In this issue:
• iCompositions' 4th Birthday
• iCompositions Artist Albums
• iCompositions Radio Contest
• Criminally Overlooked
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 February 8th.
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Happy 4th Birthday, iCompositions!
Four years ago today, Apple announced a little program called GarageBand, prompting me to start a little site called iCompositions. This community has come a very long way in those four years, with artists uploading 80,000 songs, deleting 24,000 of them along the way, and posting more than 300,000 comments.
I want to take this moment to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this community what it is. From the administrators and moderators to the artists and listeners, this place wouldn't be the same without all of you. Thank you for four years of fun! (And occasional hate mail.)
So let's get to celebrating! There's an iCompositions Radio contest going on right now with some great prizes. Also, we've announced a brand new Artist Albums feature. You can read more about both below.
On behalf of the entire iCompositions team, happy birthday iCompositions!
More information » Introducing iCompositions Artist Albums
Do you have an album on sale through iTunes or services like CDBaby? With iCompositions' Artist Albums service, you can promote your album to the iCompositions community through our newly remodeled Marketplace and across the site.
While we don't sell the album for you, we make it easy to spread the word to your iCompositions family through cross-promotion on your Artist Page, songs you've uploaded, our Marketplace, and even on our homepage. So go ahead and give it a try, it's easy to get started. The Bronze promotion option is free!
More information » iCompositions Radio Birthday Contest
Let's begin 2008 on a great note and celebrate iCompositions 4th birthday with a bang! Beginning on January 6th, iCompositions Radio will be holding an on-air contest in which you could win one of two 500GB hard drives. Yes, you read that correctly, we're giving you the chance to win one of two!
Two lucky listeners will win, but will you be one of them? Only if you listen to iCompositions Radio and can correctly answer the questions in the contest.
Be listening to iCR on January 7th and again on January 14th between noon and 8 pm, eastern, when Crey Jackson will pose one question to the listening audience, asking you to let us know the next specific time a particular song plays on iCR. If you're the first to send in the correct answer to the station via email (email@example.com) you win. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? It is. All you have to do is listen to win.
More information »
Listen to iCompositions Radio » "Criminally Overlooked" Music Recommendations
So...one beautiful day, Julian asked if I could write something for the famous Criminally Overlooked pages. And, on that beautiful sunny day, I said "yes." And now here I am trying to figure out how to do it properly. The focus of these columns seems really important to me. Giving light to some gems that passed away too soon, too quickly...and some forgotten ones. There's a deep, cruel injustice going on with the amount of uploads everyday on Icomp...and that's one of the best ways (with browsing endlessly through the artists pages) to repair it, maybe.
I won't mention many people that I really deeply love, collaborators and friends. There are many. Just check out my page...they're listed there... I thank them all for their friendship and support, but now it's time to talk about the ones that are NOT in the spotlight, at all!
Please forgive me if there're some words crashing in the following lines...I'm just trying to remember all those tunes that maybe you never heard, and also trying to classify them...and that's the hardest part...I won't write about things I dont know about, like Classical, Hip-Hop, Electronica, but let's fly over many genres...and pick some of the best (I'm sure I'll miss a hundred of my favs..but I hope Julian will open those columns again for me)!
Acoustic/Folky/Rootsy stuff, with singers !
Among the fine artists that should be BIG inside and outside Icomp, there's this great guy from Virginia called tmccready5 (Timothy Bailey). His voice reminds me of another fantastic songwriter/producer called Joe Henry (Madonna's brother in law!). But his music is so sensitive, clear and full of energy...He's got a band and he's playing gigs quite often. All the tunes he posted here are fabulous but my favorites are maybe "Colorado Girl" and "Alamosa".
Talking about songwriters, bigt93to98 is an amazing one. The kind that can sums feelings, facts and notions in two lines when others will use long useless pages. He writes great songs and does some fine performances on Icomp like the fantastic "Borderline Positions" or the ballad called "Anywhere but here".
Stevel has been around for years now, but i'm always surprised and disappointed to see he's not more "up front" in the charts. Steve is classy. Totally classy. And the man has a great taste in music too. Some of you could have listened to the songs he did with Mystified (DayForNight), but his solo work is constantly brilliant. I love his dark deep voice and the way he delivers those folky-alternative songs. Simply check "A Hand In The Dark", "Angelina" or "The Active Girls".
jibes is not a newbie either, but he's got a unique style, a gorgeous voice and some amazing savoir-faire to deliver songs...He writes fine tunes like "I Do Declare" or this sublime "Rainin' In My Heart" ,but he's also doing fantastic covers. His version of "Hard Times" is unbelievable. And his "Midnight Special" is..well..special ! A great artist, a real musician.
Buckhorn is also an impressive songwriter. He's into roots/alt-country, but the high quality of his lyrics and songs goes way beyond any comparison. The first tune i heard from him was "Sober In Duluth", and it just blew me away! Then "Falling Autumn Snow", and most recently, he did a version of his tune called "King For A Day" with BossHook. Fabulous, classic song.
Chris Carling (ccarling) is not an active Icomper, I must admit. But if you listen to his tunes, you'll be amazed, as I am, by his clear voice. It's quite Neil Youngish-- and his beautiful songs. "I Don't Know" is the perfect example of his magic touch. Simple, emotional, and yes, indeed, magical.
There are some tunes i really love on this site, despite the fact that the artists that made them have disappeared along the way...and i hope they will be back someday. "East Bound Freight Train" is like an americana alt-country gem, done by jugband. Those guys have just one song up. And it sounds like it was forgotten in some Grandpa's garage for like 50 years...Everything is perfect here, sound, voice, style. Another Icomp mystery!
What about the girls? Some of them totally deserve much more attention. Sarahdupuis is a young, adventurous and sooooo talented artist, that's the fact that she's not in the spotlight is still beyond me. She loves to mix folk roots (her acoustic guitar can be heard on most of her songs) with some more experimental-noisy-alternative stuff. Like a perfect mix of Liz Phair and PJ Harvey. Listen to "Raven Black", and this collab with Zeppelin456, "Haunted House" to get both sides of the picture. Sarah is a star. If there's Justice in this world, she will be-- sooner or later.
Angie (noodleheadpig) is a great persona from Kentucky, a great songwriter and such a sensitive performer. If you like some ambient folk, cool tunes and straight-to-the-point lyrics, you got to listen to her. "Sweet Baby You" is an haunting lullaby à la Mazzy Star, and "Remember My Dreams" has got that Gillian Welch folky touch...so lovely. So personal, so beautiful.
Acoustic music, no words!
Just like jugband, the guys that went by the name of vuVuf didnt make much noise...but the way they play some dulcimer on "Mole In The Ground" and..next to it..some garage punk surf on "The Nobles" is quite amazing. Where are they now ? I just don't know.
This guy from Germany called Obra posted three songs and went away too. But oh those tunes...Latin/gypsy flavoured acoustic guitars, and...style...precision...harmony. He got it all. Pro work, no doubt about it. "Auf Der Reise" and "Corazon" are my favorites.
Weird, Wacked, Rockin' Crazy Good Stuff
OK now here is a list of geniuses, brilliant, unique, whatever you call it, people. The kind that makes you wonder if their talent has an end. I'm quite sure there's no end to the amazing skills of MrBajen. He's a Melody Maker from Stockholm, Sweden. He did many crazy covers here-- from the Stones to ABBA-- but the way he mixes his so strange and beautiful voice with 10-ideas-per-second arrangements is his own trademark. He's a pop composer...and even outside Icomp...he's one of the most talented I've heard. Just check two or three tunes to be sure : "Blues For A Hip King", "Put A Peephole In My Brain" or "Cover Me".
From New-Zealand please welcome PurePerversity, a young dude with many many many talents. He's like a Jeff Tweedy/Brian Wilson/Mark Linkous monster. Each tune he releases has brilliant arrangements, ideas...with some of the best pop hooks around. Totally addictive music. "Glowing Seams" is more on his indie side...a pure masterpiece. Another layer by layer by layer work of art is "Rhyme and Reason". To really get to know the man and his madness, just taste it on "Daniel It's Breakfast Time". Weird. I told you.
I must add to this list my dear friend John, aka woofer3. He's been there for a while...and everytime I READ his lyrics i'm always thinking that this must be the only way to write good lyrics. Sweet and sour. Sharp as a new knife. He's often dealing with quite complex topics...disgusting judges...law issues...but with such fine tongue-in-cheek manners that the darkest news become like fairytales. This is magic "woofer" art. You can listen to any of his tunes (he also plays piano wonderfully, including some fab 30s-40s classics), but my favs are maybe "The Dirty Vicar Of Boulton Moor", "Burning Hitler" or "Short Clare Short". He even did a fine cover with TheDirtFarm (the same fantastic guy as TheSoftCoffin), "Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu". I honestly believe this man from the Wales deserves much more attention...
And let's close this chapter with a wild child. TBoog is a young dude, he plays some noisy blues and shouts and moans and does it pretty well. His version of the Stooges "TV Eye" is really somethin...He talks about Albert Lee on his artist page. A good and rare and perfect influence...
Roots Reggae/Dub/Island Cool Stuff
Not being an expert of this genre...but I totally enjoyed a few tunes posted, like the IrieTrees. A band from Puerto Rico, playing some of the coolest mix of Reggae/Dub/Latin i've heard in a while. Only 3 songs up, but each one is fantastic. I cant get enough of "Lugar Perfecto" and "Ternura De Tu Ser".
CaptSandwich is a real cool guy from Toronto, Canada and I love the way he covers some punk songs like "Pretty Vacant" or Joe Jackson's "I'm The Man"...a ska beat, a guitar and that's it. Just the fun of it. The way music should be. Lesson number one. Thanks Captain!
There's so many titles I'm missing here. This is just a brief selection. I'm hoping those artists are overlooked enough for your tastes...I think so. But you know this site is like...a gem around every corner...if you look for them...you'll find some. No doubt about it.
And just before leaving you at the door...I'd like to share with you one of my favs here...not overlooked (it was high on that list...and has many listens..), but this tune has so much soul, heart, guts, blood, cold sweat and tears...that everyone should listen carefully and bow down. A cover of Billie Holiday's classic, "Strange Fruit" by rinca, mbehar and Bass2x. It's was released on September '07 and I'm still clapping my hands.