iCompositions Newsletter

In this issue:
• iCompositions T-Shirts
• "Songs of Summer" Contest
• Username Changes
• Community Collaboration
• Criminally Overlooked
Artist Spotlight
Apply to be featured in an Artist Spotlight on iCompositions' homepage. Today's applicants could begin receiving a tremendous amount of exposure as early as August 31st.

Submit Application »
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    iCompositions T-Shirts are back!
iC Shirts In response to overwhelming feedback, we have resumed selling iCompositions T-Shirts! For just $14.50, you too can support the community in style.

We've done away with the pre-order sales program. Your order will now be fulfilled shortly after it's placed to cut down on time spent waiting for your shirts.

More importantly to a substantial number of members, orders can now be placed by users from around the world. International shipping will involve longer delivery times but is indeed available.

Thanks to everyone who buys a shirt. Your purchases assure that we're able to keep our community free and open to everyone.

More information » IRS Vote now for "Songs of Summer"
Voting is now open for the Songs of Summer contest! We've had such a tremendous response that we're changing the voting rules a bit. There will be two rounds of voting. After one week of voting, the 10 songs with the most votes will enter the final round of voting. The winners will be selected by the results of that round.

To vote, go to the Songs of Summer entries list, listen to the submissions, and, when you've found the song that best represents your view of summer, click the red "Vote" icon on its song page. Remember that you can only vote once!

Keep in mind that the rules allow only one vote per IP address. This means that you can't vote for the same song with multiple accounts, nor can anyone in your household. If you have family members who use the site, please make sure that they do not vote if you do.

More information » iC Change your iCompositions Username
iCompositions members now have the ability to change the username attached to their account. Your old Artist Page URL will redirect to their new URL and all posts and songs will be attributed to the new name.

Despite the existence of this feature, we strongly discourage members from using it. Changing usernames can be extremely confusing to other members so we hope most people will use for typos and other minor changes.

To change your username, visit Backstage » Preferences and click the Change link next to your current username.

More information » Community Collaboration: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
iCompositions members mfwmiles and Uplink are organizing what is possibly the largest collaboration in iCompositions history: a rendition of the classic tune "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" with 100 artists participating.

But they need your help! 16 verses remain available in this ambitious project. Now is your chance to be a part of it.

More information » "Criminally Overlooked" Music Recommendations
By jdwyer05

Image Hello everyone! We have some really cool tunes lined up for you this week, so let's get right to business!

Last time I wrote about brnPetra. Well she has a son who's mad talented! Brn's the name and making great electronica and pop is his game! His latest release is some great Euro-Pop. You know, the aural soundscapes with lots of catchy and trippy synths and beats. I think "prisma1 (DISTRACTIVE) V2 is quite a trip! I am always amazed that a that's this good has so few listens? Why?! People check out brn's work! Another great track is a collaboration between brn and his mother, the wonderful, dreamy and moody "stup". It feels like it should be in some film noir movie.

Now I have written about my love for concept albums and concept pieces in general. Even with the great wealth of music here, I still tend to go back and listen to an entire album because I like to listen to the story throughout the songs. I'm old fashioned that way. Well brn has made quite an experimental piece, called The Isle and I find it fascinating. It's not for everyone I think, but I love the avant-garde nature of it and how it works as a whole. It's thirteen songs that make up this little opus and if you listen to them all, you'll find yourself on quite a trip! So start by downloading the tunes and then listen to this really cool music. Start first piece "The Isle", is short but very intriguing, and then it went right into the very retro, minimalist and arcade game sounding "A Fistful of Warmth". It starts of on this kind of weird trip, but then the cool melody comes in and the trip starts. Further down the travel "Archipelago" is a really cool musical treat to me. I love the drum programming in this one a lot! The closer, "Trubaduren (We Set Sail) is a perfect closer for this piece. It also reminds me a little bit of Roger Water's more experimental Pink Floyd stuff, like from the The Final Cut and his solo works. I don't know why really, but I guess it's just the mere experimental nature of the music that is reminiscent of his stuff. Sometimes I feel that so many artists are afraid to actually experiment, that it's great to hear someone who's doing just that. That's why I love this site-- so many artists here aren't afraid to take chances and share their experiments with us. Often times, they are quite successful with these experiments!

Now, theGranz is an artist that I love. Well he has a brother, gunk who is making some really great, adventurous music. I first heard about gunk when Matt (theGranz), posted a very cool music video called "Midnight Drive", featuring gunk and his other brother Darryl (inside joke there, all you fans of 80s and 90s TV!). But I really loved the music to this video, and I began to click away, and I became hooked. "She Walked Inside" is just some cool, trippy music with great beats and synths. Very David Bowie/Brian Eno-ish, Heroes-esque type of music.

He's always experimenting. ALWAYS. And as you know, I really dig that!

Then gunk'll take you for a loop with the solemn and beautiful "Piano Song".

"Truckstop Rodeo" is some good ol' angry rock and roll with a political twist. I love it.

For another loud and brash tune, check out the excellent "Turn Out The Lights".

"Llano" takes a walk down the Floyd side, but what a trip! Gunk's a master at soundscapes!

"Fencing Accident" is another great journey into the weird and unique. This one is reminiscent of Stan Ridgway from his Wall of Voodoo days.

Since I am a big Brian Eno and David Bowie fan, I was drawn to "From A Cloud", and "Felt Tip Marker". They just remind me of a period from these two artists that was so creative and original. If you listen to Lodger, Low and Heroes today, they still hold up. I think Gunk's music will withstand the test of time too.

Now for a completely different trip, Caleb Hawkins has been busy making some excellent folk and country music. Listen to the excellent period piece "Railroad Bum". I mean this guy had the sound all figured out. It sounds like a gem from the 20s-- sans scratches!

"15 Cents" is just a great little gem about young lust. love and mistakes. Funny and touching in his delivery, it is a great listen.

I am always a sucker for those off-the-cuff recordings. You know, those not-for-public consumption, but the ones that are so intimate and special that they just simply take your breath away with their simplicity and honesty? Well Caleb's wonderful "When The Roses Bloom In Dixie" is one such song. The spontaneity of this one-take recording is just really special.

Now I love bluegrass music-- especially banjo picking. And Caleb's "Lessons Learned" captures some real honest story telling and lovely picking. I mean a man his age, singing about life's lessons with a profound lines like "and bullets don't fly back into the gun from which they come"... How special is that?

"Danville Girl" is just a bittersweet little love story, that is typical folk, but always a pleasure to listen to.

Now, I love the blues, and I love it when folk and country borrow some of the emotions and chordings from traditional delta blues or country blues. Caleb's "Honey Darlin'" is one of those great little gems with subtle blues inflections that just get stuck in your head long after you're done listening to it. And that's a good thing!

Of course, one of the things about Country, Folk and the Blues is that the subject matter is often sad. I always thought that singing the blues was a way to get rid of the sadness, not to celebrate it. An exorcism of sorts... Caleb's intense "Gray Is The Day" is a sad tune about farm life.

Another great folk artist here is the amazing Becky Maag, aka becky22. She came on the scene a few weeks ago and uploaded some tunes off her solo album, Arms to Find (yes- go buy it- it's on Amazon!), and what a great album that is! Her voice is spectacular as are her songs and her subtle touch of the guitar.

The album starts off with the excellent "A City Life", and it just keeps getting better. The wonderful and jazzy "Glossy Papers" is one of the many standouts from this great new artist.

Being a sucker for moody songs, I am partial to the great "Winter Sky", and the fabulous vocal performance on "Win or Lose?".

She seems to be hitting on all cylinders on every song here! I mean this stuff is really special!!!

Now to close, I have to mention three songs I heard last week that simply blew me away. They definitely rank as some of the best songs here on this site. People, I can get excited about music, and I am really excited about these three songs!!!

So please stop everything you're doing and listen to Wal4uJr's band Little Boy Boom and their two spectacular songs "Bird Song" and the incredible "Simple Life". I can't gush over them anymore. I just want you guys to listen and spread the word: These guys are the real deal! Soul music is alive again!!!!

Lastly, the lovely rinca and Psykosoul teamed up to bring us the superb "Stepping Stone".

Rinca and Psykosoul, like Wal4uJr's and Little Boy Boom, made me realize that Soul Music is alive and well. And in the hands of these great musicians, it's coming back strong and it'll be here for a lifetime and more. Thanks guys!

One of the cool things about iCompositions is that you can always go listen at an artist's retrospective of sorts. To me it is always very fascinating to listen to an artist's growth, and what better way than to listen to their earlier work and compare it to the more recent music. Now this is not a guarantee that it'll be obvious. Sometimes the changes are very subtle-- growth doesn't have to be radical. Sometimes some artists simply have made exciting and perfect or near-perfect tunes from the get-go. That's the great thing about this site-- we can go back and listen to an artists earlier stuff or our own or a fellow musician's and hear the growth, which in turn fuels our future growth as artists!

So keep listening to all the great artists here, and thanks so much for reading.

Peace, and keep growing.
Julian
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