The Fire is Moving!

Hi, embers. I hope you have enjoyed the blog for these past few months. This blog will continue on, but with a new name, look, and feel. If you liked what you saw here, then definitely continue to follow me on The Sound on Fire. Same idea, but a little different. The Sound on Fire has a cleaner look and a broader focus, since it will be trying to focus on music as a whole, rather than just indie music. So please help me try to #SpreadTheFire with this new website!

Thanks for the views and feedback.

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#BurningThoughts: Record Store Day!

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Tomorrow is the third Saturday of April tomorrow and for many music lovers this date causes excitement because that means it is Record Store Day (RSD). On this day, record stores across the nation open up their doors to hundreds of music lovers itching to pick up exclusive releases from big and independent artists and get some great deals on music.

There are hundreds of exclusive releases from a wide variety of artists coming out tomorrow; everything from Frank Zappa to The Notorious B.I.G. to Tame Impala. For a full list of releases go here, and for a full list of participating stores click here.

What are you planning to get tomorrow? Let me know in the comments.

#BurningThoughts: Goodbye, Roseland Ballroom

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© Roseland Ballroom (http://www.roselandballroom.com/)

Roseland Ballroom is a historic New York City venue that has almost a century of art and culture history. Unfortunately, the venue closed yesterday, Monday, April 7th after Lady Gaga finished a seven show run at the historic venue.

The famous dance hall was in built 1922 by Louis Brecker, with financial support from the Yuengling Beer company. It was initially designed specifically for ballroom dancing, but quickly changed as jazz and swing swept the country. Roseland has changed a lot since the 1920s, but always remained a landmark music and dance venue in New York City.

Throughout its 95 year history it has housed thousands of famous and not-so-famous musicians; from Louis Armstrong to Prince to Nirvana to The Beastie Boys. While the venue is mainly designed for music and dancing, plenty of organizations and celebrities have walked through those doors as well. Buzzfeed did an article of 28 photos from the venues history, which shows the variety of events, celebrities, and musicians that have graced the dance hall.

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Kurt Cobain in 1993 © Ebet Roberts / Getty Images

Tell me what your experiences were at the Roseland Ballroom. Put it either in the comments or tweet me your responses to @thesoundisfire with the hashtag #GoodbyeRoseland. I will retweet the best comments!

#BurningThoughts: Soundsupply Supplies What Music Lovers Demand

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The modern music lover is left with a big problem these days. They love music and most of them want to own it either in physical files on their computers and MP3 Players or records and CDs in their rooms. And at the same time, a lot of them want to support the bands that they love.

Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are great and might actually be the saving grace of the declining music industry. But they charge money for music that you cannot own and there are several articles about how some streaming services like Spotify cheat the musicians, enough so that Thom Yorke (of Radiohead fame) would pull his music from the service and another band attempts to cheat it. Although, there are contesting reports that Spotify is not as bad as some musicians claim.

This paradox is helped remedied by a new way to purchase and support music called Soundsupply. The concept for Soundsupply is simple: music lovers can purchase music (in either .MP3 or FLAC format) in cheap bundles called “drops” that are only available for a limited time.

Screenshot 2014-04-04 14.41.20Drops usually contain about 10 – 12 albums and can be anywhere from $12 to $15, and sometimes even free depending on the size of the drop. Some of them are developed by the people at Soundsupply themselves or by guest curators, like indie duo Ivan & Alyosha (available now).

With drops only being about $15 at the most (about the cost of physical CD today), you can get over a dozen albums for the price of one. And the best thing about it, is that 73% of profits from the drops go to the artists involved. If the idea of cheap, great music that you get to actually download and keep forever does not interest you, then you are on the wrong website.

Go to Soundsupply now and pick up two free drops now from touring bands: The Wonder Years and La Dispute. You can also pick up the drop made by guest curator Ivan & Alyosha for $12, as well as all 12 chapters of The Emo Diaries for $15. And if that was not enough, sign-up for their mailing list and get 17 songs free.

Soundsupply is the great and legal solution to the problems plaguing the modern music lover today.

Pharrell ~ Happy (Woodkid Sad Remix)

This remix of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” by Woodkid is one of the reasons why I love music so much. For those that do not know, “Happy” is a chart-topping song that has annoyed people to no end with its upbeat and damn-near sugar sweet feel; at the moment is one of the most played songs on the Radio and currently the top song in America on Spotify. What Woodkid did with this song is genius because by turning the accompaniment from funky synths and uptempo drums to beautiful piano and strings in the minor key, he has turned the song from happy to melancholy, carefree to brooding. By changing one element of the song, the entire song gets flipped onto its head and its meaning and interpretation changes.

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No more remixes of Happy, please. There have been some excellent contributions (Neus, Robots With Rayguns, Mountal) but this one is definitely the last for me, and a fitting way to kill the trend dead, simply for the ingenuity in taking the bright majors of the original and transposing down to the minor chords, giving the track a somber, melancholy alter ego. A tip of the hat then to Yoann Lemoine, aka French polymath Woodkid, who was the creative director behind the single’s 24-hour music video concept.

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#FlashVideos: Folkin’ Around at The Lamp Post

Tucked in the corner of a small bar and grill on Second Street in Jersey City, NJ, is a three-piece band called O’Dea, Conte, & Trotta (working title) that is keeping the place lively and the crowd happy with their Americana/folk styled music.

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 The band features Ken Trotta on the upright bass, Dan O’Dea on mandolin and fiddle, and Nick Conte on guitar. The members have been playing their respective instruments for years and are veteran musicians, being in and out of bands, most of them for over a decade.

While the O’Dea, Conte, & Trotta incarnation of the band is only about a month old, the members play in a band that plays Irish music called Whiskey & Porter that has been around longer for almost three years and has good success. The move to Americana music on the side was inspired by the repetitive nature of their Irish music sets.

“The Irish band is fun,” said Trotta. “But it’s the same sound, it’s almost like a master set every week. Not that we don’t enjoy playing Irish music, but this a lot more fun.”

IMG_2295Individually, the band members have accomplished a lot in their careers. O’Dea has played with acts such as Pete Seeger, Clarence Clemons (of The E Street Band fame), and On The Radio. Trotta has also played with members of The Chieftains and The Three Irish Tenors. Finally, Conte has played Bob Weir of Ratdog and with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band that famously had Janis Joplin as their lead singer.

“We’re the supergroup of opening bands,” said Trotta.

Conte, the newest member of the trio, and was brought in after O’Dea and Trotta saw him playing at a local bar. He was excited to play the Americana/bluegrass genre for the first time at the Lamp Post.

“This is my first time here,” said Conte. “I’ve been doing the classic rock thing. It’s a bit of my first time playing bluegrass out. I grew up on it, but it is my first playing it live.”

When asked about their upcoming events, O’Dea responded: “Upcoming stuff, we got a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day dates. Then we are also playing the New Jersey Folk Festival at Rutgers University.”

#HotCast: Sound of War

I sat down with army veteran Blake Boles to discuss how music affected his time during active duty and what role music played in a strategic context. This type of post is a little experimental and I would love some feedback on what you think of this piece and whether or not you would like more to come. This version is a demo so expect a possibly edited version at some point in the future.

#BurningQuestion: What Is Your Most Anticipated Album of 2014?

2014 has just started and we already got some pretty awesome albums like Beck’s Morning Phase and Broken Bell’s After the Disco. But it is only February and that means we have 10 more months of amazing music to listen to. From Foster the People’s anticipated sophomore release to Adele’s follow up to her record breaking album 21. The questions on the poll to the right are just a few of the albums that have me salivating. Are you excited for any of them? Or do you have another album in mind. Let me know on the poll.

#ScorchingCut: “Drop The Game”

Artist: Flume & Chet Faker / Title: Drop The Game

Vocalist Chet Faker and electronic producer Flume found they made quite the duo when a song “Left Alone.” And now they have an EP out together called Lockjaw, which Drop The Game is featured on as the lead single. Chet Faker’s classic, soulful voice contrasts with the electronic backup provided by Flume, which is a popular trend among music with artists like Alex Clare and John Newman. Find out more about this Aussie duo on their respective Twitter accounts: @flumemusic and @Chet_Faker.

 

#BurningThoughts: 5 Things You Should Probably Stop Staying About Music

1. “I listen to ‘real music.'”

Out of all of my biggest pet peeves regarding music, this is probably my number one. There is no such thing as real music, because there is no such thing as fake music. All music is real music and you do not get to devalue another artist’s music just because it is not something you appreciate yourself. Listening to tUnE-yArDs does not make you better than someone who enjoys listening to Katy Perry. Music is art and, therefore, subjective, which means that you can like it just because you like it. Do not feel ashamed for the artists that you like and never feel like you have to justify the artists that you like.

2. “If you don’t like [INSERT NAME OF ARTIST HERE], then you clearly have no soul.” 

This one is partially related to the last point. Not liking a specific artist for whatever reason does not make you a bad person, or less than human. I understand that this statement is a hyperbole and few people literally mean this when they say it. But it is these types of statements that music snobs use to oppress other people with their music. By all means, please share music. I think some of the most beautiful relationships come out of sharing music, that is why I started blogging in the first place. However, please do not shove music that you like down other people’s throats and let them enjoy who they like.

3. “Music is my everything, my soul.”

Okay, I like music. I really do. I hope that the fact that I blog about music is enough validation for you. But, believe it or not, music is should not be the entirety of your life. Music is a great form of artistic expression and by far my favorite, but enjoy a movie, a television show, a conversation with friends. Take the headphones off everyone once in a while and enjoy other experiences. Life has way more to offer than just music, so take it in moderation.

4. “I hate [INSERT NAME OF MUSIC GENRE, MOST LIKELY COUNTRY, HERE], it’s so stupid.”

Now, I say this with a bit of hypocrisy, because I use to say the same thing, but that is why you should not say it. I used to hate the hip-hop/rap genre until I started listening to other artists who mixed hip-hop/rap elements with other styles of music (e.g. Gorillaz). Slowly, I started to understand and appreciate the genre. Now, I am by no means a hip-hop/rap connoisseur, but now I can actually enjoy it. All I am saying is to give an artist a change, and do not write them off instantly just because they play a genre that you do not like.

5. “New music is so bad, only old music is good.”

I like the Beatles (in fact, they are my favorite band and expect a post about them soon), the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Queen (I absolutely love Freddie Mercury), and other bands and artists from the past. Do not even get me started on 80s music. It is great music, I know. But there is still plenty of great music being made today, you just have to keep your ears open and do some Internet digging. Their are plenty of artists out there still doing big band, psychedelic rock, and other classic genres. Some of them are doing homages to the great artists of the past and some of them are mixing those elements with more modern ones.

In summary, this article is saying to keep open ears about all types of music and do not feel superior because you listen to Artist X. Unless you want to be a jerk, then by all means continue.