Dirty Loops: Top 40 Songs With a Jazz Flavor

Similar to my previous post on 2Cellos, Dirty Loops are a band that gained alot of popularity through word of mouth of their YouTube videos. The trio take popular modern songs and add their on jazz/funk element onto it.  The Swedish band consists of a keys player and vocalist, a 6 string bass player who plays the most unusual bass lines for the song they cover, and a drummer.

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They are currently signed to a management deal with Swedish producer, Andreas Carlsson.  “The group’s videos have now garnered a total of 19 million YouTube views to date, and their first original single, “Hit Me,” has just entered theTop 10 in Japan” as per their website.

They have a very raw image, with all their pictures and video  and even the website mostly in black and white.

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Here are some of their more popular songs

Dirty Loops have toured Asia and now are currently in the process of touring Europe. There are several cover bands with a large following on YouTube. A famous example is Boyce Avenue who have done several covers of famous songs. The try to completely replicate the song acoustically. However Dirty Loops takes away that conventionality and adds a flavor of their own.

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Hear Boyce Avenue’s version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep…

Now hear Dirty Loops’ version of the same song that they are well known for.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

DROP EVERYTHING AND WATCH THIS!

I’m surprised I didn’t blog on these guys in my first post of unusual music. I heard the 2Cellos for the first time when they opened for Sir Elton John at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in November 2011. Their opening act consisted of U2’s With or Without You, Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and Guns and Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle to name a few. They were then invited back on stage as ‘orchestra’ musicians for the Elton John concert.

Their unusualness is clearly portrayed  through their music. The Cello’s are meant to be elegant, classical instruments, and as the audience in the Thunderstruck´ video react cannot be better described as a typical reaction to anyone watching this Croatian duo for the first time.

They are a typical YouTube example of fame through word of mouth upon release of their Smooth Criminal Cello cover.

They found a niche and were offered to tour with one of the most prominent British artists, Sir Elton John. Once they were done with that tour, they toured as a duo and have received worldwide recognition. In addition to touring, they have also released 2 albums with  a 3rd one expected in the near future.

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What I  particularly like about them is their ability to break boundaries of different genres and take the Cello to a whole new ‘never seen before’ level and their onstage presence. Enjoy the videos!

Equity-Based Crowdfunding- The Wait Just Got Longer

Been waiting to buy a share of your favorite artist’s album? Looks like you are going to have to wait at least another year. Equity-based crowdfunding is one of the most anticipated types of crowdfunding by small businesses. Equity-based crowdfunding will allow startups and small businesses raise capital in exchange for shares.

What does this mean in the music industry? In a nutshell, this will be the most unusual way yet to fund an artist. You can pay for shares in your favorite artist’s album to help them finish their next album and then get a piece of their royalties.

This new concept will act as yet another distupter in the music industry and will enhance the D2F relationship between artists and their fans. The outlook looked promising when the US senate looked to pass Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS Act) which would allow the following:

  1. Certain small stock offerings such as those taking place on future US crowdfunding sites won’t be required to register with the SEC.
  1.  One won’t have to be accredited to invest in these companies
  1.  A company won’t have to file with the SEC until they have 500 non-accredited investors OR 2,000 total investors
  1. The ban on general solicitation and advertising will be lifted for equity crowdfunding.

However, it was just announced today ( 12th December 2014) via http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240558  that the Securities and Exchange Commission (the financial regulator of the US) has delayed their decision to pass Title III of the act and hence the wait has been extended. Music crowdfunding platforms like PledgeMusic, KickStarter, and IndieGoGo will have to rely on reward based crowdfunding in the US till Title III is passed.

For more information on the Jobs Act see visit the following link for a cool infograph

http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/09/21/the-jobs-act-what-startups-and-small-businesses-need-to-know-infographic/

Concert Review: Elial @ Sala Russafa

Following my post on Oct 23rd 2014, Elial finally displayed their newly launched album, Dentro to an audience of almost 200 at the Sala Russafa hall in Valencia, Spain. A technical glitch delayed the anxious audience for nearly 30 minutes, but that minor frustration seem to fade away as soon as Elial kicked off with Erasmos.

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Audience crowd waiting out the delay. 

The stage was simply crafted with the drummer Hugo, planning all the lighting. 10 simple ‘Ikea’ looking lamps completed the backdrop of the stage and was used as a projector screen. Cheap but innovative and visually appealing. IMG_7111 The 4 piece band seemed to be very comfortable and very well rehearsed as they powered through their 10 song set list.

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Alberto and Eli, the founding members of the band, threw in the occasional joke or two to engage with the audience, however over all audience engagement seemed a bit lacking.

A surprise appearance by the ‘Luz’ music video actor Raul Hauman was a welcome unusual surprise. Raul took to the corner of the stage and reenacted his part in the music video.

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Each song was performed to perfection with their finale song Oscuridad ending to the roar and standing ovation of the entire hall.

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Elial‘s album seems to be off to a steady start. A tour needs to be planned around Spain to build more audience.

Some more pictures of the highlights of the concert:

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Berklee- Alumni Member- Charlie Puth

Berklee Alumni member, Charlie Puth has been gaining a lot of attention online. The 22-year old hit the 31 million net views on Youtube at the age of 20 instantly gaining recognition by The Boston Herald.

Visit the following website for the news article.

http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/music/music_news/2012/09/berklee_student_youtube_star

What I find fascinating about Charlie Puth, is his extreme vocal range and tonal quality. One of his best videos on Youtube is his cover of Sia’s Chandelier which exemplifies that range.

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In addition his covers, his original work dives deep into a variety of harmonies and takes a unusual approach to the modern sound.  Instagram Models is an example of this.

However, I am not the biggest fan of the image he has created through his music videos and Facebook page.  There is a sense of ‘boyishness’ that needs to be changed.

All his other videos are ‘bedroom-made’ which is undervaluing his potential and worth as a exemplary musician.

Puth has also partnered up Emily Luther to create more music covers. They seem to gel pretty well however the partnership is ‘diluted’ when Charlie takes the low key.

What I would have liked to hear was him taking the higher note while she stays on the low key. Kind of like a Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham partnership.

I see alot of potential in Charlie Puth, His 400,000 + Youtube subscribers is a mere reflection of his ability and demand. But as mentioned, an image makeover is much needed.

Foot Stomping Folk by THE BOLLANDS

The Bollands are a band I recently spoke about in artist management class. Christian and Joyce Bolland are not your average couple. They are from New Zealand and are now based in Hong Kong where they have become quite popular as a foot stomping folk band.

Joyce Bolland plays the Keys and provides percussion and backing vocals support to Christian’s raw and energetic vocals, extreme strumming guitar ( Christian often breaks at least a few strings on every stage he plays on) and foot stomper.

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Joyce is originally from Malaysia and moved to New Zealand where she met her future husband and bandmate Christian, who spent his childhood living in a ‘house truck’ travelling all over the island.

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A picture of the house truck is on the cover of their recent album, Paper Houses, which was well-received in their current country of residence.

What I like about this band is their commitment to self-manage and focus primarily on touring. Over the past few years, The Bollands have toured unconventional markets such as China, Korea,  Singapore, India, and Taiwan to name a few. They win the hearts of their fans by spending time getting to know as many of them on a personal level. In fact, that is how I got to know them initially. Hence a lesson learnt from this is to really get to know your fans and find ways to make them happy.1491413_773299666044897_4762432956505334353_o

On stage, they create a highly energetic environment tempting their audience to sing along to their melodic tunes and dance to their rhythm folk music.

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I see potential in the Bollands growing to be a popular band in Asia. They have a unique sound and combination of story-telling lyrics and addictive melodies.

The Backpacker Hostel Live Music Venue

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One of my first live music venues that I performed at in Singapore was the Prince of Wales Little India Hostel and Bar. The venue, at the time, was owned by an Australian entrepreneur who set up a backpacker hostel and decided to also use the lobby space as a bar. Seeing potential in live music, he also set up an indoor and outdoor stage. Being a low cost business, he used a sub-par system which was set up and torn down by the artist playing that night.

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Despite the low grade system and odd outdoor stage set up, the highlight of this venue was the Sunday Open Mic sessions. Backpackers from all around the world who were staying at the hostel would come down and be part of the open mic. I found this to be a great way to interact and share the stage with people from all around the world (See picture below).

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The venue has now been sold to different owners, and with this change in ownership, features of the venue have also been changed. However, the Sunday open mic session is still rocking every week and continues to draw in a crowd consisting of live music enthusiasts, alcoholics and musicians.

I am writing this blog to share an unusual venue. Please share some of the unusual live music venues that  have exposed you to some amazing musicians…

THESE BRITTLE BONES (Chris Jones)

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While doing a little bit of A&R work, I remember an artist I had heard off in Singapore. Going by the name of These Brittle Bones, Chris Jones came out with his first EP at the age of 13. He is now 15 and is looking to release 2 EP’s by Christmas 2014. At the age of 15, Chris shows depth in his understanding of melody and composition and a maturity in his lyrics. He has described his genre as ambient piano folk.

Chris moved to Singapore from the Swansea, UK at the age of 8 and soon after found himself writing his own music. He is now nearing 2 years with manager Jonny Taylor and released a number of singles.

See below for 2 of his singles,  ‘Feckle’ and ‘Bloom‘.

He recently signed with a digital distributor, Believe Music (based out of the UK).Through this partnership, Chris is now on a number of social media and digital media platforms. You can see more of his online presence below:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/thesebrittlebones/

Spotify – http://open.spotify.com/artist/5KlIaIphSopJ8iyuv6aYrX

Deezer – http://www.deezer.com/en/artist/2766061

Twitter – http://twitter.com/brittlebonesuk

Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/thesebrittlebonesmusic

Youtube – http://youtube.com/thesebrittlebones

Instagram – http://instagram.com/thesebrittlebones/

Bandcamp – http://thesebrittlebones.bandcamp.com/

After his self recorded, debut release EP, Leaving the Woods,  he was interviewed by Time Out Singapore where he describes his inspiration coming from “pieces of art, poetry, even tales I’ve heard from others”. (Full Interview – http://www.timeoutsingapore.com/music/feature/interview-these-brittle-bones)

What I like about Chris’ music is that is it is unexpected coming from a 15 year old. His music is extremely emotional and his lyrics complement his composition. The fact that he is young, means there is much room for development, emotionally and creatively. He would be ideal to be signed with an Indie label or a bigger label as his music has room to be collaborated with different genres.

I will be scheduling a call with Chris to learn more about his inspiration, his goals and his vision.

The Living Room Bar + DENTRO Launch

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I continued to walk the streets of Valencia, looking for a venue that is uniquely different from most live music venues. I got an invite for an album launch of a local band Elial (www.elialband.com) which has been gaining popularity after their release of their new album ‘Dentro.’ The Valencian band have been working on this album for about 6 months. The main recording of their album involved the band moving to a cabin in the hills where the main recording set up was.

For their launch, they decided to choose a local venue, La Vitti (https://www.facebook.com/lavittivalencia) . Situated  2km away from the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, the venue is like walking into your living room ( except with a massive bar). Furnished with leather chairs, bookshelves and  small round tables the cozy environment is built to keep the audience sitting for longer. Hardwood flooring complemented the furnishing and the Oakwood AER speaker system. For those who are not familiar with AER system, they are the Mercedes ( in fact they are German) of Acoustic amplification.

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Below are some pictures of the venue and the event. You will notice the living room like decor and arrangement.

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With a small acoustic setup to talk about the album and play a few songs, Elial took the stage consisting of Alberto Amar ( Vocals, Guitar), Eli Rufat (Vocals, Synth and Keys), Dani Vidagany (Guitar) and Hugo Caminero ( percussion). Before kicking off, they presented a video clip of the making of their song Vacia

Despite not knowing Spanish, the song appealed to me in terms of vocal ability and melody. The guitar effects appealed to me the most and I can draw a comparison to U2’s  The Edge. I see a lot of potential in Elial as well as the venue and hence decided to share this experience.

Elial will be having a launch concert at the Sala Ruzafa on the 15th of November which I am very keen to check out.

I hope you all enjoy their music and buy the album which is available on iTunes.

Local Live Music Scenes

I have always enjoyed exploring the local live music scene in whichever city I have lived in and visited. Open mics and jam sessions are my favorite. You get to meet interesting people, locals and expats, share each other’s culture, listen to them play some popular songs and improvise 12 bar solos. I guess being a musician myself made me like these events even more cause I often found myself jamming with people I was meeting for the first time. Living in Singapore gave me the unique opportunity  to jam with people from all over Asia. Playing the blues with a local percussionist, a British Guitarist, an Irish bass guitarist, a Singaporean fiddler and an American Dobro player is what I defined as the ultimate experience of music diversity. Until I got to Spain…

On my quest for live music, I found myself in an abandoned old stable ( Yes the kind meant for cattle/horses).

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The Entrance to the “Underground” music venue.

“Welcome to the underground music scene” is what a familiar face told me. The following pictures are of one my frequented bars in Singapore, The Beast (www.facebook.com/thesgbeast). Now these are the kinds of venues I am used to visiting if I want live music.  Great service, good food, a variety of specialty brews, well thought out furnishings and an incredible PA system.

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On the contrary, the abandoned stable, as one would expect, was quite the opposite. Bricks all over, broken walls, bare wires running through the length of the ceiling, uncoordinated furniture, and just a few light bulbs to give the venue a delicate lighting. And then the music came on..

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Interior of the venue

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Odd mismatched furniture scattered around the venue

The band consisted of 2 guitarists, a bassist a hang drum(my first time seeing the beautiful instrument) and Cajon percussionist, a octopad player, a vocalist and a saxophonist. The best genre to describe their music was ambient music. The kind you hear in the background of a movie, or while playing a video game on your PlayStation. This was my first experience hearing this music live and it was a treat to the ears. It was a jam, nothing rehearsed, with each song lasting a minimum of 15 minutes. The music was mellow with the occasional upbeat build in tempo.

Watch a clip of the video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g35wlq6cv3Y&feature=youtu.be

The audience maintained pin drop silence, something I found very unusual, as I have always associated live music with socializing.

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Over the next few months I intend to post more about unusual and different live music venues and live music .