The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
The day job: Boring, soul sucking, and completely necessary for unsigned musicians.
How the daily grind has helped fuel musicians’ dreams for years
The day job is a reality that no unsigned musician can escape quickly enough. Even bands with a modicum of local success can’t really afford to lose a steady paycheck before being signed to a good label. No matter how soul-crushing the job is, though, there is any number of people who would gladly go on doing it as long as it helps fuels their rockstar dreams. Here are a couple of indie musicians who have slogged through the grind just so they can continue doing what they love most: making music.
Dave Brent of Caves, employment law advisor and a host of other things
Caves drummer Dave Brent didn’t just have one day job – he had a lot of them going on presumably at the same time. While his job as an employment law advisor was the one that paid the rent, he also added house mover, bartender, and band chauffeur to the list.
It may seem counter-productive at first (how many hours will you have left for practice and gigs if you have too many day jobs?), but Brent maintains that it’s all just a part of living the unsigned band lifestyle.
“I think that to be in a band you learn to find money for things every which way you can; it becomes an art form in a way,” he writes on the Band Members Day Jobs blog. “You have the day job that you can’t commit full time to so you make up the extra cash you need by doing other things elsewhere.”
Martin Bradstreet of Alexei Martov, professional poker player
Of all the people mentioned here, Alexei Martov frontman Martin Bradstreet seems to have lucked out the most when it comes to work flexibility. Despite the glitz and glamour associated with the world of high-stakes poker, though, it’s still a job that requires long hours and dedication.
“I still play 10 hours a week, but it’s different than before,” he told Pokernews back when Alexei Martov was still starting out. “It seems like the most ridiculous thing to say, but it has ended up being the ‘steady job.’” Poker has also taught Bradstreet all about risk, which is actually what spurred him on to shoot for the skies and start a band.
Bradstreet, who has appeared in an online poker documentary with fellow players Danielle Moon-Anderson and Partypoker’s World Poker Tour host Tony Dunst, has since cut back on the time he spends on nosebleed stakes games to concentrate on Alexei Martov’s latest album, Way of the Crow.
Lounge on the Farm 2014 is pleased to announce the second set of acts playing this summer’s event. These additions to the lineup will be joining the likes of Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Peter Hook and the Light and DJ Yoda to name but a few.
If you’re considering heading down to Lounge on the Farm, check out our review from 2013′s festival here.
Here are the latest acts added to Lounge on the Farm 2014:
The Subways will be playing at Lounge on the Farm for the first time this August.
Billy, Charlotte and Josh will be bringing their raucous riffs and catchy hooks to Canterbury this summer ahead of a string of European dates. Some of you may remember the last time The Subways played here was at our old venue; The Farmhouse. It was one of the biggest shows put on and expectations is that their performance at this year’s LOTF to be just as big.
Jungle icon Mikail Tafari has gone by many names before – Rebel MC, Conquering Lion, Blackstar. This year, he will be playing at Lounge on the Farm under his latest guise Congo Natty.
Congo Natty has been at the forefront of jungle production since the late eighties and is still a huge name on the scene today with his recent show at Koko being a huge success. His last album came out on infamous label Ninja Tunes to critical acclaim.
He’ll be joined by special-guest vocalists Nanci and Phoebe who have been setting the underground urban scene alight as of late.
Fresh off a US tour, which featured a high-profile slot at Coachella, local favourites Syd Arthur will be in attendance. Take a look at their youtube video above for a taster of what to expect.
Drawing from a range of influences from the world of progressive, jazz, funk and psychedelia, Syd Arthur have been described as the natural successors to the “Canterbury sound” which became famous in the 70s. With a very contemporary nod towards Canterbury-legends Caravan, it’s easy to see why.
Lounge on the Farm have seen Syd Arthur grow from a local band to international recognition having played at every festival they’ve done.
Lounge on the Farm is pleased to welcome back one of Canterbury’s homegrown rising stars – Sam Sure.
Now based in London, Sam Sure’s minimal electronic sound and heartfelt lyrics bring depth and honesty to a mash of musical genres. Working closely with Black Butter Records and a pending single feature with Chase and Status’s label MTA he is set to cause a stir in 2014.
Having played at Lounge at the Farm several times before with Giacomo, this will be his first solo show and is not to be missed.
Tickets are on sale now for £55 and you can reserve yours for £15.
A limited number of camping is available for an extra £10 per person.
Bizarre Rocks! The motto from Robin B.Czar sums up the surface of his music well, but there’s much more bubbling underneath. Having just released his new album ‘Kiss from the Abyss’, which features 9 tracks with titles including ‘Turn to Stone’, ‘Murder’ and ‘The Countess and the Girl’, the self acclaimed bizarre songster doesn’t hide behind necessarily appealing to the masses. In fact the bizarre nature of his music is a major selling point.
Six years of work has helped bring ‘Kiss Abyss’ to fruition, alongside a full time job and party life style how Robin has managed to find time to create an album which includes a trilogy telling the prequel of a classic horror story by Robert Bloch (adapted by Alfred Hitchcock) is beyond impressive.
All of the tracks on the album are written and performed by Robin, and the opening track of the album ‘Sleepless Night’ sets the tone with a classic metal riff crunching in from the off. Classic metal guitar is backed by drumming, bass and piano on certain tracks, but the vocals is where Robin’s sound differs from anything else. The vocals create an eerie atmospheric gothic rock reminiscent of a funky mix between Marilyn Manson, HIM and Ozzy Ozbourne.
The eeriness of tracks is slightly reminiscent to the sound created by Cradle of Filth – just replace the hardcore screaming with a more melodic sound and you’ve got Robin B.Zcar.
Some of the stand out tracks from the album include ‘Shadows Rise’, ‘Cause Now You Are Dead’ (above) and the album’s final track ‘Blood’. These three tracks (as well as some of the others) contain great licks, good harmonies and very interesting lyrics that tackle death in different ways.
Some of the instrumental sections on the record are absolutely fantastic and I could easily see it being performed at large rock festivals across the globe. The insane riffs and solos are definitely where this album kicks ass and whilst the singing won’t be for everyone, fans of gothic rock should definitely check ‘Kiss from the Abyss’ out.
For more information follow Robin B.Zcar on his website.
The Music Mag is proud to showcase a very special talent; a lovely lady by the name of Dana McKeon has begun to take the UK (and European) beatboxing scene by storm. However, one of the things that sets Dana apart from many other beatboxers is her beautiful singing voice and guitar skills.
Her highly anticipated debut EP ‘Street Art’ is due for release this month.
Labelled as Malta’s international beatbox pinoeer, Dana McKeon was ranked 5th at the 2012 Beatbox World Championships and more recently became female Vice-Champion at the 2012 and 2013 UK Beatbox Championships.
Her music can be described as is a unique genre-fusion, showcasing her stunning beatboxing techniques, a melodic voice, mixed with multi-instrumentalisation. Dana’s musical ventures have taken around the world, with performances ranging from intimate, high-profile acoustic gigs to large-scale concerts and festivals. Some of her performances include performing at the 2012 Paralympics and at the Duke of Edinburgh Award Forum – in front of Prince Edward and the president of Malta.
Following launch events in London and Malta, Dana has just released her EP ‘Street Art’, along a the single by the same name:
The song features a blend of Dana’s trademark beatboxing, singing, complemented by an original music video highlighting alternative forms of art such as Reverse Graffiti and UV Graffiti/Body Art.
The music video for ‘Street Art’ is based around reverse graffiti, which is an innovation art form spreading across the globe. It involves the removal of dust/grime from a dirty surface to create an image, in the video the image created is a beautiful garden by cleaning a wall in a main road. The English artist, Paul Curtis aka Moose, used a power washer and hand-made stencils to carry out Malta’s first large-scale Reverse Graffiti project. Not only was this a visually pleasing project, the work sent out a strong message about pollution and legal alternatives to vandalism.
The Maltese beatboxing sensation is now gearing up for a summer full of gigs and festivals, plus a couple more big collaborations/releases in the coming months. Find out more on her Facebook & Twitter pages.
Electro Noire Pop Duo no:carrier released their new album ‘Wisdom & Failure’ last month. The album tells stories of hurtful memories, fears for the future and strong personalities.
The new album showcases their unique brand of electro noire pop. ‘Wisdom & Failure’ uses a mixture of dark wave and electro pop to fuse a versatile and interesting sound.
The album which features 12 tracks followers the protagonists who keep looking back, haunted by ghosts of the past. Hurtful memories of past events (“Last Scene,” “Alone Now”) stand next to strong characters that carve their own path (“Let Me Walk Alone,” “Losing Sight Of The Coast”) mixed amongst tragic stories about failure (“The Nine Days’ Queen,” “Sunset Castle”). However, above all else remains strength and wisom, both of which can arise from failure (“Wisdom And Failure”).
The album cover is a beautifully hand drawn illustration, designed by Cassidy Bliss Cooper. The cover helps to portray the relationship between wisdom and failure.
When asked about the meaning of the album, songwriter Chris Wirsig said “it’s about being strong, fighting against adversities. You look back, you learn from the past, and maybe you also despair of it. But you stick to your intentions, do what you want, and you go for it, regardless of what others say, regardless of which opinions you hear, regardless of if you’ll succeed or fail.”
Walter Lee Younger (Extraordinaire) was born in Nashville, TN, earning his stripes out of Chattanooga, TNA – which is where he’s currently based. Having spent most of his summers in Atlanta music became his heartbeat and he participated in plays, talent shows and even appearing on television on Lou Rawls’ UNCF hosted telathon.
Extraordinaire is a producer, songwriter, hustler, one half of the group Black Folk Inc and founding member of Circa 94 Beats. He has an ‘anything goes’ approach to his music, which is often shown in his raw sound stating if “it sounds good, feels good, it’s music”.
His success as part of Black Folk Inc launched his career in production to the next level. He began producing music for artists signed to labels including Atlantic, Sony and SRC, as well as having an opportunity to work with Lil Wayne, but a tragedy ripped the opportunity away from him.
Younger turned his attention to the hip hop collective Circa 94 Beats with an aim to rebuild and come back stronger – releasing several projects, including records released on the Serious Knock Entertainment label.
“I Love doing music for the sake of art’s sake and creating new sounds…that is my Walter Lee artistic side… but the Extraordinaire side of me will always be competitive and go HARD when it comes to making music!”
Let’s face it – the popular music industry today has turned in to softcore porn. Like it or not you can’t turn on the TV without seeing an advert for the latest track which includes the latest scantily clad singer clasping on to a phallic object whilst miming sex acts.
Where did this obsession with musicians looking like pornstars come from? It’s safe to say that in the 1990′s there was a move away from the more cutesy/authentic singers such as Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
Cue October 1998, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ rocketed in to the charts fronted by the sexy schoolgirl Britney Spears. It was definitely not the first example that ‘sex sells’, but it was one of the more recent examples of people realising that a gorgeous teenage girl could send the whole world in to a frenzy.”
In the 2000′s we saw artists such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera push forward as a female fronted sex symbol in music, but it’s not until recent years that we saw Rihanna and Miley Cyrus take music videos to a new level.
Things have stepped up yet again: full on nudity in videos, performing sexual acts on objects, selfies of bare arses – it’s hard to see what will come next, short of musicians actually turning in to porn stars for sales. The rise of social media has also brought the topic to the forefront a lot more…
But hey, who are we to judge. It’s the way the music industry has gone and rather than moan and complain about all of the hot women taking their clothes off we are going to share a few examples of how music has turned in to porn:
Do you think all of this is ok and just the way the music industry has moved? Or do you think singers should be based on their voice and not their looks? If you have any thoughts please comment below…
Marla Mase has released her new EP ‘Half-Life’. At once confrontational and completely vulnerable, the EP’s name was taken from a quote by Junot Diaz; ‘the half-life of love is forever’.
When questioned about ‘Half-Life’ Marla said “I wanted to go back to the personal. They say you can find the universal in the personal.”
Marla Mase is a New York based singer, songwriter and producer, known for her provocative, raw performance style and intelligent lyrics. Her music ranges from rock n’ roll to experimental spoken word, funk and punk rock. She is backed by the Tomás Doncker Band. When touring in China, Marla was invited by Friends of the UN to perform for UN GLOBAL PEACE DAY in Linzhou City, where she was given an honorary “Messenger of Peace” award for her visionary work as a songwriter and performing artist. The Huffington Post featured her in 2013, saying “her feisty message of peace and perhaps wake up the beast in all of us.”
Marla released “SPEAK Deluxe” on Feb 28, 2013, a 16 track CD containing human rights and feminist perspectives. AnnaRexia is spearheading the StayImperfect Project or Love Your Butt Campaign, which Marla created to empower women to love themselves and their bodies. Proceeds from AnnaRexia go towards theprojectheal.org, a non-profit founded by two teenage eating disorder survivors, that raises funds for girls whose families cannot afford to send them to treatment.
Frank Turner will be performing on BT Sport tonight at 10pm. He will be playing one of his latest tracks ‘Recovery’ and the famous summer anthem of last year ‘The Way I Tend To Be’.
Here’s a picture of Frank Turner posing during rehearsals this afternoon:
Accompanied by Matt Nasir (Mandolin/guitar/backing vocals), Frank will be performing on BT Sport’s Life’s a Pitch, a journalistic sports show hosted by Des Kelly.
Watch his live performances of both songs here.
For more information about Frank Turner, head on over to his Twitter page.
Lael Summer is an artist we featured back in October – she has a gorgeous voice, a good look and her songs are to die for. She’s recently releases ‘Burder to Bear’, her debut album which features songs such as ‘In Time’ and ‘Kiss and Tell’.
When asked about the new album Lael said “During the writing process I had the freedom to explore all these facets of my identity I never really acknowledged or could make sense of. I picked through my thoughts, my dreams, my nightmares, conversations, observations and memories and used the fragments of my life to piece together something I could share with others.”
The album features 12 tracks and Lael’s cover of the Hall and Oate’s song, ‘Do What You Want, Be What You Are’ has previously been picked as a track to watch out for by the Kings of A&R.
Listen to ‘Do What You Want, Be What You Are’:
Born and raised in NYC, Lael Summer experienced growing up in the city that never sleeps. A young girl in a big city can often lead to a feeling of loneliness and the track titles ‘I need a man’ and ‘Look around’ show that whilst growing up in the big apple she often felt lost and alone in a city occupied by millions of people.
Her music reflects the search for love, with her passion shining through like a powerful ray of sunlight. Lael’s ‘Burden to Bear’ is a very good album, which fans of passionate and well written music will adore.
Keep up to date and follow Lael on Facebook.