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Archive for August, 2014

Hello everyone,

 

as promised, IEM will relaunch a website. If all goes well, the website will go live before the month of August turns into September. In fact, a version with limited content will go live within a week if the final testing proves fruitful. A few things are different than they have been in the past.

 

  1. Reviews are still the centerpiece of the website, but they will be displayed differently. There will be an extensive discography for many of the artists I cover here at Inner Ear Media. This does not mean I reviewed all of these records, but it provides an extra service / context towards what a certain band or musician has accomplished in his/her/their career. Previously written reviews will slowly be added to the website, so if your favorite band or artist is lacking in reviews for the moment, don’t fret, those will be added in a jiffy.
  2. The site will become a little more interactive, if everything works out. There will be more audio & video (streaming, of course) and every once in a while we’ll have an exclusive download available. Also, community voting, periodic chat (w/ special guests) and contests will be implemented into the website in the next few months. I’m very excited about this part.
  3. Independent musicians will get more involvement in Inner Ear Media. As you all know, I’ve been covering certain bands and musicians for over 10 years, starting on Myspace when this thing was still called The Music Vault. Some of these artists are being approached to see if they want to check in every so often to write a little guest blog entry. Those entries can be about many different things: little anecdotes from the road, songwriting tips, an insight into the life of an independent musician, talking about inspirations and goals, etc. etc. These artists will get their own subpage on the website which you can find under ‘connected artists’. This doesn’t mean Inner Ear Media is in any way officially affiliated with these artists, but it means they are favorites of the website that I’ve been following for a long time and hopefully they will be able to provide some insight into their work and expression.
  4. Interviews. In the past, interviews was more or less an additional service on the website, not really a centerpiece. Interviews are often hard to schedule and take some time to conduct, so don’t expect interviews to pop out every week, but there are going to be more regular updates with new interviews.
  5. News reel. The website will have a news reel with short news messages and behind this reel will be a page on which I will cover some news concerning artists we feel is interesting to share with you. Think of award wins, TV appearances, release notices, etc.

 

These will be the most important changes to the website, but more, smaller changes will be implemented throughout the next few months. If you have any suggestions or can offer help with the website, you are always welcome to contact me. Any and all help, constructive criticism and suggestions are always welcome. This weblog will continue to exist, alongside facebook, twitter and last.fm pages, so the easiest way to contact is through Facebook, Twitter or comment to this blog.

 

Thank you all for your support throughout the years. It means the world to me and I hope to see you all visit the new website when it goes live. Thank you!

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utrechtlrcernieMusic is an instrumental part of my life and it has been for many, many years. I often connect to bands and musicians that the masses haven’t (yet) heard of. This is more of a subconscious thing because my philosophy is that whether a song is famous or not has nothing to do with it being a good or a bad song. In fact, I don’t really believe in the monikers good and bad when it comes to songs. I know, I know, when you get down to techniques or progressions or blatant copying of others you could apply those tags to music, but to me, that’s not really the important part of it. Music is emotion, music is connecting with others and if a song strikes a chord with you, to you that will be a really good song. And that’s how it’s supposed to work. Everyone will have a different opinion about music because it is extremely personal.

 

And when it comes to live music, it doesn’t get much more personal than a livingroom concert (or a similar intimate setting) because it most often literally means singer versus a couple dozen people in the audience. The songs are really going to be going straight from the musician’s mouth to the listener’s ear. It may sound very confrontational but in reality, it really doesn’t feel like that. Because it’s in a homely and informal setting with interested people who are trying to connect, it almost always provides a comfortable feeling.

 

Tonight I attended a livingroom show at Utrecht LRCs, which is run by two wonderful people (Emile & Antonia). They have a cozy, homely space they specifically use to hold small, intimate shows with artists that aren’t quite the big ticket names yet but have a solid following. They hosted shows with the likes of Bushwalla, Jason Mraz, Jay Nash and Ryan Dilmore, among others. I hadn’t really heard of Utrecht LRCs before, even though there seems to be a solid overlap between the musicians they host and the ones I cover here at Inner Ear Media. So this meeting was certainly overdue.

 

Tonight it was the chance for Ernie Halter, an artist Inner Ear Media has covered for quite some years, to show what he is made of. I was very excited to finally meet him and hear his tunes played live. I walked in a little early and was immediately welcomed by Emile and Antonia and Ernie was already setting up his ‘stage’. Before I knew it, he approached me to say hi and chat for a while. This immediately set the tone for what would charaterize the whole evening: a really good time!

 

Ernie Halter played for about 90 minutes, taking requests, mashing up a couple of his own songs with covers and if he didn’t remember how a song went, he’d just look it up and before you knew it, he was playing the song anyway. He played songs from most of his records and much more than at a normal show, a livingroom show allows the artist to tell the stories behind the songs and it gives you a little insight in how songs come to fruition, what the life of an independent musician looks like and how songs and music in general have that special superpower of connecting with others. As Ernie said it himself:”each song is like a little adventure and you never know where it’s going to take you.”

 

After a short break, he played for another hour or so and played many more requests on both guitar and keyboard and spared no effort to make the night a special experience for all that were there. He didn’t just play songs, he entertained. He listened to the people around and really interacted. Those of you who know Ernie or have been lucky enough to attend his shows will most likely confirm this, but the dude is just a really great guy and on top of that he writes and sings excellent songs that you can really connect to.

 

So if you ever have the chance to see Ernie Halter live, I would urge you not to hesitate and just go. It really is worth your time and money. And if you are ever in or near Utrecht in the Netherlands and Utrecht LRCs is hosting a show, you should also take my advice and go visit them. First of all, you are going to have a splendid time because their setup is perfect for these kind of small shows and the hosts are incredibly nice, second, they have an excellent taste in music. Third, and I hope this won’t keep you away, I might get to say hi to you, because while this was my first Utrecht LRC experience I have a feeling it will not be my last.

Emile and Antonia also made photos, videos and recordings, so check their website to see when it becomes available!

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Cloudmachine wins IMA for best rock/indie album

The annual Independent Music Awards are a prestigious award for bands and artists recognized for their ability to be exceptional within their field. This, of course, is a relative term but it also defines something as being really, really, really good. So this term shouldn’t be used lightly.

 

In the case of Cloudmachine, a Dutch band centered around singer and main composer Ruud Houweling, this term is not applied without merit. Cloudmachine isn’t easily defined as a rock band, pop band, alternative band or any other (sub)genre. They manage to walk the tightrope between these archaic labels. Both sonically and lyrically the band mixes flavors in a way only great artists have done before them. Cloudmachine’s music has the ability to grab you as a listener and pull you in. With clever arrangements and poetic imagery, the songs paint a picture in your mind. When you open yourself up, Cloudmachine will take you somewhere with their songs. This is an example of being exceptional as an artist and this is why this award is well deserved.

 

Check out Cloudmachine’s latest album, A Gentle Sting. For more information on the band and their music, visit their website.

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