Sunday Thought Series: A Village of One?

When it comes to the indie music world, I operate under a simple M.O.

Everybody supports everybody.

Independent musicians, radio hosts, bloggers, photographers, producers and supporters already face an uphill battle. The music industry has certain measures in place to ensure that they control the narrative of what’s best for business. It’s no secret or surprise that certain artists are pushed to the moon, while others and their genres – who else is sick of hearing, “Rock is dead?” – are downplayed as insignificant. As time has gone on, and depending on your market, terrestrial radio play and mainstream publicity has become more difficult to come by on a typical indie artist’s budget, and much less opportunity is often the result.

So, the indie community and the internet prides itself on being the counter-culture; the foil to the mass-produced, overly processed content put forth by “the machine.” This self-proclamation is well-intentioned, sure – however, the catch is that the indie community will never be an effective counter-culture if everyone involved doesn’t work together.

Yet, there’s a sense of competition that permeates the indie world, with internet radio stations that all claim to be #1, radio shows and venues who close their doors to certain genres, and artists who, at times, arrive to a show, play, and leave, without so much as a second thought to get to know the other bands sharing their bill.

In a world full of social media noise and clutter – from branded content, to that aunt who shares every sassy Minion “quote” she can get her hands on – your one band, podcast, blog or venue will not bring about change on its own. A movement to point the “noise” in our direction requires strength in numbers. Therefore, we should not only look at our places in the indie world in an individual context. Instead of focusing on being “number one,” we need to look at the people around us – regardless of genre – and determine how we can raise up together. How can we, as a united community, fight for and achieve more relevance – and how can we do so while achieving a balance between individual and group success?

For starters, I suggest that you check out some artists you don’t yet know. Buy their music and go to their shows. Uncover things you like about different genres, and expand your horizons. Find some indie music media – radio shows, podcasts and blogs – and start to follow them. Reach out to the folks doing the work, tell them how much you appreciate what they do, and spread the word about it. Use your platform – whatever it is – to strengthen the indie community into a force to be reckoned with.

It’s going to take a village – here at home, and the world over – for our vast music community to get the respect it deserves. Don’t be a village of one.

The Quinn Spinn Super Saturday: Live-tweeting interviews starting today at 10 a.m.

On Monday, The Quinn Spinn makes its Lehigh Valley Underground debut. We’re celebrating by recording a whole slew of upcoming interviews here on Super Saturday, starting today at 10 a.m.

Join The Quinn Spinn on Twitter, as we live-tweet throughout the next few hours of interviews with artists like John Scargall, D.S. Bradford, Rod McCoy and uMan ERA.

Also, don’t miss the return of The Quinn Spinn this Monday, February 1. DJ Pearlman of REVEL 9 joins us to talk about the band’s new album, “The Reality Crush!”

Review: REVEL 9 – The Reality Crush

Catch DJ Pearlman of REVEL 9 on The Quinn Spinn‘s return episode this Mon., Feb. 1 on SoundCloud and iTunes!

Artist: REVEL 9
Album: The Reality Crush (LISTEN)
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2015
Genre: Hard Rock

Long Island-based hard rockers REVEL 9 have developed a signature sound over the years; one that features pensive – sometimes brooding – lyrics with heavy instrumentals. That sound has evolved a step further on the band’s latest release, “The Reality Crush.”

Frontman DJ Pearlman has made strides as a vocalist from 2011’s “The Razorblade Diaries.” Pearlman’s ability to convey emotion – you can sense his anguish right away on a track like “Senseless Tragedy” – brings the listener in to hang on his every word he sings. Pearlman combines thoughtful lyrics, good vocal range and pointed delivery, making him a force to be reckoned with on “The Reality Crush.”

Musically, it is apparent that the band challenged itself on “The Reality Crush.” Album closer “Say” features hard rock chords over jazz rhythms, making it an intriguing listen for rock fans and music theory aficionados alike. Meanwhile, “Wailo” features tricky vocal rhythms over a dark tone set by the song’s bass intro, and is among REVEL 9’s finest work so far. “Quietmind” also sees the band pushing past old boundaries by featuring Raiana from KHz, who offers a soulful female vocal element to the band’s sound.

After listening through “The Reality Crush,” it is easy to understand just why REVEL 9 has an increasing number of hard rock fans excited. Their music is equal parts catchy and aggressive, and “The Reality Crush” establishes them further as a band with the power and ability to appeal to the masses.

Take a Look Inside Rofo Audio’s “Now Broadcasting”

Rofo Audio, a rock band from nearby Royersford, took 18 months to create their debut album, “Now Broadcasting.” Their passion towards this project shines through, not only in the band’s music, but in the band’s willingness to document its journey for all to see.

We were made aware of this band and its webisode series Inside “Now Broadcasting” on our Facebook page, and we wanted to make sure we shared it. It’s an honest and in-depth look at the band’s creative process, and we think creators of original music will be able to relate.

The first episode is below for your convenience!


Lights Out in Philly?

Yesterday, reported that Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla proposed a bill that would require all musicians who gig in the nation’s fifth-most populous city to provide their names, phone numbers and addresses – you know, “register” – with the city’s venues. Upon request, the venues would be required to surrender that information to police.

Squilla went on to say that this bill was proposed in the interest of public safety, telling, “Giving performers’ information to police when requested enables them to review past performances to see if there were any public safety issues during their events.”

This proposed legislature, in my opinion, is absurd. To pin “public safety issues” on a particular act (or genre) because folks who attended a show may have gotten out of hand is unfair. Anyone who has ever been to a show – and, just saying, I’ve never seen a city councilman wearing a Slayer t-shirt on the scene – knows that the vast majority of people who act a fool on a night out do so on their own volition, and not because they are incited by a particular artist.

This bill to make artists register – like certain sets of criminals are required to – due to the actions of a few bad apples is unreasonable and damaging, both to the artists and the city’s thriving music scene. And, at the end of the day, it sounds like little more than an ignorant gripe about “those darn kids and their rock/rap/devil/pick-a-genre music” from a yacht-rocking, out-of-touch (grand)father.

The venues don’t make out well in this scenario, either. Squilla’s bill proposes that venues will have to pay a steeper performance licensing fee, which would go from $100 per year to $500 every two years. Many Philly venues – some of which are struggling to keep their doors open in the first place – may balk at this number, opting to forgo live entertainment altogether. This would mean fewer opportunities for a city full of immense talent, which would be the real crime.

If passed, this bill has the potential to bring a bustling arts community to its knees. The hard work, dedication and talent that has been put forth into making Philly a great music destination should not be discounted, and it’s time for the scene to rise up and fight for its life as we know it.

Sign the petition and let Mark Squilla know that his bill is unacceptable.