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INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Micheal Bruner, "Midst of a Mistake"

By Michael Bruner Getting tendinitis was surely a setback, but it also proved to be a positive constraint, an evolution in my approach to music. Instead of contorting my hand into a tense, fleshy spider, I did what felt best: Forcing my head and body to meet halfway. I kept writing. I finished the song “Midst of a Mistake,” inspired by a thieving taxi driver in China. I wanted to start producing this song, but I knew the audio production and editing would prove too strenuous to pull off single-handedly.  Just a few weeks after returning from China, I received a message from Rodrigo Cotelo. I’d met him at the first installment of a house show I performed at (shortly after the onset of my tendinitis). He accompanied a handful of talented Jacob’s students who had backed me up on a set of my original songs. I knew Rod and I would click with each other from the moment I found him sitting at a table, pouring a gourd of yerba maté. Rod’s lively spirit, carefree attitude, and co
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INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: MemoCrasher, “Burn”

One gander at their social media presence and it’s not hard to see what aesthetic the rock band MemoCrasher is aiming for. They’re an evening at the Satanic circus where mostly nude, Harlequin-style dominatrix chicks grin maniacally while juggling fire.  The music video for their single “Burn” (below) starts with a top-hated, sinister ringleader informing us that we’re being presented with “a world of sex and violence where war rages as humanity peers over the precipice of doom where all blood is shed and no flowers bloom…” Love it already. While there’s always a place in the music world for the Justin Beibers and Taylor Swifts, we absolutely need bands like this to keep the evil in rock. (Part of being a well-adjusted person is accepting your dark side, no?) Less than a minute into the video, the shock value is intense. Sitting at each five points of a burning pentagram are five evil figures from history. There’s Hitler with a burned face because, you know, he was burned

THE BEST 7 CONCERTS EVER (Change my Mind...)

This article is in response to a Facebook Post , which asked anyone to comment with a list of their 5 favorite concerts. I listed 7 because I couldn’t help myself. While considering my response, an avalanche of memories just came over me, each show being so tightly connected to a certain “era” of my life.  This is why music is the highest art. The cinema of the soul. Our lives feel more meaningful with a soundtrack attached, right? And enjoying that same music played live in the same space as thousands (or even dozens) of other people can be a rapturously cathartic experience. You’re joined, body and soul, into a mass agreement over your shared enjoyment of a particular band. So, yes, concerts can even be religious.  (NOTE: I lived in Miami during the majority of my “rock concert age,” so you’ll notice that a lot of these shows were in South Florida. This is a good thing because, being at the bottom of the country, many performers must go a considerable distance out of the

INDEPENDENT ALBUM RELEASE: Sarah Schonert, “Songs About Sounds”

I know a few too many people who have set aside their hopes for a career in art and/or music because their spouse came along, then the kids. Now there’s laundry to do and bills to pay. Making art seems trivial now. Besides, after looking into the eyes of your child, how could you ever hope to create anything more amazing than that anyway? What other point is there? All you have to say to the world is in this little human being you helped invite here. Bullshit obviously. There are plenty of projects which transcend chores and species duplication. Sarah Schonert is a musician and mother from Peoria. She writes, records, and produces her own music from her home studio. This is how her newest release, Songs about Sounds , became her fourth official LP and TENTH (!) album. Sarah is also an engineer, designer, and painter, so shut up about how busy you are to do that stuff anymore. Her music could be described as Kate Bush or Tori Amos reinterpreted by Jean-Michel Jarre. Sarah m

INDEPENDENT ALBUM RELEASE: Robertas Semeniukas, "Backstage Stories"

Robertas Semeniukas’ new album Backstage Stories is a 20-track tour de force of grandiose, crunching guitars occasionally accented by his Lithuanian vocals, delivered rapid-fire on the opening track, “Kai nieko nebelieka,” as if he’s rapping. During certain points he snarls his lyrics with such emotion that not being able to understand him is actually a little frustrating. You have no idea what he’s singing, but he certainly seems to mean it.  Google Translate helps with the titles at least. The second track is a pleasing, softer standout number that includes (as many do) a duet with a female singer. It’s entitled “Nesustok,” which means “Don’t Stop.” “Kai Tu Sugrisi I Namus,” another melody-heavy duet, is translated into “When I Return You Home.” The songs titled in English are predictably instrumentals. The best of these is “Flying High (S.V.J.S.),” a showcase for Semeniukas’ nimble fret-hammering. (To be exact, only 8 of the songs have vocals.)  An album titled Backsta

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Elise Hayes, “Giving Up”

“You never wanted me to get that tattoo,” sings Nashville recording artist Elise Hayes . “I’m going to get that tattoo.” This the start to her new single “Giving Up,” (co-written with Johnny Mo ) which is about not giving up, an ode to post-relationship defiance. There is freedom in being your own person again, even if you were the one dumped. The music itself is a tapestry of sorts: sonic styles patchworked together into a compact yet pleasing mix. Pounding drums and sitar give way to softer guitar, then back to drums, which sometimes beat rapidly as a door knock. A wake up call. The song often stops and starts as if her thoughts are coming to her in jagged fits as she’s singing them. “You never wanted me to have that haircut / Well, now I do…”   It’s a hard style to pull off but Hayes does it effortlessly. She is a strong singer/songwriter, doubtlessly helped in her confidence from being featured in TV shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” MTV ’s “Siesta Key,” and other

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Ethos, “V: Parents”

Ethos is the stage name for Alex Hlavna, a 19-year veteran of the Cleveland, Ohio music scene where he played guitar , bass, and drums on numerous recordings. He has now released his own song entitled “V: Parents” from his new album Ten Commandments. The V is the Roman numeral for 5, as in the 5th Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”  Each track on the album is titled this way, named after a commandment. Is this some type of “religious rap” or is Ethos being metaphoric? The actual definition of “ethos” is “the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.” Judging from such a moniker and from statements he’s made in interviews, it seems his goal is more about making observations, rather than instructing us that “thou shalt not whatever.” It’s a more provocative approach. The song is a funk-bassline over an electronic beat and soft synths. Meanwhile Ethos ’ voice is anything but soft as he raps about honoring your