I started my AP journey on the forums (almost 10 years ago nonetheless), so the community will always hold a special place in my heart; it's just too much fun bugging people around here on a daily basis. Jokes aside, our community is easily the best one I've come across in all of the years I've spent being social on the internet. There's always someone around to have discussions with about all sorts of media, personal problems and anything in between. I think if there's one thing that AP has always done best is make people feel like they are not alone, and perhaps a little more normal too. Simply put, our community is pretty incredible (despite the few fucktards here and there, but then again... they exist everywhere in life eh) and you should stop by if you haven't yet.
With that being said, I've decided to feature the End of the Year Lists of a few regular users. They spend a lot of time on our forums and keep things entertaining, and they like pretty damn good music on top of that, so take a moment and check these lists out:
It goes without saying that 2011 was a great year for music, and things are looking good so far (great bands making announcements left and right, while others are reuniting) in 2012 as well. May we all get overwhelmed with amazing music before the world ends!
Iíve had so much going on (music wise) today that Iím finding it a bit difficult to wrap my mind around it. Iím pretty exhausted mentally at this point (3:30 am), so I wonít even attempt to write about whatís happened in great detail ó but Iíd like to highlight the following events/news because itís just been a special sort of day, if you will.
LazkerbeakExclusive: easily one of the best, and one of my personal favourite, exclusives that Iíve set up. It was just something else, so take a listen for yourself.
Angus & Julia Stone: anyone that has known me for a few yearsÖ knows how much this band means to me. They made me become involved in the music scene so much more than ever before because I was determined to make the world listen; their success proved that I had the power to influence many, many listeners out there and gave me the confidence I needed. But enough about that ó both of these amazing musicians (Angus Stone / Julia Stone) will release solo albums this year. Iíve been on cloud 9 over this news all day, and things only got better after their announcement: I was able to get in touch with them. Just incredible. Canít think of other words to describe this.
Dreamend, Great Lake Swimmers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Xiu Xiu, Horse Feathers, etc..: these are some of my favourite bands, and I not only received press releases re: new albums, but actually received some of the albums as well. To say that Iíve been overwhelmed with good music in the past ~40 hours would be an understatement. With that being said, please take a moment to check out all these bands; theyíre wonderful.
Graveface Records: some good stuff should be happening with them soon, and I am very excited about this.
Itís almost 4 am now and everyone (but me) is asleep. I donít expect anyone to read this, but if anyone does, itís probably people who are constantly supporting what I do (read: the ones who keep me going). Either way, I just needed to make a note of this ridiculously eventful day. Perhaps now that I did, I will be able to sleep. But first things first ó this Dreamend record needs to end before I can rest!
It's no secret that I have made a lot of progress in terms of "indie" coverage on AP.net in the past two years. I'm extremely appreciative and thankful to all my contacts in the industry that have helped make this happen; those who have actually taken a chance with the AP audience despite knowing that their bands may not receive as much attention on a site such as ours. I personally believe that is key in advertising--reaching new audiences. It's great to reach a specific audience that will undoubtedly care about a certain band or genre, but isn't it also a good thing to reach new ones? Or is it only important for bands to be promoted to already existing fans? I can simply not wrap my mind around the fact that certain labels/agencies believe the latter to be more important.
The last point essentially brings me to the biggest issue that I deal with on a daily basis: AP.net being stereotyped as a site that only covers a certain genre of music--pop punk. If one took the time to venture on to the forums, they would soon discover that pop punk is most certainly not even the most "popular" genre on the site at this point. Our readers are interested in "indie" bands." They do love to see features of bands that aren't or don't sound anything like Blink-182. Sure, maybe my readers are a little lazier in replying to my features than the kids who make BrokeNCYDE threads hit 100+ replies in news posts. That is irrelevant, however, because replies are not necessarily an indication of preference.
What prompted this little rant is the fact that various other tiny blogs seem to be able to get exclusives over AP.net, and there is only one reason why this happens: stereotypes about AP.net (and the site name itself), and the music that we supposedly "cover." No, we do not cover just pop punk. No, we don't only care about pop punk. Our site has one of the most diverse fan bases out there, and a little research would easily prove this. So perhaps, instead of catering to Pitchfork-lite sites that are x10 less popular than AP.net, why not take a chance with us? Why not reach a new audience? It would most certainly benefit your bands. As time has shown, various "different" bands have clearly succeeded in attracting new fans by being promoted on our site. Ellie Goulding is one of the most popular pop acts on our site at the moment--I don't think I need to say more regarding our readers' diverse music taste.
My job can be extremely frustrating a lot of the time, especially when my coverage and efforts in general do not yield many rewards (in a general or personal sense). Reaching and building a new fan base on a site that is mainly known for "pop punk" music is difficult. And convincing the music industry that we are not defined by any one genre is even more so. However, despite my job seeming kind of "out of place" and under appreciated on AP from time to time, I would never choose to work on any other site. Why? Because I am proud of our diversity. I am proud of seeing a Top 30 end of the year list that's as different as ours.
Most importantly, I love what I do, and I love doing it right here, on AbsolutePunk.net. I love bringing new music to our readers, because music lovers know no genres--they only know music.
This song is one of my favourites of the year, from one of my favourite albums. Jeremy Messersmith's music is so reminiscent of Elliott Smith's and this is one of his best songs. Despite the dark lyrics, it's just lovely. So lovely.
[button=http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/08%20-%20A%20Girl,%20A%20Boy,%20And%20A%2 0Graveyard.mp3]A Girl, A Boy, And A Graveyard[/button]
Lucy takes the long way home
Meets me in a field of stone
She says I don't know how I'm supposed to feel
My body's cold my guts are twisted steel
I feel like I'm some kind of Frankenstein
Waiting for a shock to bring me back to life
But I don't want to spend my time
Waiting for lightning to strike
Underneath a concrete sky
Lucy puts her hand in mine She says life's a game we're meant to lose
But stick by me and I will stick by you
I'm like a princess in a castle high
Waiting for a kiss to bring me back to life
But I don't want to spend my time
Waiting for just another guy
Seeing all the new features that Jason is adding to the new AP.net layout is making me consider keeping up with my own blog. I'm extremely excited for all the new changes to take place - everything looks fantastic. Can hardly wait to see them in action.
With that being said, I had an interesting weekend. A surprise visit by my friend, who lives in Toronto, made it very enjoyable. I miss her and wish that she, along with other friends there, still lived here. I suppose distance makes me cherish our moments together more than I ever did before.
A while ago, Dave Fischoff took the time to write about how he made his newest album The Crawl. I would like to thank him for taking the time to do this and I can't wait to work with him again in the future. Please check out this record because it deserves to be heard.
The Making Of The Crawl.
When I first started working on The Crawl, I knew I wanted to do something that was more electronic and sample based, but I also wanted to make an album that was very much rooted in songs. And since the guitar is the only instrument I really know how to play, I started with that. When I first started working on the album, I came up with a bunch of different little guitar ideas, recorded them and wrote them down so Iíd remember how to play them. These werenít complete songs by any means, but eventually, after Iíd come up with several dozen or so, I started going back to all of these little ideas and figuring out ways I could piece them together into larger songs. It was kind of like doing a sonic jigsaw puzzle. In my head, I could hear how one little chord progression might work well with another little chord progression, even though they may have been written months apart. I started putting parts together, changing the occasional key or chord to help things fit properly and writing new bridges to help bring things together. Eventually I got to a point where I had an albumís worth of new material that I could play straight through from start to finish on a guitar.
While I was coming up with these new song ideas, I was also collecting lots of new sounds. Iíd sample anything I could get my hands on: stuff Iíd recorded with my minidisc, movie soundtracks, sound effects CDs, other peoples albumsÖanything. I ended up putting together a pretty large sample library (thereís several thousand different samples on my computer right now) but they arenít samples in the way a lot of people might think of them- they arenít entire phrases of music lifted from other peopleís recordings. Theyíre usually not much more than a single sound- a violin note that I can loop and play back at different pitches, a single kickdrum hit, or a steady hum that a machine makes that I can loop, tweak and turn into a new kind of instrument on the computer. So after Iíd written all of these songs on guitar, I moved on to the computer and, using a program called Reason, I started to shape all of the samples and eventually built them up into the arrangements you hear on the album. Each song on the album has anywhere from 50 to 100 unique samples contained within it.
After all of the arrangements were in place, I moved on to the rhythm tracks. And this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole process- making the beats. Up until this point, Iíd only used really simple, repetitive rhythm loops, like some of the stuff you hear on my second album, The Ox and the Rainbow, but on The Crawl I got a lot more interested in creating really full sounding rhythm tracks that develop and complement the rest of the music.
After that, when all of the arrangements were finished and the beats were in place, I started piecing together the lyrics. I know some musicians like to start with words and then add the music, but I like to work the other way. I like having a solid musical framework already built that I have to fit lyrics into. Itís one of those examples of how working within certain constraints can really fire up your creativity. Iíd been keeping notebooks full of lyric ideas all along, mostly just little phrases and stuff, never much more than a line or two. And similar to what Iíd done with all of the separate guitar parts that I eventually combined and developed into complete songs, I started picking out phrases I liked from the notebooks, combining them with each other, developing them into more fully realized ideas, and adding new lines until they became finished lyrics. Then I stepped into my walk-in closet that doubles as a recording booth and recorded all of the vocals.
The entire album was recorded in my apartment on a Mac G4 (still running OS9!) with two programs, Reason and Protools, and a single microphone that my friend Jim Zespy loaned me, a CAD E-350. I recorded the entire thing myself and no one, not even the record label, heard a single note of it until it was almost completely finished.