Scruffy, Indie folk-rock from Transylvania

Best Indie Folk Albums Of 2012

Posted by admin On December - 15 - 2012 1 COMMENT

Last year I published a list of what I thought were the Best Indie Folk Albums of 2011. Seeing how people were keen to know more about this, I prepared a top 10 of my favorite indie folk albums from this year.

Behold, my take on the best indie folk/alt-folk albums of 2012:

1. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

The Tallest Man On Earth became more melodic and a bit more produced with this record. There’s a lot less screaming and angry singing going on but those melodies he got us hooked on are still deep in there, guiding us towards the light. Definitely my top favorite folk rock record of the year!

The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now

2. Grizzly Bear – Shields

Grizzly Bear manage to pull off what many indie folk bands cannot in this day and age: to keep you focused on the music, to make you stop and listen carefully to the beauty of detail, to notice the importance of texture. Complex yet entertaining.

Grizzly Bear - Shields

3. Amanda Palmer – Theatre Is Evil

Extremely selfish, rock your head off, Amanda Fucking Palmer.

Amanda Palmer - Theatre Is Evil

4. M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

This record has not received the appreciation it deserves. M. Ward is probably one of the most noticeable and unique indie folk singer/songwriters out there today. A Wasteland Companion sounds exactly how you would expect it to from this man. A soulful and all around strong record with hints of pop and glamour.

M Ward - A Wasteland Companion

5. Bowerbirds – The Clearing

Heartfelt and melodic songs on the eeriest of subjects. Beautiful arrangements and strong songwriting that will keep you listening for weeks on end.

Bowerbirds - The Clearing

6. Cat Power – Sun

Definitely not the best of Cat Power on this record, but it is a release that is convincing enough and good enough to make it one of the best releases of 2012.

Cat Power - Sun

7. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Nothing matters anymore. There is a lot of talk about Lana Del Rey but the fact remains: she has an incredible voice and a persona to match. We got to know her because of one song, but there’s a lot more where that came from.

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

8. Bon Iver – iTunes Session

Bon Iver tries to recreate some of the feeling of the live shows but is definitely not a substitute for the live experience. Great songs on here, important milestones for indie music and music in general. A must have!

Bon Iver - iTunes Session

9. Mac DeMarco – 2

Mac DeMarco is both fresh and familiar. His approach to songwriting and his overall sound is instantly recognizable.

Mac DeMarco - 2

10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Nocturama

A respectable release. Or, as Pitchfork so elegantly puts it: career-besting.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Nocturama

My YouTube content licensed by Rumblefish

Posted by admin On August - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

If you’ve been visiting the Indie Folker YouTube channel at all, you might’ve seen that I have the entire “Monsters In Rome” record uploaded there.

Well, lately, I’ve been getting messages from YouTube that the content I uploaded may be owned or licensed by a company called Rumblefish.

I am mainly writing this article for my fellow musicians, btw… because… as it turns out…. there’s nothing to worry about. If you get the following e-mail from YouTube: “Your video may have content that is owned or licensed by rumblefish, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it….” – don’t panic. There’s a reason this is happening. Please read on.

As the e-mail further states “This claim is not penalizing your account status”. And it would have no reason to do so. Rumblefish is a licensing company that deals with a huge catalog of music. This does not mean that they actually own the music they are licensing. They are merely representing artists and license their music on their behalf.

Most indie artists get to be represented by Rumblefish by signing up to CDBaby, and using their distribution services. CDBaby has distribution and licensing deals with a lot of companies, so when you signed up for digital distribution, you probably chose your music to be distributed by all CDBaby partners. This is how my music got to Rumblefish. And that is how I received the copyright notice from YouTube. (This is what most likely happened to you, if any of your material was ever distributed by CDBaby. I don’t know if other online distributors have any deals with Rumblefish – I would be curious to know.)

The good news is, you can opt-out of Rumblefish at the CDBaby website. So you don’t need to put up with the advertisement that this company will place on your content without even asking. In theory, if money is to result from placing ads, you would be entitled to your share. I don’t yet know a way of keeping track of how much Rumblefish is actually profiting off of your material, so I guess more research would be needed in this case. But my feeling is that you can’t really know.

Anyway, I’ve decided not to do anything about the ads, if they do start to appear on my videos, and they get really annoying, I will just get rid of them. So please let me know if those pesky commercials are ruining it for you.


Personal Disaster Video & More

Posted by admin On May - 31 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

We are in the process of shooting a video for the song “Personal Disaster” from my “Monsters In Rome” record. The idea has been gestating for a while but now it is time to get it done.

Listen to the song below:

Toth Orsolya from SpotFilm will be in charge of all production and filming for the “Personal Disaster” video – script and direction by Victor Olăhuţ.

While I will not yet reveal the content of the video itself or any of the underlying ideas behind the script, I do advise you to download the “Monsters In Rome” record if you haven’t yet had the chance to, and, more importantly, listen to the song “Personal Disaster”. I have released this album in 2010 and there is already one video circulating on YouTube, for “Afraid Not Scared”, but no other videos have been made for songs from this album. Which is a shame, because I truly think I have a few gems on here.

Watch the video for “Afraid Not Scared” below:

My music to be featured in the film “Lie With Me”

Songs from this record are about to receive even more attention this year, as the film “Lie With Me” by Jamison Brandi will feature acoustic versions of 6 tracks from “Monsters In Rome”. The film will also feature the songs “Cold Sun” and “Be A Wolf” – never before released. I will tell you more about this feature film very shortly, but this is all the information I can provide at the moment. That and the fact that I am really excited to have this opportunity – the film is still in post-production but I can hardly wait to see the final results!

On tour this summer with the “Fisura” play

There is one more important project for this year: I have written and recorded a few songs for a play and released “The Crack (Musical)” in March, 2012. The music was for the play “Fisura” by Flavius Lucăcel, directed by Victor Olăhuţ and…well… we are going on tour with it this summer. There are a lot of interesting aspects to this project, but the most important one is the fact that our venues are a bit unusual for this kind of theater: we are going to perform our musical play in several villages around Transylvania and our theater space will be constructed in the barns, sheds of the villagers. A documentary film will be made to capture the spirit of the entire tour and document the reactions of the public. I sense this will be a really fun project and I couldn’t be happier to take part!

How To Spend Way Too Much Time Recording One Song

Posted by admin On February - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Hello, dear Friends!

A really long time has passed since we’ve started recording the song “Why” together with my band. I’ve spent some nights on it, but recently decided to call it quits and just deem it completed.

My back-up band for this song and some other upcoming new songs (and some shows maybe?) is Zoltan and Gabor – they have played with me in the past in other bands that I’ve been in, and it’s great to have them on board for this project.

These are the guys I’m talking about:

We’ve recorded the drum tracks in Gabor’s apartment in about 3 or 4 hours on a laptop and some outboard recording device. We’ve used only three microphones to make this.

No microphones were harmed in the making of this song.

We’ve done “Why” a few times live last year and it shortly became on of my favorites from all the new songs that I’ve written lately. There have been talks with the band regarding a low-budget video for this, but as it turns out, we might have the chance to do some serious production for this video after all. But I will write more about that later on…

Here’s a photo of Zoltan, the bass player from the recording session at my house:

It feels great to work in a team again. I sometimes forget what that feels like. And that I enjoy it!

I also enjoyed playing producer on a song that has input from other musicians – nut just myself.

After recording the drums, I took the tracks home and started cutting them up and re-arranging them in all kinds of ways. I like doing that. We have tracked the bass about one month later, and they turned out GREAT! I love a good grove, and this song has it.

The rest of the recording and mixing was done at my place, as usual.

I usually have no problem finishing a mix, but this song took a really long time because of all the demo mixes and arrangements that I’ve made. Trying to decide which one is “the best” is absolute nonsense in these cases.

There was also an issue with my laptop being serviced for a few days… but all of that is behind us now and we have a new song that we’ll be making public very very very soon now.

And this is the infamous latpot that almost cost us two months of work… tracking bass:

Let us not forget I still owe you guys that song I’ve featured on last year with a singer-songwriter friend of mine. That song is called 110 km/h, and it’s about driving. I think.

Also, we have a release date and stage premiere date for the musical (titled “The Crack”) that I’ve been involved in. The show was scheduled for March 14 and so I decided to make that the release date for my album too – – – in case you didn’t know, the album contains the music written for this very play. And I will write about that in a different post.

Take care amigos!