Pardon My Crush…
If handsome is an ingredient for getting famous as a band, then Pardon My Striptease has it in spades. LOL…but I digress, as I’m sure Dick wasn’t the least bit interested in how cute the band members were!
All kidding aside, here’s a band that truly surprised me. Not that I didn’t expect to hear something good, but when the band seems too polite to know how to rock, it can set you back a bit. Maybe there is something in that Chilliwack corn their mamas feed them, as there is definitely fuel in the fire when it comes to Pardon My Striptease.
Aside from their very cool name (and very cool t-shirts), their ability to bring a very tight live presentation to the table after only being together for 2 years, (Brendan for only 2 months) makes you realize that the mix is as cohesive as their cute factor.
Tracks like Rattle My Brain & Diamond In The Rough leave you wanting more, and the balance of their 5 song EP won’t disappoint either. Lead vocalist Andrew Putt’s performances were CD quality – even putting a brilliant twist on an old lullaby classic Mocking Bird to help put his 2 month old daughter to sleep. Prime song writer and guitarist Erron Sweeney puts words and melody together like few others can. For their youth they offer an outstanding promise to be much more than a local indie band from the valley. Balancing out the rest of the band is drummer Dylan Weightman , bassist Adam Coleman & the newest member Brendan Woodroff.
Keep your ears open for an opportunity to see Pardon My Striptease live. We already know they can pack a house…that’s how they paid for their self titled CD! Hook up with PMS on Facebook, and pick up a copy of their CD on iTunes today. Cheers ~ Beav.
Straight Shooting With Mary’s Gunns
Having stalked this band for a few months now, Dick finally managed to get the boys from Mary’s Gunns to book a spot on TSS. Dick first heard Mary’s Gunns CD being played over the loud speakers at a local bowling alley and asked the kid behind the till if he knew what the name of the band was. Without skipping a beat the kid not only filled in the blanks, but set Dick up with a CD!
Since then, Dick’s copy of Mary’s Gunns album Smugglers Cabaret spends a lot of time spinning around in his CD player, and for good reason – they are awesome! Here’s a trio that have been playing music together since (dare I say it) elementary school, and the confidence and ease they have with each other (both personally & musically) can only come from a long term friendship.
For this CD, the band went from recording the rough tracks in their home recording studio, to putting the finishing touches on their tracks at the renowned Vancouver Mushroom Studios. They released their first album Smugglers Cabaret in 2008. With some private capital offered by a family member (and huge supporter), they boys could not have been more stoked about the finished album, more thankful for the amazing support from friends, family & fans, or more humble about their talents.
Although the CD is dominantly rock based, the band is equally talented at playing a wide range of song styles, including memorable ballads incorporating a mandolin, to country/rock tunes, both of which they played live and acoustic on the set of TSS.
Having taken the previous year off (technically speaking), they are ready to hit local stages again to perform live, are thinking about a tour, and planning on releasing their softmore CD this summer. The new album will offer fans 8-10 new tracks.
Bearing It All with Versus The Nothing
One might say that spending a mere two hours in the presence of a band would hardly be enough time to make a clear judgment of anything other than to say they were talented and a nice bunch of guys, but with Versus The Nothing, we beg to differ.
Case & point…people are either open or closed when you first meet them. The boys from VTN are as open as you could hope for. From the first hello to the last hug I know I felt like I’d known each of them for years, rather than just a few hours. This quality might have a lot to do with their huge Canada wide fan base who locked up our phone lines with calls from as far away as Quebec, all the way to Nelson in central BC. Our TSS Facebook fan page was also burning up the screen with comments and request from even more VTN fans.
TSS has been waiting for a few months for an opportunity for VTN to sit down in our studio, but a mini tour kept them from us until now. And while drummer Jake takes 8 weeks to recover from hernia surgery, the rest of the boys look for temporary work, then it’s back on the road again for another tour. FYI, If you need a plumber, electrician or a welder, contact VTN now!
As most of you are aware, The Stepping Stone is a platform for showcasing independent music to the masses in an acoustic setting. Having said that, one can certainly appreciate the intricacies of some tracks being difficult to parlay without a full drum kit, keyboard & big-ass amplifiers to back up the band. In our opinion a truly great song & performer should be able to dial down any tune to it’s acoustic level and still make it shine. With VTN, certain parts of some of their songs involve deep throated screaming – hardly something you’d think were easy to “dial down”, yet the fine tuned talent in the vocals of VTN’s lead singer Ross came through with amazing control and depth, even when it was time to scream. Is that talent or training?…we think both.
Lets face it, talented hardworking independent bands are many in this country, but Versus The Nothing are contenders for the brass ring in this category – just ask their fans. And if the cream really does rise to the top, then VTN is surly just beneath the surface.
VTN’s constant touring (they’ve traveled Canada wide twice), takes a huge toll on the band, both physically & financially. Their tour management at SIN Agency (formerly Shameless Promotions) does a brilliant job of getting the word out on the tour level. Leanne Harrison is front row and center when it comes to promoting VTN, taking the legwork out of booking tour venues off the minds of the band so they can “focus on the art” of music.
And art it is. VTN’s intricate lyrics combined with Ross’s superb vocals, and the band’s skilled performances guarantees you will be entertained.
If there is one thing these boys are not, its shy! We’re not sure we’ve ever heard more candid conversations with anyone in a first meeting, and frankly we know more intimate details about these guys than we should, but then so does everyone who was listening to the live feed of the show! So what did we learn? We learned that if the tour bus is rock’n, it’s not what you think, and the way to the band’s heart is with a piece of toast and a jar of honey.
For more info on Versus The Nothing, go to their ReverbNation page, MySpace page, or hook up with them on Facebook. Looking to buy a CD?? (yes they’d love it if you did!!), go to your iTunes or CDBaby now.
~ Sandra Sigfusson (aka The Beaver) ~
We Now have the means to complete our Bands Against Hunger Compilation CD and are very excited to announce that we’re now collecting music for The Compilation CD to raise funds & awareness for Humanitarian Issues Both Globally and Locally! If you and/or any other artist that you know are interested, please send your (pro recorded) CD and/or best song to the following address by Dec. 1st, 2010 (Must be postmarked by/Including Dec 1st, 2010):
BAHS Compilation CD
P.O. Box 1384
4 Judges will be choosing 20 Artists from British Columbia for the BAHS Compilation CD!
CD Release to be released in Feb. 2011
Bio: The Bands Against Hunger Society is a non profit registered organization that was created in Whistler, B.C./Canada by Local Musicians and music lovers! (2005/2006) We bring people together who want to make a difference in the World! Together, through artistic collaboration, the organization creates events that raise funds and awareness for humanitarian issues both Locally and Globally. We also promote unity and community amongst our fellow Musicians/Artists and create events where our Sea to Sky Musicians/Artists can work together. We also create opportunities that help to promote Sea to Sky Musicians/Artists to the rest of the world. Check our myspace page out periodically as we rotate B.C. Musicians songs on the website!
New Music Gateways:
Somewhere along the way, bands find various places to hang their proverbial hats online. Sometimes they find places where others are willing to share what they do to the online music-loving community on their behalf.
As you probably already know, THAT is the core foundation of The Stepping Stone’s 100% Indie Radio Show. Another such place is at The Portal Magazine.com, where bands can also get an opportunity so be showcased by people who believe in them & share thier passion. And although The Portal may not be 100% indie like The Stepping Stone, it is at least another place where the indie community is getting some much deserved attention.
Touted as the new music’s gateway, The Portal Magazine.com is headed by Shannon Ambrose, Chief Managing Editor and Founder. This online magazine’s mandate is fueled by the same kind of passion as the artists they showcase. They continually provide updates on artists, with tour dates, CD releases, and much more. Every issue of The Portal will have a section dedicated to the heartbeat of the music industry & the Indie musician.
So fear not Indie community…there are a few portals out there for you, speaking on your behalf, sharing your incredible talents to everyone & ready to crack a few cold ones with you.
FYI… TSS is available to do just that EVERY MONDAY night around 7:00 pm…ARE YOU?
What You DON’T Post Could Hurt You
I spotted an interesting interview with Jac Holzman, the founder of Electra Records. The thing that stuck out most for me about his conversation was the topic of video exposure.
As one of the first people to produce music videos for television in 1966 (originally with the Nickelodeon channel’s program called Pop Clips, which later became MTV),starring The Doors for their tune ”Break On Through“, it didn’t take long to realize just how important a marketing tool music videos would be.
Even with the web saturated in video content, it seems that if you don’t have a video of your band posted, you are missing out on your most valuable tool to market your band. In Jac’s own words,
“I think Youtube is the strongest place you can be. If it’s good, and it’s on Youtube, it has a really good shot (at going viral). I think you can see a lot of originality and learn more about an artist through the video, what they are trying to say… you get into their head better with a visual tool”.
Watch the interview here:
YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER…
Everyone knows the old expression, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”, and it still holds true today. I just had an excellent conversation with Jay from Winter Of Freedom via Facebook, and he made this point with respect to a topic about self-promotion that we brought up last Monday on The Stepping Stone when his band Winter of Freedom were our guests.
Self-promotion can be a good thing and a bad thing. Its good to get the word out about who you are and what you do, but knowing who your audience is, and promoting yourselves in the right way is key to making your online self-promotion efforts effective. I did mention that earlier in a previous blog post as well.
So does making a lot of noise guarantee you’ll get noticed. Probably yes, but who are the ones noticing you? Are they of any real value? Much like having thousands of people following you on Twitter, just because they’ve heard of you doesn’t mean they are actually paying attention. A popularity contest? Yes, but to what end? Would you rather have 5,000 people who really don’t give a rat’s ass about what you have to say listed as your friends or peeps on Twitter & Facebook, or 1,000 people who really love your music, and can’t wait to hear your next song release or find out where you are playing live next?
I think you already know the answer to that. At the end of the day it is quality over quantity that will win you the race. And while we’re throwing around old expressions, Jay’s point is the most valuable.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Think about this one the next time you post something on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace about your band. Make what you say on your band’s fan pages count by giving some value to the reader/follower/fan. Give them a reason to drink the water.
Winter of Freedom “Wonderland”
IS YOUR BAND A “BRAND”?
You and your music are a product. If you’ve never thought of it that way before, now would be a good time to start.
One of the many tasks indie bands & artists have today include networking in ways that were never possible 10 years ago. For some, this is a double edged sword. For others its simply another way to stay connected with their fan base and collect new fans. But is that enough?
So why would you need to worry about branding if you aren’t signed with a label? Branding is very important because:
1. It differentiates you from everyone else in the networking communities, giving you a recognizable face the crowd – official band logo for example
2. It gives you an opportunity to market products like t-shirs & posters for profit
3. It says you mean business & want to be taken seriously
If your band signed up with an agency tomorrow, the first thing they would do is brand you. And lets face it…should you be signed by a label, in the label’s eyes you are one of their brands they represent; a commodity to be packaged and sold to the public.
Dominate the minds of those who know you now, and will know of you in the future by branding yourself in social communities & the marketplace.