Aug 30



The Jonas Brothers, that enthusiastic and phenomenally successful tween sensation, has joined together with OfficeMax in a sort of powerhouse Twitter promotion to incite fans to tweet in order to receive a free download off their new album and be entered into a free concert ticket promotion.

The sweepstakes reflects the legitimacy of Social Media promotion tools and the inflow of major artists into such mediums. A far cry from a simple “click Like” type promotion found on Facebook, the Jonas Brother Twitter promotion actually has a unique website dedicated solely to the sweepstakes.

It is a cross promotion twitter site, run by PromoJam, one not only dedicated to the diffusion of Jonas Brother product, but to another promotion associated with OfficeMax. A sort of one-two punch if you will, with Fanscape behind it all. With the incentive of free music, fans in turn promote an OfficeMax free tour ticket contest. No doubt the OfficeMax sponsorship is in relation to “back to school” season,  with the name OfficeMax connected to the Jonas Brothers in hopes to have kids associate the “cool band” with a supplier of much needed binders and notebooks.

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Aug 06


SFD Review:


Awash with the memories of they're travels, Mineral Stills album "Visions" seems to encompass a travelers log placed on top of a rising mix of indie, blues and southern riffs. It is not for the most part an abstract album, far removed from the psychedelic digital atmospheres prevalent today, Memory Stills have produced an album raw and analog. The first highlight of the album comes in the form of a down and hell bent southern riff in "Keep It On The Level". It races along with images of the underbelly of society, pretty great vibes. Another highlight is the contemplative and exploratory "Sea of Trees". An inspiring account of a journey beneath pines, the muffled sound of snow is accounted for in lyrics like "frozen trees, evergreens, covering the moonlight as you slip away, out before anyone knows" and conjures up images of a silent escape discovering the Sierra Nevada mountain range. "Visions" as a whole seems to be quite a personal album, a call to free experience. It doesn't aim to be revolutionary in technique or musical process but it has the possibility to connect with the listener in a positive manner. I would say their sound has many contemporaries, which is not a bad thing in any sense, and they're song writing prose has the advantage of simplicity that lets listeners into the bands experiences.

Album Rating: 6/10

In terms of their online and social media presence, I'm afraid I can't find any evidence of their prominence. The bands album site, run through Band Camp, doesn't have links to any of their own social media profiles. A quick search of "Mineral Stills" does bring one to their site but no social network links are to be seen besides Last.FM which provides no bio or even images of the band. The Band Camp site offers a way to "share" an album track which does encourage the proliferation of their music but it is rather ambiguous on the site and the simple "share' drop down link doesn't stand out. They're website is essentially just a merchandise vehicle. The only MySpace I could find for a band called "Mineral Stills" is a defunct band from Texas. They're Band Camp site seems intent on the advantage of online retail however, offering options to consumers to pay what they choose for the album (as long it is more than $5 for the album and $.50 per track which is very reasonable) and giving plenty of links to do so. With just a few hours of social networking development, Mineral Stills could establish a much stronger online presence, giving the opportunity to expose more people to their music and, as they put it, get more revenue which "goes directly toward making more tunes." Some improvements would need to be made to elevate their presence beyond it's current clumsy state.

As a side note, they have an excellent album booklet which you get as a bonus with the purchase of "Visions." The booklet contains some pretty amazing photography of road trips taken decades ago, a really great compliment to the music which really helps connect the vision of the album to the viewer. This product could be emphasized in different forms and compliment the site in a more effective way.

Website Rating: 5/10

Social Rating: 3/10

Overall Rating: 4.7/10

Visit Them Online: Mineral Stills Last.FM

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Jul 30




RCRD LBL, an ever expanding library of free mp3’s and artist profiles, has been helping musical artists promote their newest endeavors for free since its inception in 2007. It was started by Downtown Music and Peter Rojas (Gizmodo, Weblogs) and immediately revolutionized the way in which artists communicated with their fans. By this time, the media sharing practices of generation-y were already in full effect and while many major labels were focused on ways to combat their own fans, RCRD LBL was ready to give them exactly what they wanted: music.

By legally providing free mp3s it provided both a hub for fans of new music to come and discover artists and a place for emerging talent to promote their sound. Typically, an artist provides a single track at a time to the fan at no charge or membership, independent of any fine print or hitches. One of the key ways in which RCRD LBL promotes the thousands of artists on its roster is the simple yet effective mailing list they developed to provide new tracks nearly everyday. Usually coming in packs of two artists per email, RCRD LBL showcases new talent and marquee artists to fans who sign up online. Through their savvy choice of employees and tastemakers the company has proven to be not only a helpful tool for artists but a trendsetting engine as well.

To be featured on the daily mailing immediately draws the attention of thousands of prospective fans that would have never heard your songs before, it is a powerful tool which then can take on a momentum all its own through attention given by bloggers and other music publications (not to mention word of mouth!). With collaborating record labels like Fool’s Gold, Warp and Modular on board, RCRD LBL continues to turn heads in the direction of the best up and coming music. It has grown so successful in fact that the site facilitates over 1,000,000 downloads a month. These downloads come from across the globe and the ROI can be quite real. For instance, RCRD LBL was the first site to provide a free mp3 from a then unknown hip hop artist named Kid Cudi. The two tracks, “Day n Nite” and the Crookers remix of said track, became huge sensations with domestic downloads at over 2million. The Crookers remix went on to be a chart topper in 20 countries. This is but one example of the impact RCRD LBL can have and with an ever expanding roster of artists that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

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Jul 30


SFD Review:


If you were to take apart the Mystery Jets archive, you'd find influences unique to each of their first two albums. For their third, Serotonin, they bring on the elements of classic Eighties pop music to the melodic front. The album, produced by Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, Pulp, Roxy Music) sees the guys from Eel Pie Island turn over a glossy leaf and churn out an album that rises and falls in idyllic fashion. Contrary to their critically hailed "Twenty One", featuring the unforgettable single "Two Doors Down", Mystery Jets hide most of their off beat quirks in favor of a more majestic mix of harmonies and echoed notes. Along with sounds of the Eighties showing influence, they also turn to ELO, 10cc & even Fleetwood Mac for direction. Some might say they are on the verge of being cheesy with some of the new songs but in the mind of this humble reviewer that would be a bit pre-mature. They seem to be purposefully going to a simpler structure of pop, one that highlights common points we all encounter. That is not to say that the songs found on "Serotonin" aren't well crafted or interesting but instead that the charm of the record is in it's indulgence of straightforward pop of decades past.

"Show Me the Light" for instance, balances that melodic line with a showing of their dance inclinations, propping up a quick beat and a great synth bass line (a la Friendly Fires) to combine with their chiming guitars and harmonized vocals. It has been prompted by some that Mystery Jets are in line to inherit the Brit Pop thrown, once held by the likes of Oasis and The Cure. That is one hell of a statement and with the release of "Serotonin" the Mystery Jets have taken some heat through comparison. Criticism is found to be revolving around the over-saturated aspect of the record. Mystery Jets might have more gloss on this album but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The songs of love lost are some of the strongest on the record, with "Melt" being the best of the bunch followed closely by the melancholy "The Girl Is Gone." The greatest songs though, no surprise here, are about the adventures put into rhyme of the bands' good times with controlled substances. The title track "Serotonin" tries hard to give the illusion during the chorus of singing "Sarah Tonin", but the lyrics “I felt like I was floating / But now I'm coming down off you so hard” give for a pretty obvious reference to E. "Dreaming of Another World", their lead single, hits with reference to some other substances while standing as one of the best tracks on the album. Overall, "Serotonin" moves like a majestic pop record, a bit sugary at times, but running strong through the end.

Have a listen to the whole album for yourself:

Here at SFD, we also like to have a look at the manner in which an album is placed in to the public light. I remember checking one of my favorite blogs and suddenly seeing a stream of links to other sites all with the "New Mystery Jets" headline. Turns out that before their lead single was even announced they had offered on their website the album track "Flash A Hungry Smile". This wasn't some bonus B side, it was the band giving away one of their stronger songs for free long before the album was released.

The free track give-away is not all that uncommon in the music industry these days, but giving away a potential single was a strong commitment to fans. It wasn't a "hey I haven't fallen off the face of the earth" reminder to the bands core fans, but a method of making sure the band was jumping off on the right foot to get momentum building up to the release. Core fans were prompted by the site to sign up for the mailing list (which I have happily done since) but it was surely understood that the bulk of the attention received from fans would be from those who regularly check up-and-coming music websites hungry for new material.

It has turned out to be a strong play for the Mystery Jets, getting more attention than ever and garnering more plays each day. Back to the album itself, I stand by the idea that the Mystery Jets have updated a time capsule here. The idea of creating an album to sum up a period in time, and to execute it with emotional strings attached and in a modern way is really difficult to do. I think the Mystery Jets have done so in spades with their 3rd album Serotonin.

Rating: 8/10

Pick Up "Serotonin" Here

Check Out Them Out On:




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Jul 12


Innovators Align For “The Creators Project”


A joint venture between the legendary Vice Magazine & Intel, The Creators Project is a new collaboration created to feature dynamic producers, artists, designers and musicians. They provide visual biographies of Creators such as Mark Ronson, Phoenix, James Powderly,  and Spike Jonze, giving an inside look in to their creative process and mindset. The videos are all extremely professional, well produced and aethestically stellar.  The high quality videos come as no surprise when noticing that much of the talent highlighted on the site focuses on working with new technologies to bring through new creations. It is quite an ambitious project to embark upon, not only creating short biographies but organizing events and performances to unite them together. The goal, as they put it, goes like this: The Creative Project “aims at being nothing less than the first spark of creativity that gives life to the hopes and aspirations of the Twenty-First Century.” Quite an imposing task to be sure, but they certainly have the firepower to get it done.

Founded by Suroosh Alvi Shane Smith, and Gavin McInnes, Vice has consistently been a leader in supporting progressive and new content and is very influential in all walks of contemporary culture. Intel, of course, has massive resources to give the project the backing it needs. The commitment and quality of artists on board already is a huge testament to the vision that this venture has! Scrolling through the list of Creators I was stoked to see so many familiar faces. The focus they have on truly influential artists makes the prospect of collaboration that more head spinning. The number of video biographies is growing nearly every day and events planned for London, Sao Paulo & Beijing are evidence of the growing global scape of the network. The Creators Project certainly has great momentum, content and leadership on their side.

They also have a great blog that has infused content from the participating artists you can check out here

The Creators Project: Mark Ronson

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