A Country a Week: Russia

Although Russia is one of the most promising countries for the music industry and economists alike, not much can be written about their music industry. In past years, most notably the 70’s and 80’s Russian musicians were known to use homemade amplifiers and guitars made out of different materials found around the house. This drastically changed as the iron curtain was removed and more recently, when Putin was put into power. Now, with increased access to online stores, musicians have a broader access to the musical supplies they crave. This has influenced Russian music to an enormous degree and now most artists are relying on mixers and loops to help them form one man bands. The biggest debate now is whether this is helping or hurting the creativity and soul in music.

Another brief issue in Russia is the rampant piracy of music. On August 1, 2013, Russian government enacted an anti-piracy law that allowed copyright owners to petition to shut down infringing websites. Many people were in favor of this bill, but some people questioned whether the wording was too broad. They feared that many sites would be shut down that simply linked to infringing websites. So far, very few websites have not conceded to removing the infringing content, and only “three out of fifty-six applications have led to blocking a website.

Vkontakte, a Russian version of Facebook, has begun to remove some of its user posted content due to this new legislation. For years this site has hosted a file sharing feature for users that has infamously been used as a means for users to share music illegally. They have begun policing this use more closely. In a recent court case against Soyuz, a Russian label, Vkontakte was found to be not responsible for its users content. The court ruled that it wasn’t possible for Vkontakte to police all of its users and remove infringing material. Vkontakte is however, attempting to create a legal and legitimate way for users to access music on their site. They are possibly looking to partner with an existing streaming or downloading company in order to move forward and away from potential further litigation. We have only to wait.

ITunes was introduced into Russia in 2012 and already accounts for a third of all online music sales.  This is a promising figure and shows that there is a potential for a legitimate market for music in Russia. How the labels will choose to harness this behemoth of a country, we have yet to see.

The number one song in Russia this week.

ROCK LABEL OF THE WEEK: Dine Alone Records

Dine Alone Records

Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.

  • Name Of Label: Dine Alone Records
  • Founded: 2005.
  • Location: Toronto, Canada.
  • Label Type: Independent.
  • Distributors: Fontana North
  • Genre of Focus: Everything from Indie Rock-Hardcore.
  • Current Roster: At The Drive-In, City And Colour, Jimmy Eat World, Kate Nash, The Jezabels, The Lumineers, We Are Scientists, Yukon Blonde.
  • Inactive Roster: Alexisonfire, Attack In Black, Children Collide, Hot Hot Heat, Deer Tick, Johnny Truant, Songs From A Room, The End.
  • Website: http://www.dinealonerecords.com

Dine Alone Records all began with Joel Carriere in 2005. Carriere, one of the more ambitious dudes in the industry, was managing Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire under Bedlam Music Management when the realization hit that the management company could also take care of label duties. Dallas Green (City and Colour, formerly of Alexisonfire) was looking to release some of his solo work, and Carriere took initiative, creating Dine Alone Records and releasing cd’s. The first release would be Dallas Green’s album Sometimes with the moniker City And Colour.

The fact of the matter: Carriere is a man of music. Having been a child in the hardcore music scene, he knew at an early age he wanted to work in music. Before Bedlam Music Management, he worked for PolyGram, and after leaving there founded Bedlam Society, a website dedicated to music exposure in Canada. This is where he would meet lots of bands, including Alexisonfire (arguably one of their biggest successes on the label). Alexisonfire would go on to release 5 successful studio albums before their separation in 2011, leaving their legacy on the label. Alexisonfire (and Dallas Green) would give Bedlam Music the push into the creation of Dine Alone Records.



Because Bedlam Music Management was already established at the inception of Dine Alone Records, Carriere was able to utilize his contacts to build his roster for the label. Bands that were already signed to Bedlam Music Society were being signed to the new label, giving Dine Alone creative and financial control over the artists (this also meant less interference with other labels). But when it comes to A&R, Carriere explains what’s important when signing a band:

“On the label side, it’s obviously all about the music and that’s something my employees have to love. There have definitely been times where not all of them are feeling a certain artist, and I don’t think it would be fair for me to sign a band that I just love. If they don’t like the bands they work with on a day-to-day basis, then it will seem like I’m putting them into that major label kind of world. I don’t want them to have to work on stuff they don’t like, at least not at this point.” [Blare Magazine Interview]

However, Carriere makes a point to acknowledge that you cannot sign everyone you like:

“There’s always that art-versus-commerce thing you have to play with and being such a big music fan it’s tough. I sign everything because I’m a huge fan of it, I can’t sign everything I’d like to sign because I’d go bankrupt.” [City News Interview] 

Dine Alone has gone on to sign some big, yet diverse, acts. While Alexisonfire was a strictly hardcore act, Dine Alone also signed Jimmy Eat World under the same merit (considered to be more on the rock/alt rock genre). Then there are the super successes, like the Lumineers, who are signed to the label. The folk group has released one self-titled album, which has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and two Billboard awards. Their single, “Ho Hey” would reach platinum in the United States, and is featured in numerous television series.


The Lumineers.

With the success of Dine Alone, Carriere created a new label this year called New Damage Records (named after a song by Soundgarden). The new label focuses on music in the hardcore/metal realm, with their roster boasting the likes of Architects, Cunter, Hawk Eyes, and Misery Signals. Due to this roster and Carriere’s legacy, the label has gotten the attention of others in the industry, and the outlook for the future of the label is positive. In a statement about the inception of New Damage, Carriere shares his positive outlook:

“Come watch us succeed or fail at building a new brand from the ground up. One thing is we are going to have a ton of fun doing it.” [Sonic More Music] 


New Damage Records Logo.

Further, what better venture to get into than food? Dine Alone Records has gone on to create a food line too, called Dine Alone Foods. Run by Carriere and Jordan Hastings from Alexisonfire, the food line is made up of sauces, from hot sauce to BBQ. In conjunction with the food line, Dine Alone Records created a game titled Dine Alone Iphone Game in which you fatten up your avatar in order to get access to downloads from City and Colour and Yukon Blonde. On why the conjunction seemed right, as explained by John Higney:

“MuchMusic, MTV, they realized 20 years ago that what they’re involved in is lifestyle marketing, So many people that are into indie music are into food. It becomes one of these ancillary lifestyle things that go along with indie music—like craft beers.” [Canada Interview]


Dine Alone Iphone Game.

In all, the ventures all add up, and Dine Alone Records has blossomed into one of the youngest success stories in the record label industry. Carriere has his head on straight, and in an end to the article (and my time in artist management class!) Carriere explains the recipe for success:

“I think every company has a different recipe that works for them. Our recipe has always to learn from our mistakes and grow as a company each year. We started with one artist and two staff members and did a great job and continued to develop from there. Every time we saw an honest opportunity to further our collective careers, we went for it. I think we are pretty fearless, ethical and honest. We are a group of people who are massive music nerds and get to live out our dream job, but we’re also aware of the business side of it all – making sure we notice which musicians are actually focused on music and are willing to put their head down, hustle and work really hard. Not taking any of this for granted is very key. The quick ego inflation in this industry is something we see and we don’t want to be a part of. Some bands or peers like how we roll and some don’t.” [Blare Magazine Interview]



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JUKEBUS SESSIONS: Micro-Indie Concerts On The Road

Jukebus is an innovative project that consists of micro concerts performed by independent bands and singers inside public buses during a normal trip for the duration of one song. The concept is to change the conditions of the common users bringing them a unique and up-close, musical experience.  Furthermore, the concerts have an added value, which is the element of surprise. The concerts are not announced although social network followers may have some clues about them.

Valencia is the city with more musicians per capita within the Iberian Peninsula. It has several music conservatories and houses the prestigious Berklee College of Music within the City of Arts and Sciences. The blend of local regional music like flamenco and international genres such as classical, jazz, pop and rock produces a unique music environment.

The funders and producers of this project, Ricardo Boluda and Johnny Kutnowki were inspired by the “Black Cab” sessions in London, and “A Trolley Show” in San Diego. In the city of Valencia, this project is supported by the EMT (municipal transportation company) and bandness.com, which is an emerging online music platform. These combined efforts try to achieve two objectives: to help promote new artists and involve this beautiful city as a co-protagonist of a ride.

The concept is pretty simple. At any bus stop a group of musicians get on the bus followed by the crewmembers with video cameras. This is also remarkable because all the concerts are recorded and streamed on line through jukebus tv channel. It has created an interactive connection between users, fans, and social media followers who can relive, comment and like any concert. Take a look at this video “The lake song”-short version- by Red Buffalo, a Valencian indie-folk band:

These micro-concerts are mainly created for young people and therefore social media plays a very important role in its success. Bandness.com, the online platform supporter of Jukebus, was created by Quique Belenguer in order to promote indie bands and establish a better way to relate with music fans. Presently it has more than 1,000 bands in its catalogue. Jukebus is the company in charge of developing the social media, recording, and streaming of the micro concerts. Click the links and keep in touch by Facebook, Twitter, youtube/jukebustv.

The other main partner of the project is EMT.  Its goal is to enforce a fresh-young-dynamic image within the population related with the service it provides. But there is also a social objective; to promote new music taking advantage of the big number of musicians in the city.  Alberto Mendoza, EMT’s CEO, expressed the following during the project’s kick off:

“The bands selected will perform only original compositions in order to please all bus users.”

I think this is a great idea and huge opportunity to bring out new bands and performers. The music industry is changing everyday and it is becoming more difficult to be signed by a record label. New music needs and deserves to be heard. It feels so good to watch entities not related with music such as EMT collaborating with media companies in order to help indie artist and promote their music. Well done!

Meet:: Lydia Paek



2NE1-Ugly (written by Lydia Paek, over 19million views)

Singer, Songwriter, dancer, choreographer, she does everything. Her name is Lydia Paek. I am currently obsessed with her. 24 years old Lydia is a Korean American from Los Angeles. She is the only female member from the Quest Crew, season 3 winning team from America Best Dance Crew, though she participated as a member of Boxcuttuhz for the 3rd season of ABDC.  She has been dancing since the age of fifteen, got into breaking, joined the team, and is one of the founding members of the Quest Crew.



Quest Crew @ The Beat Down 2013

Boxcuttuhz Compilation

Lydia wrote songs for one of the most popular KPOP Girl groups, 2NE1, I love You, Ugly, etc. She had mentioned that she is not signed as an artist to anywhere, though she is hired just as a songwriter at YG entertainment. Lydia is working on her own mixtape currently. She is a big fan of Stevie Wonder, Jazmine Sullivan, Jamie Foxx, Prince, and list goes on. Her crew members describe Lydia as a very independent and confident girl. Right now, like I said before, I’m obsessed with this talent bundle. She has a great voice, knows how to write songs, fashionable, and on top of that, she can dance. All the fans she has are waiting for her music to be out and I would be one of them. 

Lydia Paek-Unthinkable Cover (Alicia Keys ft. Drake)

I am an independent type of person – one to strive for things. I want to accomplish so much in life and share it with people I love. I have been dancing for about 4 years, since I was 15 years old. A matter of fact, I was more of a dancer than a singer first. I really started getting into singing when I was in high school. I wish I had vocal lessons but never had the money to do so. I have achieved so much in life already and continue to do so. All I have to say is that, if you enjoy something – strive for it. Nothing is impossible. Just do it. See where it gets you, and keep trying. –Lydia Paek

Check out Lydia on twitter and Youtube!
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/JUUKKES 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelyddz

Lydia Paek FT. Tablo-Suit and Tie Cover (Justin Timberlake)

Lydia Paek & Crush-Pusher Love Girl (Justin Timberlake)

Artist Match Up of the Week: Dylan Owen vs. ill.GATES

This week we have to completely different artists with different styles and positioning in the industry.   On one hand we have newcomer Dylan Owen and on the other the accomplished electronic musician ill.Gates.

First Up…

Name: Dylan Owen

Sounds Like:  Asher Roth, Macklemore

Label: Unsigned



Dylan Owen

Dylan is an independent songwriter/rapper/hip-hop artist based out of New York. His emotional and storytelling style has gained him much attention in the underground music world.  Dylan began his rap journey in New York as a student  in college, he began to participate in rap battles with people around the city.  He was  stereotypically classified a so-called  “white rapper” from NY but with all stereotypes aside after watching and hearing some of his content I was pleasantly surprised.  His style is more emotionally driven rather than focusing on partying, dissing, etc.

Check out his Keep Your Friends Close EP below.  Listen to ; Keep Your Friends Close, Ghost, and In The Corner

   “In June 2012, Billboard.com placed Dylan on the top 15 artist chart as the industry’s predicted “Next Big Sound.” He has traveled from his home base on the east coast to Los Angeles, Colorado, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Washington DC, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, NYC, and many other places to perform. Opening for acts including Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, Chiddy Bang, Mac Lethal, Grieves, Asher Roth, Elliott Yamin and other popular new-age hip-hop stars has earned Dylan a strong following in support of his unforgettable dramatic live set.”

Video for In The Corner:

Check out one of his freestyles  below, it takes while for him to warm up but give him a chance.

Next Up…

Name: ill.GATES

Label: Multi Music

Sounds Like: Bassnectar and  Mimosa





  ill.Gates is a Toronto-based composer, performer and educator. In the last 16 years, he has established a global fanbase and a solid reputation as a dynamic electronic music artists.  He  tours across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Gates has headlined festivals like  Burning Man, Shambala, the World Electronic Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.  His upcoming triple album The ill.Methodology and accompanying online course are highly anticipated. Check out some of his music below.

“While on tour, Gates  teaches workshops, in which he shares his highly effective approach to producing quality finished music as well as insights into the mentality and strategies necessary to succeed in the music business.”

Check out one of his interviews where he discusses his influences, sound, gear, and much more.


So who would I sign,  not taking into account the artists stature in the industry I would have to go with Dylan Owen.  ill.Gates definitely has a specific audience that he plays to but if i was listening to them for the first time I am more compelled by Owen’s work.

What do you all think?  Who would you sign?



Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.

  • Name Of Label: Epitaph Records
  • Founded: 1980
  • Location: Hollywood, CA.
  • Label Type: Independent
  • Distributors: RED, ADA, PIAS, Fontana
  • Genre of Focus: Pop Punk/Punk/Hardcore
  • Current Roster: Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion, Every Time I Die, I Set My Friends On Fire, letlive. Parkway Drive, Social Distortion, Weezer.
  • Inactive Roster: Alesana, The Distillers, Escape The Fate, From First To Last, Matchbook Romance, NOFX, The Offspring, The Sound Of Animals Fighting.
  • Website: http://www.epitaph.com/

Epitaph Record’s beginnings were as rock-and-roll as they get: with a band and the desire to distribute. The label was founded in 1980 by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz with the intention of pressing/selling Bad Religion albums. The first album released on Epitaph Records was a self titled EP from Bad Religion, followed by their debut LP How Could Hell Be Any Worse? The Vandals would get signed to Epitaph as the first band on the label other than Bad Religion, and after the release of a couple more albums, the label would take a hiatus from production along with Bad Religion (due to Gurewitz drug addiction.)

In 1987, both Bad Religion and Epitaph were back in full swing. Next year, Bad Religion would release their highly successful album Suffer, and in 1989 NOFX would be signed to Epitaph.  When the 90’s came around, Epitaph had gone on to sign Pennywise, The Offspring, Rancid, Total Chaos, etc. In 1994, the label would explode into success, with releases of NOFX’s album Punk In Drublic, Rancid’s album Let’s Go!, and The Offspring’s Smash (Smash would end up being one of the most successful independent albums of all time, being 6x certified platinum). Gurewitz describes the moment of realized success for Epitaph after the production of Smash:

“One night I was driving home and didn’t want to go in the house because I didn’t want to stop listening to [the Smash mixes]. I started circling the block listening to the record over and over on ten in my old Volvo station wagon. My wife greeted me at the door, and I said, “Honey, we’re gonna be rich.”” [Oral History Of Epitaph]


The Offspring’s Smash Cover Art.

Through the successes of Epitaph, Gurewitz would make the decision to leave Bad Religion to focus on the label (he would later return to the band in 2001). In 1998, Epitaph created a sister label, ANTI-, that looked to diversify past punk rock. However, the creation of ANTI- would begin to change the face of Epitaph itself. Gurewitz looks back on signing ANTI-‘s first artist, Tom Waits:

“A turning point for Epitaph is when I began talking to Tom Waits. I knew that I didn’t want the label to only be for punk rock. I listened to more than punk rock, and more and more, I had wanted to diversify the sound of the label, particularly if the label was going to continue to work. That was a major milestone. A label that started as a punk-rock label in a garage had the audacity to sit down with Tom Waits. He’s the Bob Dylan of my generation.” [Washington Post]


Tom Waits.

While Wait’s would sign to ANTI-, the inception of varying genres of rock began to infiltrate Epitaph (this would be key to the continued success of the label as punk rock decreased in mainstream popularity). Epitaph would later connect with Fat Possum (blues label), Burning Heart (Swedish grarage rock label), and Hellcat Records (partnership between Gurewitz and Tim Armstrong of Rancid that focuses on ska, punk, and hardcore music). All these ventures with other companies, and expanding the Epitaph roster, ultimately made the label more versatile.

As the years have gone on, some of the major bands Epitaph would sign would include Story Of The Year, Escape The Fate, Matchbook Romance, Vanna, and Thursday, to name a few. This detraction from the punk image Epitaph used to purely embody has upset many punk fans, especially when the label shares its roster with “emo” bands. To this, Gurewitz says:

“Whatever. They can start their own label.” [Washington Post] 


Every Time I Die Performance.

Success is the willingness to expand and adapt, and Epitaph is still relevant in the industry because of this. Today, the company has gone worldwide, with offices in Amsterdam, Toronto, and Australia, and the company boasts a group of 50+ employees. While maintaining a “major” indie label status, the brand Epitaph developed still screams rebellion. Throughout the growth of his career and the growth of Epitaph, Gurewitz always stays true to advice his father gave him while he was starting out:

“He told me that the most important thing is honesty and integrity, and having character in your business relationships. If you do that and have a good reputation, no money can ever buy that, and it sticks with you forever. I’m not going to say I haven’t done some shitty things in my life, but I’ve always been a clean-dealing businessman between my customers, my competitors and my recording artists.” [Billboard]


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A Country a Week: Brazil

Brazil is an emerging market in the music industry and one that holds much promise. It is essentially made up of two separate markets; one, the growing middle class and more affluent citizens who still purchase music and CDs from the Big Four, and two, the poorer citizens who are adapting the market to fit their needs and budgets.

Tecnobrega is a form of music that originated in the city of Belem in Brazil. Translated, it means “tacky” or “cheesy” music. It’s catching on wildly in Brazil among the poorer classes. The idea behind it is that, with little capital a person can record a cd over previously made beats or popular songs. They then make several hundred copies of the CDs and distribute them to local street vendors. The street vendors then sell them for $2. The CDs often contain hundreds of songs. When songs become popular they are played by DJs at all-night, outside parties with epic sound systems. The hope is that the song will become so popular that the creator will be able to put together a band and perform their songs live. This is where the money is made. A performer can make $1200 a night off a cut of the door and can perform twelve nights in a month. That’s $14,400 a month, a huge income for a country housing about 51.6 million people below the poverty line.

This industry of tecnobrega is quite an innovative one. Artists expect no royalties from their records and have little regards for the copyrights of others’ songs that are used to make their tracks. In return, they see a huge amount of easy distribution with little to no cost to them. They’ve given up the thought of making money off of a physical product and have turned instead to the live presentation and experiential music.

On the other hand, we have the Big Four record companies (Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, EMI Group and Warner Music Group) are still attempting to dominate the future of Brazilian music. They are having little success. There has been recent outrage that Brazil is not adequately protecting foreign copyrights. As a member of the WIPO, Brazil needs to have certain laws in place as well as a system of enforcing them. Brazilian Government is currently revising the laws to better clarify some licensing aspects and allow for fair use. It will also make it legal for a person who purchased an album to transfer it to their iPod.

While Brazil is making steps in the right direction, it is still seeing difficulties in enforcing these laws. The Big Four have been very vocal about their loss of rights in the Brazilian market, but in all fairness, their not really playing the game.

The Big Four only release 40 albums each year of Brazilian artists. With 198.7 million people, that’s not a very accurate or large representation. Secondly, CDs continue to be priced between $13 and $18 which is well beyond the means of most people living in Brazil. So why would pirates not take advantage of this gap in the market? It seems quite easy to blame all your problems and losses on someone else.

The number one song in Brazil this week.

A Country a Week: Japan

In France I looked at a music industry based on protecting local art and music and ensuring that the French culture is preserved for years to come. The Japanese music industry is doing this flawlessly, without government assistance. According to the RIAJ(Recording Industry Association of Japan),  84% of recorded music is domestic and only 16% is international. The amount of domestic music that is recorded and consumed is growing every year.

There is a strong relationship between youth and music in Japan, as can be seen in many other countries. But in Japan, this relationship is much stronger and much more broad. Most young teens harbor fantasies of becoming rockstars and practice long and hard to fulfill those dreams. Music and instrument stores are abundant in most cities and you can see millions of indie band videos on Youtube of young, practicing musicians. These dreams fade as these teens enter college and then the workforce, but many move to Tokyo to play in nightclubs and pursue their dreams.

A record deal is much different in Japan and is often not negotiated at all. If you are signed by a major label, you become an employee and receive a salary. This is a standardized system that occurs in all of Japan in order to support musicians and make life in general, run more smoothly. The price of CDs and DVDs is also standardized.

Japan’s music industry has risen from second place this year to become first in the world. One of the reasons for this is that most companies agree to price fixing and offer CDs and DVDs for one agreed upon price. CDs therefore, are much more expensive in Japan than in other parts of the world. An album sells for about $30. Although, people may not be buying more, they are spending more.

The most important aspect of Japan’s music industry, and the main reason for it’s elusive “Number 1” status is a  phenomenon known as J-Pop. J-Pop is short for Japanese Popular Music and it has been an ongoing obsession for the Japanese public for years. Young, bubblegum stars, mostly girls in groups of 10-15 sing bright-eyed pop songs dressed in colorful outfits. The line-up for these groups is constantly changing mostly based on demand. Fans can vote for their favorite girl or for the next lead singer on a single. They are encouraged to come to live shows, buy photos of the girls, and come to “handshake sessions” where they can meet their favorite singer.

It seems like the regular American music industry, but it has a significant twist. Fans are embroiled in the lives of the stars. They follow their favorite girl closely. And the key is album sales. In order to gain a vote, you must buy an album. Fans often buy a hundred albums in order to vote for their favorite girl a hundred times. Albums are also tickets to the “handshake sessions.” Some fans purchase 10 or 15 of the same exact album, in order to go through the line 10 times. Not only this, but the producers often release three or four versions of a single album with different music videos or photo booklets in order to promote purchasing.

This fandom universe may change and evolve in the coming years to include digital growth, but Japan is continuing to see a slump in digital sales and revenues. The next foreseeable move for the Japanese music industry is to expand and export the Japanese music that is so prevalent there. They have seen some expansion in South Korea and other Asian countries but their goal is to create a worldwide fan base.

The number one song in Japan this week.

One Hit Wonders – Video Killed the Radio Star

Great Britain, 1979, the punk wave has practically subsided, new wave and synth pop are the current fashions. However, with the first affordable electronic devices the music is going through radical transformations. At the forefront of all this – the Buggles, a British one-hit-wonder-project that with their catchy song “Video Killed The Radio Star” triggered the new age of music. It appeared on their debut album, “The Age of Plastic”.

In bright and colorful neon aesthetics and Mickey Mouse like vocals, “Video Killed The Radio Star” didn’t only predict the future of music, but likewise melancholically bemoans the 1950s. This summoning of the great days of radio sounds a bit naive, because even back then pop music has been recorded with casted Teen Stars – including thoughtfully tailored mass productions and clever marketing concepts. Anyway, the title was the most successful of the Buggles, reaching number one in over eight countries. Among them were Austria, Great Britain and Switzerland. In Germany Video Killed the Radio Star reached number 2 and number 40 on the in the U.S. Billboard Charts.  In the UK and in France the track could even reach platinum status.


That the Buggles themselves were only short-time Stars is one of those ironic stories of modern pop history. In the year 1980 Trevor Horn (vocals, bass guitar, guitar) and Geoff Downes (keyboards, synthesizers, electric piano) were recording their second album in a studio close to where the progressive rock band “Yes” were recording. At this time Yes was in a terrible disorder because Singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman had both just quit the band. Yes then decided to hire both (Horn and Downes) as their new full time band members, which was to be one of the most unusual lineup changes ever. In August 1981 the by then two years old video to “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the clip with which the U.S. music channel MTV began their broadcasting.


Yes broke up in 1981, and The Buggles resumed working on the heir second album they have not  finishing a couple of years ago. During the recording of the album the pair finally broke up, and the album, finished by Horn alone, sank like a rock when it was released. Geoff Downs and Steve Howe of Yes then cofounded the supergroup Asia in 1982 (Key Songs are “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”), where Downs remains for 28 years. Trevor Horn has become one of the most successful record producers in history. He has produced the Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds, Belle and Sebastian, Seal, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, ABC, and plenty of others. He also produced two Yes albums, after Yes reformed in 1983.

Snarky Puppy ft. Jayna Brown – I’ll Do Me – Family Dinner Volume One


Most of the music-savvy folks out there already know the name of Snarky Puppy. The band has pretty much become a benchmark in terms of jazz bands and they truly deserve the exposure. The individual level of proficiency that the members demonstrates can certainly account for that. All of their albums are recorded and filmed live, and the band director and composer, Michael League shows-off his genius on every occasion. This song, I’ll Do Me, is a blues tune. It’s not the usual style that Snarky usually performs in, they’re more of the big band type of register. But this whole album is more than just Snarky Puppy. Family Dinner volume 1 showcases talent from the MusicLab at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA. and plays arrangements of one of each guest’s songs; the result is phenomenal. Back to this song however. The tune was written by a 12 year old girl named Jayna Brown and boy can she sing. She belts it like she has had a lifetime of experience at singing blues. Gabriel Morales, a 15 year-old guitar student, also from the Jefferson Center, joins her and takes a solo that is all blues and taste. It is truly amazing to see two young musicians playing alongside others twice their age, and show an equal level of musicianship. It is also reassuring and comforts the idea that not all talented young musicians set themselves on a path to become the next Bieber or Cyrus and grow up to get in fights with paparazzis or do drugs on stage. But this is another battle.


The whole concept for this DVD stays true to the vibe Snarky usually sets for their live recordings and even brings it forward. The live setup usually consists of the 20+ piece-band playing in a circle around a reduced crowd of 25 (or so) people. This time the band is set on a stage, and the crowd is scattered around it and sat on living room sofas and comfy cushioned chairs. Half of this record was shot and recorded on the one evening. On the second evening, around 800 people were invited to attend the performance, recording, and video shoot session. The vibe that seeps out is that of a cosy evening at a local jazz bar, minus the gin & tonic. And the picture matches the quality of the music, it captures the atmosphere perfectly and complements it with slow pans and occasional close-ups of players pulling faces that evoke groove and concentration.

Definitely a band to check out if you haven’t already, and this encompasses the entirety of their music. They touch upon all styles of grooves and melodies, and have just enough jazz to get the undivided attention of most musicians without losing that of non-players who aren’t generally attracted to that type of music.