Sunday, February 28, 2016

Taking a break...

It is with heartfelt regret that I post this today. I've decided to step away from the blog for a while. This is something that I've been doing a lot of soul searching over the course of the past year. Regular readers and those who follow me on Twitter have seen the obvious downturn in the number of posts here on MY Indie Music Blog. A funny thing called life seems to have gotten in the way of my best intentions with this blog. What started out as being a bit more "selective" with the artists that I chose to feature has turned into I just don't have the time to commit myself 110% to what I started nearly four years ago. As my daughters get older, I find that I have less and less time to think about the content that I want to present to you. I have never stopped listening to the music and I never will. I have never stopped supporting independent artists and I never will. I have recently signed on with the Indie Music Coalition to be a content contributor for their online monthly music magazine. That will be the one avenue that I have to post about the music that I am so passionate about. It will also allow me to be more selective with the content because I've got one shot per month to get it out to you.

That being said, please continue to seek me out on Twitter, as well as those of you who I am friends with on Facebook. If any of you would like to connect with me there as well, send me a friend request (search for Carlos Gnipp... I'm pretty easy to find there!). And I WILL continue to support independent artists on my Twitter feed, so please continue to search me out there as well (@cgnipp).

Until we meet again here at MY Indie Music Blog, please, please, please continue to support independent artists. Give indie music a chance!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Top Indie Albums/EPs of 2015

Another year is in the books here at MY Indie Music Blog, so that means it's time for my list of the top albums/EPs for 2015. Unlike last year, when I couldn't bring myself to single out just 10 artists, I made a firm commitment to that number this year. Although the number of posts was down this year from years past, that doesn't mean that I wasn't listening! There was a ton of quality work put out by independent artists all over the globe, and I took in as many of them as my ears and wallet could handle.

So without further ado, here is the MY Indie Music Blog top indie albums/EPs of 2015:

10. Jesse W. Johnson - Primal Scream

The lead single and title track, Primal Scream, is one hell of an indicator as to what's in store for you. At only 5 songs, Johnson manages to pack quite a bit into a small package. He runs the gambit from rock to folk to Americana and back again, and never skips a beat. Song after song flows by and before you realize it, you've been listening for an hour or so on repeat. That's an hour or so well spent.

Jesse W. Johnson official website

 9. Ships Have Sailed - Moodswings

Los Angeles alternative pop/rock/electronic duo Ships Have Sailed are making their debut on MY Indie Music Blog. This is a fine example of "just because I haven't featured them doesn't mean I haven't been listening". From the moment I first downloaded Moodswings and hit play, they felt like an act that I've been listening to for years. Catchy pop melodies blend in well with just enough electronica to pull together a nice sound tailor made for a new musical revolution that is indie music.

Ships Have Sailed official website

8. Star-Splitter - Afterglow

Another first timer on the blog is Atlanta electronic duo Star-Splitter and their debut EP Afterglow. Coming in at just 3 songs, this is what happens when an artist gives you more with less. This is the most melodic, hauntingly beautiful 3 songs I've heard this year. You can hit play and let the songs repeat on an endless loop and get lost in the harmony over and over again. This is a very well put together effort and I can not wait to hear what Andi and Torin have up their sleeves for their full length debut.

Star-Splitter official website

 7. Kingdom of Few - Revolution
A long-time favorite of mine here at MY Indie Music Blog, Kingdom of Few hit our earholes with a rock n roll explosion this summer with Revolution, their highly anticipated follow-up to their 2011 debut EP, Ep. The guys have stepped up their game in quite a substantial way. Revolution is as polished an effort as anything offered up by cookie-cutter mainstream acts. Their sound is more refined. This is rock done right.

Kingdom of Few on Reverbnation

6. Chris Watkins & Drunk Poets - London Can Take It

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Americana sound, and Alaska native Chris Watkins hits all the marks with London Can Take It. This album easily takes top prize for the "not yet featured on this blog" album of the year (if one such prize existed!). I will be righting that wrong soon and get a full length feature up on this newly discovered (to me) talent. I've already begun to check out other offerings by Watkins and only get more excited by the prospect of having his music in my life. He really is an exceptional talent that I can not believe hasn't been discovered by the mainstream. Oh well, their loss is our forever win!

Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets on Soundcloud

5. Message to Venus - Victims & Villains

No strangers to MY Indie Music Blog, Message to Venus made a HUGE statement this year with the release of their highly anticipated full-length debut album Victims & Villains. To say that this is the future of modern rock music is somewhat of an understatement. This is the savior of the genre. Message to Venus put everything they had and then some into a stellar effort. Hard hitting, huge stadium worthy guitar riffs and some of the hardest hitting percusions around wound together tightly by one of the premier frontmen in rock music today, Message to Venus has laid down the gauntlet on today's rock genre. The challenge is now there for the major label acts to try to keep up!

Message to Venus official website

 4. Twelve Years Driven - Twelve Years Driven

 Twelve Years Driven proved that it's never good enough to rest on your own laurels. The guys have taken the old adage of "stepping up their game" to an entirely new level. From the second that you hit play, the band is already at full throttle with Devil's Way and you just know you're in for something special. This four song EP is the best thing going on in the world of metal music right now. Period. There isn't a single artist played on mainstream radio that I'd take over this band right now. These guys are peaking at the right time. I see 2016 being their year!

Twelve Years Driven official website

 3. Featurette - Crave, Volume 1 & 2

 Playing in two distinct volumes, Crave is best described by lead vocalist Lexie Jay as "(a) ‘featurette’ - like a mini movie - so we’ve written the songs to express that story and really help the listener feel what the girl is going through. The first vol. is rather dark (craving passion, lust, destruction - the wild side), and then the second is the resolution (craving love, respect, resolution, self acceptance)..."
I've found that it's nearly impossible to get the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Lexie out of my head. The passion and emotion in the vocals are about as real as they come. What FEATURETTE has done is written a cohesively perfect album that brings back storytelling. There's depth and meaning to every word being sung. It flows perfectly from track to track to tell a distinct story of love and lust from the dark beginnings of Broken to the resolute finisher Procession.

FEATURETTE official website

2. When Particles Collide - This Town

WPC recently celebrated their 5th year together as a band. It's been roughly 4 and a half years of that time that I've been a fan. I've had the pleasure of driving all over Maine and New Hampshire to see them play and have gotten to know Sasha and Chris over the years. I was even in attendance with my daughters when they got married a few summers ago in Bangor. It's their hometown that's on full display on This Town and is a fitting tribute to the town and people who made them what they became as both a band and as individuals. For those who were there and lived these songs, This Town is a tribute to lost lives. Having heard these songs played out on numerous ocassions live, I know first hand the raw emotion and honest truths behind the lyrics. There isn't a harder working duo in the music industry today, and soon, the whole world is going to know what I already do.

When Particles Collide official website

 1. Chaser Eight - Chaser Eight/Naked

2015 was the year of Chaser Eight for me. Having featured them on this blog on multiple ocassions and cutting my teeth with the Chaser Eight live experience, the release of Chaser Eight and the companion EP Chaser Eight Naked, was the turning point in my love affair with this band. There aren't many acts out there, mainstream or indie, that transfer their energy from the studio to the stage as flawlessly as Chaser Eight does. Their artistry is pure and genuine and you never feel put off by the disappointment that what you listened to at home isn't what you heard when you saw them live. I'd even be willing to go out on a limb to say that the live product is a step above the recorded product. And THAT is saying a lot. 2016 promises to deliver more of what I've come to know and love from this band as they have already slated new single releases beginning this month and continuing into March. This is a great time to be a #Crazy8, and I take pride in being the biggest one of all!

Chaser Eight official website 

Support independent artists... give indie music a chance.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jessica Meuse

Country radio, it's time that you took notice of some of the up-and-coming independent artists that are about the take over your airwaves. Today's country radio definitely isn't your parent's country radio. There is quite a bit of pop in today's country, as well as (GASP!) rap. No matter which side of the fence you straddle in this debate, you can not deny the immense talent pool that country radio has to cull from.Tonight's featured artist is one such talent.

Hailing from Slapout, Alabama, USA, Jessica Meuse is a veteran of reality singing competitions, having performed on NBC's The Voice in 2012, and finishing 4th on the 13th season of Fox's American Idol. It was during her stint on Idol that she made show history by being the only contestant to date to perform an original song during live competition. By the time Meuse hit the Idol stage, I had already given up on reality singing competitions. One can only stand to hear the same songs sung season after season by a different set of competitors for so long. However, when the buzz about her performance of her original song Blue-Eyed Lie hit my radar, I was instantly intrigued. When I found Lie, I was not disappointed!

After hearing this song, I wasn't immediately convinced that country radio was in her future. While there is a strong hint of southern rock to the tune, it's her personality that comes out that screams that she's a pop star in the making. Maybe someone along the lines of a modern day Bonnie Raitt was on the verge of being unleashed to shake up mainstream radio. I had my fingers and toes crossed for this! Alas, as she's moved forward working on her upcoming debut EP, she's begun to find her country voice. And I'm okay with that. While she's been working hard on that EP, she's given us quite a few country covers that show what direction she's gone. Based on what I've been hearing, her future is all but a lock as the next big thing on country radio!

There's a level of vulnerability to her voice that let's her emotions flow freely while holding onto that rock n roll edge that has endeared her to her followers, known as the Meuse Mafia. While I'm no industry expert, I'm something even better... a fan, and from what I see and hear from Jessica Meuse, she has that "it" factor that so many try so hard to manufacturer, but for her, it just comes naturally. And for fans of country music, be it pop or traditional, Jessica Meuse is here to bridge that gap and take the genre to a whole new level!

Head over to the official Jessica Meuse website to stay up to date on the progress of her debut EP, including the release of her upcoming single Rio Grande. Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook, and head over to her Soundcloud page to check out some of the coolest cover tunes around!

And as always, check back here on MY Indie Music Blog for all new happenings with Jessica Meuse.

Support independent artists... give indie music a chance.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lukas Rossi "Hello" Adele Cover (Rock Version)

Okay, now that we've gotten the introduction of Lukas Rossi to MY Indie Music Blog out of the way, let's get down to it, shall we?

A little over three weeks ago, Rossi released a video on YouTube of his rock version of Adele's new hit single, Hello. As a general rule, I am not a fan of cover songs. There are some indie acts that I've seen over the years who aspire to be nothing more than a cover band, and that's fine. Most, if not all of them, are very good at what they do. It takes one hell of a cover song to get me excited. I'd rather see today's independent artist spending their efforts on their music, which is what we're here for.

That being said, check out what has me excited these days...

Ladies and gentlemen, this is unfuckingbelieveable. Hands down, this is the absolute best cover of this song out there today. Had Adele never recorded this and it somehow fell into the lap of one Lukas Rossi and he recorded this... holy fuck! In just over three weeks time (and as of the writing of this post), the video has garnered an astonishing 526,467 views! That's almost unheard of for an independent artist on YouTube. There's a huge amount of buzz surrounding this cover as well, and it could become even louder with your help.

I'd love nothing more than to see this video eclipse the 1 million view mark. To make that happen, Rossi needs all of you to watch the video. Don't just watch it here, head over to his YouTube channel, hit subscribe and press play. After you've become addicted to it (like I have), hit play again. Then again. And while you're repeatedly hitting play, share it with everyone you know and ask them to watch and share it. This is what rock n roll dreams are made of. Let's help one of the brightest indie stars around shine even brighter!

Support independent artists... give indie music a chance.

Lukas Rossi

Tonight is the long overdue introduction of one of the most ridiculously talented independent artists in modern rock music.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada native Lukas Rossi has been on the music scene since 1992. My introduction to Lukas was in 2006 when he was a contestant on the CBS reality singing competition Rockstar Supernova. I'll be the first to admit that he wasn't my favorite to win. That distinction went to another artist who has been prominently featured on this very blog (can you guess who it is?), but that doesn't mean that I wasn't instantly a fan of his. I've followed his impressive career for nearly 10 years now thanks to that show, and tonight, you get to experience Lukas Rossi for yourself!

Over the years, Rossi has amassed one hell of an impressive collection of music for us to indulge our souls in. From fronting bands such as Cleavage, Rockstar Supernova, Stars Down, Switchblade Glory and most recently, Halo Method, to his solo material, you have one of the most accomplished independent artists in the world.

This is just a small sampling of what is Lukas Rossi. With one of the most powerfully expressive and unique voices in rock music today, it won't take much longer before the world is again taken over by the sound that's here to save rock n roll.

Make sure you head over to the official Lukas Rossi website for all things Lukas Rossi. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook. Subscribe to his YouTube channel and look for his music on all of the major music streaming services and on iTunes.

And as always, check back here at MY Indie Music Blog for all things Lukas Rossi.

Support independent artists... give indie music a chance.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kingdom of Few - Revolution

Rock n roll: "A type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies."

Revolution: "a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving"

Put those two together and what do you get? You get Calgary, Alberta, Canada indie rockers Kingdom of Few.

A long-time favorite of mine here at MY Indie Music Blog, Kingdom of Few hit our earholes with a rock no roll explosion this summer with Revolution, their highly anticipated follow-up to their 2011 debut EP, Ep. Curtis Butala, lead vocals; John Clarke, drums/vocals; Reno Serani, guitar/vocals and Alex Parks, bass/vocals, have stepped up their game in quite a substantial way. Revolution is as polished an effort as anything offered up by cookie-cutter mainstream acts. Their sound is more refined and ripe with huge stadium worthy guitar riffs and sing along worthy hooks from track to track. This is rock done right.

The only problem that I have with Revolution is that it's only a five song EP! But then, this is a genius marketing ploy by the band... it leaves you craving for more! It's easy to get lost in these five songs, though. Hit play, then hit repeat, and let Kingdom of Few take over your rock n roll soul for a while. You'll be glad that you did!

Make sure you follow the band on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Don't forget to head over to iTunes to download your copy of Revolution and grab a copy of their debut EP while you're there.

And as always, check back here with me at MY Indie Music Blog for all things Kingdom of Few as they happen.

Support independent artists... give indie music a chance.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WHY Unplugged

Something incredible has just happened in the world of independent music. Once in a great while, a band or artist with a voice loud and powerful enough comes along with the ability to reshape our cultural landscape. For this generation, that band is Winnipeg, Manitoba's very own WHY.

Recently, Brian Cook and Eric Nordquist performed an acoustic gig that was released in all of its glory today on YouTube by the band. There's nothing like unplugging the amps to let an artists true artistry shine, which is exactly what Brian and Eric do in this video. Mr. Cook, you have an incredibly powerful voice, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. You have a message to share with the world, "...Never say you're bound by fear. Never let your dreams drown in forgotten years. Hold out for the chance, for the chance to be brave. Time is the essence, from the cradle to the grave..." You give me the courage to continue to be a voice for the independent artist, and for that and for your immense talents that you and WHY continue to share with us, I want to publicly thank you. To those of you reading these words or listening to the music, use your voice to make a difference. The world needs to know of WHY and their message. Let's make sure they hear it.

Support independent artists. Give indie music a chance.