Owl City – Fireflies

Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Electro, Independent Music Finds, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 17-01-2010

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Adam Young is the mastermind behind the music collaboration that is Owl City. Single ‘Fireflies’ has hit the No. 1 spot on the U.S Billboard charts in November 2009 and the U.S iTunes chart. It has also already sold nearly two million copies and is the fastest selling electronic track of all-time. Young has fashioned an elegant and seemingly effortless connection between fashionably arty, retro-nouveau electro pop and the kind of fresh-faced, sweetly melancholic hit factory songwriting.

Owl City pop has a purity of purpose – an innocence that breathes fresh air in to the electro-pop revival. It sounds like a sparkling wintry day in a place full of nature, rather than electronic music’s usual urban nocturnal vibe.  Fireflies makes a world of adventure to combat quietness and the boredom around you.

Released 22nd February 2010.

By Sophie Stratford

Patrick Wolf – Damaris

Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Independent Music Finds, Other, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 03-01-2010

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Patrick Wolf concludes a triumphant year with the release of the third single to be taken from his critically acclaimed album, The Bachelor – the powerful and beautiful, Damaris. The single is semi-autobiographical and centred on the loss of love, it was inspired by a tale discovered whilst Patrick went to seek out his English roots after a period of heartbreak and the ending of a relationship that was much documented in the song The Magic Position.

Tracing his father’s roots, in East Sussex, Patrick stumbled across a small wooden cross engraved with the name Damaris among the gravestones of his ancestors. From that moment he began researching who Damaris might be and it came about that the wooden cross told a larger tale then anyone could have imagined. Damaris was a gypsy or heathen, unwelcomed by the Catholic Church at the time. Lewis, the son of a priest, fell in love with Damaris and the two got caught up in whirlwind of forbidden love. The star-crossed lovers were forbidden to marry and Damaris is said to have died of a broken-heart (suicide).

Patrick related to these sentiments at the time and so narrated a song from Lewis’ tragically frustrated perspective. It is important to consider the story behind the song when you are listening as it deepens the meaning. As the track is instrumentally overpowering, the usual fanfare vocals would not be an option and so the track starts with soft, smoky vocals instead. The special, unique aspect of Mr Wolfs music is that is well thought out, personal, and intensely moving.

Released 14th December 2009.

By Sophie Stratford

Plastiscines – Bitch

Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Album, Electro, Independent Music Finds, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 31-12-2009

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Plastiscines – four female school friends from Paris, who create chunky riffs, and new wave pop tunes. It’s fair to say that when the rock band started out 4 years ago, they weren’t taken seriously by their Parisian peers. Single ‘Bitch’ is a slice of pure, unadulterated aural pleasure, a protest song against people who said Plastiscines were just rich girls put together. Ironic then that the single should have its world premier on the cult, hair pulling, and boyfriend stealing hit American TV series Gossip Girl.

The foursome name the Strokes and Blondie as their biggest influences and their songs are two-minute bursts of sultry punk-pop, like the Runaways with French accents. But while they give it their best shot, the music isn’t interesting enough for your attention, it’s too imitative. Plastiscines may still be nauseatingly young, but these girls are already every bit the Parisian “riot girl” rockers of the naughties.

Released 25th January 2010.

By Sophie Stratford

The Irrepressibles – Mirror Mirror

Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Album, Independent Music Finds, Other, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 17-12-2009

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The flamboyant, fantastical and unfathomable Irrepressibles are set to release their stunning new debut album Mirror Mirror. Led by composer and artist Jamie McDermott, the band are a ten piece performance orchestra that, through the power of their instruments can transport and transfix, break moulds and collide worlds.

The Irrepressibles

Fusing European orchestration with pop melodies and soaring cathartic vocals, Mirror Mirror is a theatrical, playful and emotionally passionate album. From the dramatic opener My Friend Jo to the galloping rhythms of Anvil, from the yearning echoes of Forget The Past through to the intensely intimate In This Shirt, the album is a beautifully constructed exploration of McDermott’s stories of love, anger, lust and loss.

The Irrepressibles sound has been compared to early David Bowie and Kate Bush however Mirror Mirror is quite unlike anything you have heard before. As the album unfolds there is so much more to discover, enchanting musical offerings that hold surprises at every turn.

Released 11th January 2010.

By Sophie Stratford

OOiZiT.com – Tom Fearn “The music industry’s next big problem.”

Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Independent Music Finds, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 21-11-2009

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Sophie Stratford talks to Tom Fearn founder of OOiZiT.com and the music industry’s next big problem.

The record industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in the 21st century, and the latest stage of evolution has arrived – in the form of new music platform OOiZiT.com. The site offers unsigned artists the chance to have a hit. OOiZiT.com combines the capabilities of sites such as Spotify, MySpace Music, iTunes, Reverb Nation, Twitter and Facebook under one banner, but with a key difference: the ability to propel users into the charts. On OOiZiT.com, musicians can not only build an online following, but sell direct to them – and see those sales count towards official chart positions. No record deal, publisher or ‘middle men’ necessary. Never before has the route from bedsit to stardom been so direct.

OOiZiT.com already has grown over 900% since it launched on a trial basis earlier this year, going fully live on the 12th November 09. One of its members, rapper Alex Blood, has already used it as a launch pad and gone on to tour with Mark Ronson and Jay-Z and attracted major label interest.

Explain briefly, exactly what is OOiZiT in a nutshell?

It’s a social network for new UK music artists. Basically you sign up, create a profile and an online presence. The site acts as sales platform for them; so they are able to sell and market their own tracks and material all through one site.

How is it different from other music sites?

There are a couple of main differences, one is that is it 100% music focused, it’s a sales site (if you sign up to the Premium account £9.97 per month) and those sales count towards official chart positions. This is quite a big step forward for the music industry and unsigned artists alike. It’s hugely exciting to think that someone could put together a track in their bedroom one week and hear it on the radio the next, with no need to sign any rights or seek a corporate stamp of approval.

Also how is it similar to social networking sites, like Myspace, Facebook etc?

Yes it is, people can create profiles, have bios, events news and just build an online community, and make friends with the people already in our community. We’ve utilised all the social networking elements, (the parts you need to utilise) but also added our own features.

How popular is the site already?

Well we have only been launched for a week or so but we are growing quite rapidly. We have already through our BETA testing throughout out the last few months got about 1200 music artists and bands on there at the moment. Obviously we have only just started to push it out there. We’re doing a lot of work offline too just to try and help artists.

Is it successful?

Anybody can sign up to the site for free, but in order to sell their music they have to upgrade to our premium package – £9.97 per month, we have about 20 people on this at the moment, however bear in mind we haven’t been launched that long at all. However, people are already selling their tracks, we made our first two pay outs over the last week or two, one for £70 and one for £60, which is a lot of money for an unsigned band to earn in a week. It is proving a success.

Is this wholly a British site or can artists overseas access it?

It’s completely focused on UK artists; it’s all about UK music. With all the social networks you go onto you are in amongst the masses, so this is specifically targeted towards the UK.

What kinds of ways do you promote the artists?

Each month a featured artist who we think deserves that extra bit of exposure is selected to benefit from OOiZiT’s promotional machine. This artist is placed on the home page of the site. Also we help bands with whatever they want to achieve, that being a record deal or to record a new album. OOiZiT.com gives music artists help and advice about the music industry, dealing with PR issues, record companies and contracts. OOiZiT is a more in depth service than just putting up your profile on a site, we really do engage with our community. We also have a whole resources section on the site which anyone can access, it gives top line information in the industry; where’s it going, how to plan your first gig etc, things bands don’t necessarily know of the top of their heads. We go that extra mile.

So, what’s the future of OOiZiT?

We want to get much more out of what we can do offline for the bands and help to promote their gigs awareness, and this is going to come with getting more people on the site and engaging with them much more on the community and building the community. Similarly we really want to make a big success through the site as well, we will be searching for the next big stars, and we want to prove that artists can get successful without having to rely on the major labels.

Interview By Sophie Stratford