces you to come up with solutions to musical problems that you might not otherwise use. Since I’ve started using Famitracker (NES tracker), it’s become even more apparent, because you’re restricted to 5 voices total. You end up writing lots of interesting musical patterns to fill those spaces, and create the illusion that there are more parts than you have voices to use.

9) Do you play any other instruments?

Guitar and Piano are the main ones.

10) What is the goal for the next year?

My goal is to finish up all my current projects, and hopefully to focus on some solo material. I’m also playing some shows this year so looking forward to those and making better preparations than I have in the past.

For more information: http://disasterpeace.com/

10 Good Questions with Disasterpeace

Posted: July 18, 2012 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog
Tags:

1) Who is Disasterpeace? Where are you based?

Disasterpeace is Rich Vreeland, and that’s me. I’m based in Berkeley, California. Just moved out here from Boston about a year ago.

2) How did you come up with the name Disasterpeace?

I like wordplay. It was a double play on masterpiece. Switching it to disasterpiece, and then respelling piece as peace. Peace and disaster are kind of at odds as ideas, and I like that.

3) You have so many diverse influences from Prog Rock, to Classical and Electronica. How did you come to the Chiptune medium?

Convenience. It didn’t take long for me to enjoy it (no time, actually), but the initial draw was that it made realizing musical ideas much easier for me. Beforehand I was trying to realize full band-style productions, and its hard when you have limited chops and limited equipment. Working with a digital sound significantly lowered my overhead. As I wrote more in that style though, I truly began to appreciate all the nuances and strengths associated with it. Chiptune is great because it puts more of the focus on the musical content, and less on getting caught in performance ability and production (though production is still important)

4) You have done solo work and work on video games is there one you enjoy more than the other?

I enjoy both. I’ve been doing a ton of video games work lately though, and I think I’d like to take some time to focus on a solo project sometime soon, finances willing. Maybe a kickstarter would do the trick. [:)]

5) When you compose your albums, do you always have a story in mind or does that develop with the music?

It depends, I’ve definitely done both. When I was writing Atebite and the Warring Nations, I always had this idea of a high-fantasy battle, something of a Tolkien ilk. Level really had no concept, except that I felt like the songs fit together. When you write for video games, there usually is a story in mind, and it’s some combination of what the game actually is or wants to be, and what your idea about it is.

6) What are your favorite 8-bit video games?

Nintendo and Game Boy were the only 8-bit systems I had. Growing up, Tecmo Super Bowl was easily my favorite NES game. I played that non-stop.

7) What is a Disasterpeace live show like?

It has definitely evolved over time. Lately, it’s been me on guitar and my friend Roger Hicks who plays drums. I put together the entire set beforehand, and its a recording without drums. Then I automate a bunch of guitar effects, so that they change on the fly and I don’t have to worry about stomping down on pedals.

8) Do you find that composing Chiptunes is confining or does the specificity of the medium free you to develop new techniques?

The chiptune medium is confining but it’s almost always been a good thing for me. It forces you to come up with solutions to musical problems that you might not otherwise use. Since I’ve started using Famitracker (NES tracker), it’s become even more apparent, because you’re restricted to 5 voices total. You end up writing lots of interesting musical patterns to fill those spaces, and create the illusion that there are more parts than you have voices to use.

9) Do you play any other instruments?

Guitar and Piano are the main ones.

10) What is the goal for the next year?

My goal is to finish up all my current projects, and hopefully to focus on some solo material. I’m also playing some shows this year so looking forward to those and making better preparations than I have in the past.

For more information: http://disasterpeace.com/

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1) What is the story of Telefuture?

Both Frank and I have been involved in a music scene that revolves around a type of music called “Chip Music” (also commonly referred to as “chiptune” or “8-bit” music) who’s sound is largely based in the 80s. We started becoming friends in 2010, going back and forth about music in general. Skip forward a couple of years to where we were talking about musicians that incorporate a broader range of 80s inspired sounds… relatively larger acts such as Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk, College, etc. I think we were both a little bit embarrassed in admitting our love for the style, since there is a bit of a stigma surrounding the idea of 80s inspired music being considered ‘nostalgic’ before anything else, but we both quickly realized that like the artists we represent, we are genuinely in love with the sounds from that decade, and aren’t using them ironically.

The name “Telefuture” came from a video hosted by Laura Weinstein which was a recording of a newscast from the 80s talking about the future of technology. I started thinking about how the people speaking in the video were so sure that these kinds of technologies would last forever. To me, the name “Telefuture” represents the idea of keeping old dreams alive, and preserving the ideas of the past.

2) Where is Telefuture based?

I’m located in the central coast of California. A smallish town halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Frank lives in New Brunswick, Canada. Physically, Telefuture is based in North America, but I think spiritually it is based either on the internet or in a different time.

4) Do you search for artists or do they come to you?

It seems to be a good mixture of both. We contacted both friends from the chip music community and reached out to additional artists for our website’s launch (Telefuture is officially only a few weeks old). Since then, we’ve received some really incredible demo submissions, and have been reaching out to people we’ve been admiring from a distance.

5) How did you come to this style of music?

Being a child of the 80s, I feel like these styles of music have somehow been encoded into my DNA. They aren’t something I’ve ever actively sought out, they’ve always just been a part of my life. For a lot of people, I think the 80s sound might currently be considered a novelty… something they hear and simply think to be a throwback to a bygone era. For me it is something grander. Something both familiar, and something that is just as relevant as any other sort of music being produced today.

I grew up in a time where bands like New Order and Tears for Fears were being played regularly on MTV. I think it piqued my curiosity in terms of what sort of music I had previously been exposed to. In the early 2000’s, I lived in Portland, OR, where I would go to basement concerts to watch bands like Glass Candy and Chromatics play what were essentially rock shows. Today these bands are commonly known for their italo-disco / synth music (some of which has been recently featured in the soundtrack for the film “Drive”). I think this is a good example of how a lot of people’s music is evolving into something that reconnects to the greatness of the past, and sheds a new light onto it.

In regards to the chip music we include on the label, it seems as though the artists are working in a similar way — where they are taking inspiration from old sounds, and making them something original and relevant in a contemporary sense. They avoid the label of “kitsch”, and instead create something that bridges the years between the past and the present. They take technology from the past to create original compositions meant to exist in the present.

6) What 80s sounds are the main influences for your artists?

As a label that presents 80s inspired electronic music, I would say that the influences are vast. After going back and forth with the artists on our roster prior to launch, I would say that it is safe to include musicians like Giorgio Moroder, Jan Hammer, Vangelis, Kitaro, Tangerine Dream, Yasunori Mitsuda, Hirokazu Tanaka, Nobuoo Uematsu, and many, many more. 80’s electronic music encompasses a massive set of musicians, and I think the list could go on forever. This is the sort of diversity that I hope to share via Telefuture.

7) Are your artists interested in producing music for video games?

Indeed our artists are interested in producing game music and a lot more. Spamtron has done game soundtracks. Plain Flavored creates his own games. Makeup and Vanity Set recently did the soundtrack for a short film called “88:88” which inspired the music for his release. Frank does game music. I don’t make music, but have been involved with making games. I would say that the Telefuture staff and roster is comprised of multi-talented people, who are very much in touch with the various sorts of media commonly associated with their respective styles of music.

8) As the music industry changes what are you doing to help distribute your artists music?

I consider myself fortunate to have been involved with most aspects of the ever-changing music industry. I’ve worked in record stores, played in bands, recorded albums, DJed for radio and in clubs. I’ve designed cover art and websites for artists and have been a part of advertising, promotion, and music distribution. I’ve written about and for bands, worked on and for various record and netlabels.

I like to think that I can bring this broad set of skills to use while maneuvering our tiny corner of the music industry — all from an independent perspective. I like to think that we can offer artists more than uploading their music to a few sites and making a post in a message board. Instead, I want to offer a set of tools to help musicians release their music into the digital world and beyond.

As a standard, we use the 1980s a touchstone in terms of our releases, offering more than a digital download, but instead unique physical releases. I feel like this practice is becoming rarer as time goes on, but is something that makes more of an impace on the listener. I’ve always considered an album’s physical format to be more significant than a digital one, and want to be a part in preserving that notion.

9) What are your plans for the next year?

To continue releasing really great music from awesome artists from around the world in unique and interesting ways. We already have quite a few releases lined up, the next of which will be available in July. Stay tuned!

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Album Review: Kill the Drive – Lady Karma

Posted: June 26, 2012 by Maximum Mike in The Rocking Chair Blog
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We can’t always wait for the big name, well known bands to come perform in our area and with the release of Kill the Drive’s new album, “Lady Karma” we no longer have to. KTD’s newest release proves that there are top notch bands out there that just need to be discovered. The band has come a long way since their 2009 release “Post Cards From Hell”. It is a lesson to stick to your guns, just because you’ve made something great and haven’t become superstars, don’t give up, your magnum opus may be just around the corner.

Unlike their 2009 release, “Lady Karma” has a much cleaner as well as a heavier sound. One can’t help but compare this band to some the of Punk Rock greats such as Bayside, Rise Against, or Green Day but instead of saying that KTD sound like them, I would be more inclined to say that they have taken everything that is great about those bands and built upon them.

The album begins not with a great single but a statement of what to expect through the album. “Losing Fight” is clearly is a great opener which immediatly sucks you in and prepares you for what is coming. Tracks 2-3 are by far the strongest tracks on the album because both “Monster in My Bed” and “Apocalypse 101” are the mosh tracks, high energy and catchy as hell.

One of the things I most enjoyed is the fact the Kill the Drive did not forget the Pop Punk roots which most bands in Israel started from. There are two tracks in particular which let us know this, “Shades of Grey” and “Wait in Line”. They are the summer pop-punk tracks we wish were still being made by other bands from our childhood.

Other tracks that stand out are the beautiful punk ballad “Fading into Nothing” and the hardcore “Violence”. The last track that most needs recognition is the song “Anybody Listening” which awaits us at almost the end of the album. I believe it was unfairly stashed there because in most likelihood, there could only be one opening track to the album and I’m not unsure this shouldn’t have been it. Track 11 is reminiscent of what The Offspring wish they could still be putting out today.


With Eyal Reiner’s haunting punk voice and a special shout out to Gideon Berger’s perfectly timed drums, Kill The Drive’s “Lady Karma” is exactly where Punk Rock needs to be.

The album can be purchased here.

I have been thinking a lot about metal lately. And not just in the “OMG Tony Kakko is so hot (loud shriek followed by giggle)!” kind of way, but in a more academic way. Ask most musicologists or “serious” musicians and they will scoff at the thought of metal being important. My university, for example, has a huge music department. They teach instruments I have never heard of. They have classes in every minute subgenera known to man, but heavy metal is no where in sight. I am not sure what makes dancehall more significant in their minds than metal, but time and time again metal is marginalized by the serious music community.

I don’t care to get into a long discussion about why people’s excuses for writing-off metal suck. That is another discussion altogether and one that I am personally bored of. In actual fact I don’t really want to talk about metal in terms of music, but rather in terms of a cultural movement. That is not to say that the music itself is not significant. It is. On a personal level metal is the soundtrack to my life (with the occasional foray into other stuff, I mean nothing can replace Shakira when you want to get in some good hip shimmies). Plus the music is central to the Heavy Metal culture. Yet, music is just sound waves after all and its importance lies not so much in what we hear but what we get from it.

According to sociologist Deena Weinstein metal has persisted longer than most genres of rock music because of the growth of the metal community and its “subculture of alienation.” While I do agree that metal has bread a somewhat exclusive community, I would argue that of all musical fringe genres metal is probably the least exclusionary and it is for that reason that it has persisted longer than most genres of rock. metal-heads are defined by their interaction with the music and music scene. While fashion and specific personas have a roll in the metal community they are not as central as they are in the punk, hip-hop or goth communities. With metal as long as you show you are truly devoted to the music you are legit. The trends that come along with the music are ever-changing and honestly not that significant. Outsiders often associate specific characteristics with metal-heads but anyone who has ever been to a metal concert can vouch for the fact that these stereotypes are largely untrue. At every metal concert I have been to the typical wardrobe of the audience is jeans (and not ripped ones) and a T-shirt. Run into one of these people on the street and you would probably never guess what music was pulsating through their iPod earbuds. Waiting in line outside the concert venue people are laid back, friendly and happy to discuss the band’s newest single, upcoming concerts and other music news. It is only when the lights go down, the band comes out and the music starts playing that people’s inner metal-head surfaces.

Metal is an extremely energetic, empowering genre. Despite all the doom and gloom associated with it, it truly does make people happy. In talking about heavy metal in his book “Fargo Rock City” Chuck Klosterman says, “since the mood of the music tends to be more persuasive than the actual lyrics- and since the words to most rock songs are almost impossible to understand- kids are forced to interpret heavy metal any way they can.” Later on in the book he says, “what music “means” is almost completely dependent on the people who sell it and on the people who buy it, not on the people who make it.” While many people, the musicians especially, would call his theory crazy, I think it is completely true. In 1968 French literary critic Roland Barthes wrote an essay entitled “Death of the Author.” His argument is that literature (and this can be applied to all art) has many different layers and interpretations. The author’s interpretation is just one idea and it is no more correct than anyone else’s interpretation. Barthes ideas are by no means radical. The Yale School of deconstructionist critics have similar views towards literature. If this is so, and I believe it is, on a large scale metal is of no more or less importance than any other cultural form. To an individual though, metal can be the world. As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

At five feet tall, with blond hair and an insatiable appetite for accessorizing I look like the last person one would expect to be a Metalhead. Yet, when you look through my iPod it tells a very different story. People often see a disconnect between my musical preferences and me. The thing is, the disconnect does not lie between me and my 14.60 G of music, but rather between reality and perception.

People hear metal and they automatically think death and blackness and yelling and evil. Admittedly, that is what a lot of heavy metal is. Black metal bands prefer screaming to singing and death metal bands enjoy morbidly themed lyrics. Fortunately the reality is, a lot of metal is so much more.

Gothic metal and melodic death metal for example, tend to have soft, melodic vocals and hauntingly beautiful lyrics. Bands such as Within Temptation and Lunatica sing emotional ballads of enchantment, love and tragedy.

Power metal has clean vocals, fast guitar solos, brilliant keyboardists and is so much fun. Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica gets audience members at his concerts to belt out various animal noises during his onstage renditions of “Old MacDonald had a Farm.” The band Battlelore’s songs have a single consistent theme: The Lord of the Rings. And when discussing power metal it is impossible to skip over Helloween and their wacky track “Heavy Metal Hamsters.”

Metal is also known for having some really obscure sub-genres. For a Genre of music so intent on not subscribing to labels, some bands sure know how to pigeonhole themselves. There is Viking metal, troll metal and folk metal. These odd categories can usually be fit into some of the more classic subgenres of metal, but when a band seems content to describe themselves as “True Scottish Pirate Metal,” why take that away from them?

Some of the greatest metal bands borrow sounds from completely unrelated genres. Nightwish’s original singer was a trained opera vocalist. Many fans thought the blend of opera and power metal where what defined the band. They were furious when Nightwish gave Tarja the axe. Finntroll mixes black metal with Finnish polka, called the humppa. And no, they don’t sing in Finnish. Apparently Swedish sounds more trollish… One of my new favorite bands, The Diablo Swing Orchestra mixes progressive metal with swing music. Israeli band Karma Noir blends gothic metal with opera, rap core, electronic and Oriental music.

What I am trying to say is, labels are for grocery stores, not for music. Metal is an extremely diverse genre, so diverse that some of my anti-metal friends have been known to admit to liking songs playing in my car without ever expecting to hear that those songs are actually metal. Before writing off this powerful and eclectic mix of artists, try listening to some of them. You may be surprised with the results.

The first thing I wondered when I got my hand on a copy of “Chinese Democracy”, the new album by Guns N Roses, seventeen years in the making was: Are there still any GNR fans left? Undoubtedly there are but come on, were people really counting each day of the last seventeen years in eager anticipation of the new album? More and more, the endless hype seems to be an invention of a media starved for the resurrection of GNR who are true Rock heroes. We see this happen more and more when a band who was well known, decides to put out an album after some time. Usually it is heralded as a great comeback. Look at AC/DC with “Black Ice” or a few years ago with Jane’s Addiction’s triumphant return with “Strays”. The funniest aspect of the comeback is when it comes after the band suffers a tumultuous breakup. What we learn from those reconciliations is that as much as the band hates one another there is one thing that they are willing to set their animosity aside for, money.
With “Chinese Democracy” Axel Rose presents the hopefully triumphant return of GNR. Considering the fact that Rose is the only founding member left, this is much more a one man show than its predecessor, 1991’s “Use Your Illusion I and II”. Something interesting to note; when those albums came out in 91, much of the music industries core demographic today were not even born. All they know about GNR they learned on VH1 and VH1 Classic. So the album was released to a world and industry that has largely passed GNR by.
What I always liked about the band back in their heyday was that they truly lived the Rock life of excess. They played with reckless abandon, and lived that way. Their career path was notoriously chaotic, full of drugs and sex. It got to the point where the band was being overshadowed by its own image which made the music irrelevant. The dual release of “Use Your Illusion I and II” showed that the band still had the skill but by that point it was pretty much all the Axel Rose show. All of the excess had been channeled into the music and it was a successful record, but one that ended up tearing the band apart.
Enter Axel Rose seventeen years later to give us the next installment in the saga of the band. On the first listen, the album is not bad. It lacks the energy and immediacy that previous releases had, but it shows Rose on the same path he set for himself all those years ago. There are no epics like “November Rain” here, but the production is top notch. I would hope that after seventeen years of tinkering, the album would be tight. It is and perhaps in some way that is the problem.
Though the album shows Axel’s age and sounds dated, it is kind of nice to hear some legitimate guitar solos in the music. The art of the solo is something that is lacking in the soulless age of Rock that we live in. It also has hints of orchestra hiding behind many of the songs, another aspect lost in an era where many bands employ DJs to provide a similar background.
What is perhaps the most interesting fact about the album is that while the reviews have been steady and largely positive, the album is not moving well. I did a quick search of several media outlets and found that the two worst reviews given to the album were from Pitchfork Media (an indie publication) and PopMatters (you can guess what their focus is). In other words, what we are seeing here is the party lines being drawn across the industry. Now more than ever softer music is king ala the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, and the eagerly anticipated (not by me of course) return of Britney Spears. This album is far too heavy for those people. On the other side of the spectrum the album is not heavy enough for true Metal Heads. Then there are the Punks, this album is far too bombastic for them. So what we have is a band trying to reestablish itself in an industry where all the rules have changed.
I realize that I have written very little about the music itself, but I find the social and cultural aspects of this release far more interesting. Let me put it this way. If you are already a fan of the band you will like it. If not, you won’t listen to it. I find it hard to believe that this album will find its way into a new audience rather than strengthen the love of the existing one.