Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

How to get blogs to notice your band, by a guy who notices bands for a blog

August 21, 2011

I’m not the only blog in the world, and there’s a quick’n’dirty way to find blogs that will potentially like you and write about you.

1. Go to Hype Machine. It’s a blog aggregator, pulling MP3s from a ton of blogs and hosting them in an easy-to-use format.

2. Figure out a band that your band sounds like, or a band that would share similar fans with yours.

3. Enter that band into Hype Machine’s search box (top right).

4. Look at the first listing. It should be “Artist – Song Name.” Under that line of text is a small link that says “Posted by x blogs,” where x is a number. Click that link. (If this link is not below the text, that blog is the only blog that posted the song. Note the name of the blog, then move on to the next listing.)

5. A dropdown should appear, listing the names of blogs that posted the tune and an intro paragraph to the corresponding post. At the end of the intro paragraph will be a link that says “Posted on x y,” where x y is a date. Open that link in a new tab.

6. You are now at the blog that posted about an artist you sound like. Find the contact info for the writer of the post. For larger blogs like Aquarium Drunkard, this person will be different than the editor of the site. Smaller blogs may be a one-person outfit.

7. E-mail them nicely, mentioning the band you sound like in the subject line.

8. Have your music, bio, picture and contact info easily available from the e-mail but not cluttering the page. You want to keep your e-mails short and to the point. Your bio and picture could be good attachments. Blogs have different policies on music submission, but I hate getting huge, attached files. A nice, discrete link to a download site or Bandcamp is great.

This process will help immensely, as blogs get approximately a gazillion e-mails a day, and quick connections make you stand out.

In practice, it looks like this. The band King Rey e-mailed me their EP Street Friends. It’s heavy on the doo-wop pop sound that’s enjoying a resurgence. I’m not a big fan of the genre, even though King Rey sounds talented in their craft. I know that Tennis is a band that has some similar sounds going on. Plug in Tennis, and “Tennis – Pigeon” pops up. Eight blogs have posted it, including Tune the Proletariat, Indie Shuffle and We All Want Someone to Shout For (twice!). Those blogs would be a good idea to hit with an e-mail for King Rey.

Similarly, Killing Kuddles is a rockabilly band. Punching in the word “rockabilly” doesn’t produce very good results, as the word “rockabilly” doesn’t appear in band names or song names often. Searching “Legendary Shack Shakers” brings up several blogs that would be good for KK to e-mail (I am a Moonshiner, ninebullets).

Even though this gives you a good in, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get heard. Blogging is a horribly inexact art, driven in great part by “what I feel like doing today.” There are very disciplined bloggers, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I don’t feel like listening to x band because I’m in y type of mood, even if I would probably like the type of music x band plays if I were in a normal mood. Based on the number of e-mails bloggers get, that disconnect (which is entirely not your fault) could deposit you in the “get to this someday” or “deleted” pile. And that sucks, but that’s the way it happens sometimes.

If you get back an e-mail that says, “Hey, it’s good but it’s not my style,” don’t take it personally. There are tons of other blogs out there. Go get ’em.

State of the Scene: Bands

February 1, 2008

State of the Scene: Bands

Once a year, the President goes on public television and states how the country is doing- it’s called the State of the Union address. Here at IndependentClauses, we don’t run the scene, but we do a pretty fair job of covering it. Thus, this is my state of the scene address for 2006. I’m splitting it up into two parts: one part for bands and other part for listeners.

Here’s 2006 for you indie bands: good luck, cause no one’s on your side. There’s an excess of bands and a minority of talent, labels are going down, zines are closing, and fans are less loyal than ever- which all means there’s a heck of a lot more work involved in being a band than there used to be.

The main problem this year is that with technology getting cheaper and cheaper, it’s easier than ever to record, duplicate, design and distribute CDs. This unfortunately means that anyone who plays guitar can emulate their favorite band and make a CD of it, which they subsequently send to labels and e-zines. This makes it harder for bands with actual talent to get noticed because after listening to ten packages of crappy pop-punk, juvenile nu-wave emo, and shaky-vocals acoustic artists, it’s hard to believe that the next package is going to be any better. Thus, the reviewer/record label gets backlogged out of sheer apathy for it all, and the good bands go unheard.

This happened to Splendid E-zine (www.splendidezine.com)- they got so many open submissions that they couldn’t handle them all and they recently closed their doors. They had the policy of reviewing everything they got. Lots of it was sucky or mediocre, and Splendid got so backlogged in the junk that they had to stop the zine (to the detriment of the good music). That’s a very sad thing.

Indie labels aren’t as good as they used to be, either- my two favorite labels Deep Elm and Tooth and Nail are both in a bit of a rut. Both have developed a scary affection for nu-wave emo- Deep Elm with Fightstar and Eleven Minutes Away and Tooth and Nail with Spoken, The Classic Crime, and Far-less. Both do have some fight in them- Latterman and Small Arms Dealer are brand-new and stinking amazing on Deep Elm, while the backbone of Tooth and Nail is still brilliant (Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, Further Seems Forever, Mae, MeWithoutYou, and –if they stick around- Showbread). It’s just been a down year. Militia Group is doing pretty well- they aren’t very focused, but they sign good music. Basically, there’s not really a label for any cutting edge indie sounds any more. My guess is that Common Cloud records will soon fill this gap, as the small label’s signings are all brilliant [The Felix Culpa, Towers (formerly known as Braille), Ammi…”>.

But a lot of disillusioned bands are skipping the record labels completely and going the DIY route. They go for soundtracks and advertisements- see this article for more info. I’m thrilled to hear that independent bands are able to make it on their own, but I’m sad that the modern music system has been broken so long that artists get no help in their quest.

Basically, this all boils down to one statement: God bless indie rock- cause nobody else is doing it any favors.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

State of the Scene: Bands

February 1, 2006

State of the Scene: Bands

Once a year, the President goes on public television and states how the country is doing- it’s called the State of the Union address. Here at IndependentClauses, we don’t run the scene, but we do a pretty fair job of covering it. Thus, this is my state of the scene address for 2006. I’m splitting it up into two parts: one part for bands and other part for listeners.

Here’s 2006 for you indie bands: good luck, cause no one’s on your side. There’s an excess of bands and a minority of talent, labels are going down, zines are closing, and fans are less loyal than ever- which all means there’s a heck of a lot more work involved in being a band than there used to be.

The main problem this year is that with technology getting cheaper and cheaper, it’s easier than ever to record, duplicate, design and distribute CDs. This unfortunately means that anyone who plays guitar can emulate their favorite band and make a CD of it, which they subsequently send to labels and e-zines. This makes it harder for bands with actual talent to get noticed because after listening to ten packages of crappy pop-punk, juvenile nu-wave emo, and shaky-vocals acoustic artists, it’s hard to believe that the next package is going to be any better. Thus, the reviewer/record label gets backlogged out of sheer apathy for it all, and the good bands go unheard.

This happened to Splendid E-zine (www.splendidezine.com)- they got so many open submissions that they couldn’t handle them all and they recently closed their doors. They had the policy of reviewing everything they got. Lots of it was sucky or mediocre, and Splendid got so backlogged in the junk that they had to stop the zine (to the detriment of the good music). That’s a very sad thing.

Indie labels aren’t as good as they used to be, either- my two favorite labels Deep Elm and Tooth and Nail are both in a bit of a rut. Both have developed a scary affection for nu-wave emo- Deep Elm with Fightstar and Eleven Minutes Away and Tooth and Nail with Spoken, The Classic Crime, and Far-less. Both do have some fight in them- Latterman and Small Arms Dealer are brand-new and stinking amazing on Deep Elm, while the backbone of Tooth and Nail is still brilliant (Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, Further Seems Forever, Mae, MeWithoutYou, and –if they stick around- Showbread). It’s just been a down year. Militia Group is doing pretty well- they aren’t very focused, but they sign good music. Basically, there’s not really a label for any cutting edge indie sounds any more. My guess is that Common Cloud records will soon fill this gap, as the small label’s signings are all brilliant [The Felix Culpa, Towers (formerly known as Braille), Ammi…”>.

But a lot of disillusioned bands are skipping the record labels completely and going the DIY route. They go for soundtracks and advertisements- see this article for more info. I’m thrilled to hear that independent bands are able to make it on their own, but I’m sad that the modern music system has been broken so long that artists get no help in their quest.

Basically, this all boils down to one statement: God bless indie rock- cause nobody else is doing it any favors.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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