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Monday, December 31, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 10 Videos of 2012

Videos continue to be an important medium for bands to get their music out to the public. The creative output that videos generate gives us some great visuals to go with the wonderful emerging music. Here are the Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 10 Videos of 2012, as determined by your pageviews.

#10: Blonds - Kite

#9: The Rest - Always On My Mind

#8: Christine Leakey - Shine My Tarnished Sheen

#7: Noir Coeur - Avalanche

#6: Papier Tigre - Afternoons

#5: Jeremy Panda - Business of Forgetting

#4: We Only Said - Get Out Freakie

#3: Arrange - Two Garden Children

#2: Plankton Waves - Cloud Caravan

#1: Travel Check - Go Back Home

Friday, December 28, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012: #10 - #1

Today we have the Top 10 artists on our countdown of the Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012. There was much great emerging music this year. The artists in this Top 20 represent those that have had the greatest number of page views on the blog this year. Yesterday we featured #20 - #11 and so today here are the Top 10 Artists for 2012 on Floorshime Zipper Boots.

#10: Betrayal At Bespin

#9: Lake Radio

#8: Evenings

#7: Cassie

#6: Young Jesus

#5: Love & Radiation

#4: The Swerve

#3: Mrs. Magician

#2: Foxygen

#1: The KVB

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012: #20 - #11

Today we start our countdown of Floorshime Zipper Boots' Top 20 Artists of 2012. There was much great emerging music this year. The artists in our Top 20 represent those that have had the greatest number of page views on the blog this year. Today we will feature #20 through #11. Tomorrow we will show you the Top 10.

#20: Dog Bless You

#19: Teen Suicide

#18: Walk:

#17: The Uglies

#16: Pile

#15: Blue Sky Black Death

#14: Keepers

#13: Mirrors

#12: White Lung

#11: Ritualz

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sun Glitters: It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing

It's snowing and the girls are singing cover art
It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing is the new album from FZB favorite and dreampop artist/producer extraordinaire Sun Glitters, aka Victor Ferreira. This is a collaboration album featuring vocals from noted artists such as Steffaloo, CoMa and Anna​-​Maria Marjam√§ki. The eleven tracks are deep visions into Sun Glitters' signature sound of atmospheric, lush synthpop with glitchy overtones. One of the most consistent artists around, Sun Glitters continues to deliver excellent music with each new release. Stream and download It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing  for free at the link below.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Triptides: Sun Pavilion

Sun Pavilion cover art
Indiana psych rockers and FZB favorites Triptides have released their latest album, Sun Pavilion. The twelve tracks are a jangly drive down a surf drenched beach. Triptides brand of garage rock makes you yearn for the halcyon days of summer and babes by the pool. This is the third record by Triptides we've featured on FZB and the band continues to impress, showing growth as songwriters, while staying true to their signature sound. Stream Sun Pavilion at the link below.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hazy Mountains: Breeze

Breeze cover art
Breeze is the debut full length album from German dreampop artist Hazy Mountains, aka Julian Prott. On the eleven  tracks, soaring synth pads melt into glitchy samples, while ambient sonic touches shimmer all around. With some stunning melodies and guitar parts, Prott constructs a shoegazey blanket to curl up with by the fire all winter long. Stream and buy Breeze at the link below.

Motel Beds: 2 New Videos

Last month we reviewed the fine new album Dumb Gold, from FZB favorites Motel Beds. Here are two new videos for the tracks Runnin' for Nothin' and Dream of Sleep from that album.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twin Guns: Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams (2012) cover art
Sweet Dreams is the new album from Brooklyn garage duo Twin Guns, aka Andrea Sicco and 'Jungle' Jim Chandler. The eleven tracks have a hard edged dark aesthetic, with a distinct 60's surf vibe. Fresh and imaginative, Twin Guns take a page from the Velvets with a lo-fi "factory" live feel to the record. This rock duo is original and inventive, not just another Black Keys clone. Catch the wave, stream and buy Sweet Dreams at the link below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Goodman: What We Want

What We Want cover art
What We Want is the debut full length from NYC indie rocker Goodman, aka Michael Goodman. After releasing a promising EP earlier in the year, What We Want is the realization of Goodman's full potential. The album glistens with eleven tracks of hooky, catchy and highly radio ready pop songs. Rather than employing heavy reverb, lo-fi production, glitchy synths or other trendy production gimmicks, Goodman uses a tried and true technique, writing damn good songs, to deliver a debut full length that is a must have. Stream and buy What We Want at the link below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Washing Machines: Demo'z

demo'z cover art
Washing Machines is a new LA based garage band. They have just released a debut EP of three demo tracks entitled, appropriately enough, Demo'z. The tracks are true to the garage genre, but with a bit more pop sensibility. Lo-fi and drenched in reverb as one might expect, the tracks show much promise for the trio to grow into a band worthy to carry the mantle of Ty Segall or Jay Reatard. Get in on the ground floor with Washing Machines. Stream and download Demo'z at the link below.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gpsymth: Ripostes

Ripostes cover art
Ripostes is the debut album on Stars and Letters Records from Gpsymth (pronounced Gypsy Moth), aka Peter Quinn. The album features nine tracks of lush synthpop. Reverb drenched, with haunting vocals, Gpsymth makes a beautiful sonic debut. There is an ambient airyness to the tracks, which evoke pastoral visions and lead the senses through misty musical vibes. Gpsymth again shows that, in the right hands, the chillwave genre continues to have substantial pleasure to deliver. Stream and download Ripostes (for free till the end of the year) at the link below.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Op/Ed Series: The State of Indie in 2013

Welcome to the first of a series of guest Op/Ed pieces on the state of indie in 2013. The state of indie as it affects emerging artists and small/DIY labels is a subject that we all should care deeply about. The struggle of indie artists with the realities of earning a living, while at the same time trying to make innovative music, is an issue of paramount importance. Artists face the devaluation of their intellectual property. They face a new breed of "major" labels, masquerading under the banner of indie, but for all intent and purpose, operating as majors and growing to dominate indie radio, publications and concerts.

A prominent indie radio channel uses a tag line which states "independent, unsigned and under the radar." Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality the tag should be "major indie label dependent, major management firm represented and major PR firm affiliated." The idea that the 10 largest indie labels are really "indie" is not credible. What has been spawned is a dominance of large labels that, unlike the traditional majors, pay paltry or no advances, pay paltry or no tour support and love the 360 deal, which gives them a cut of everything the artist makes.

This is a subject that needs to be discussed. Emerging and independent artists deserve to have the fruits of their labors carry value. They should not be expected to tour 365 days a year to eak out a meager living, while giving their music away for free. Small indie/DIY labels should be able to have a business model that actually sustains them as businesses. They should not be reduced to money losing labors of love.
This blog is committed to being a vehicle for this dialog and has invited knowledgeable contributors to write Op/Ed pieces voicing their views on the subject. Below is the first of these, written by the highly experienced artist/producer Mikael Johnston, the driving force behind FZB Top 20 band The Swerve and the Billboard Top 10 charting Dresden & Johnston. Mikael started his career as the co-producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros. act Mephisto Odyssey. Following his tenure at Warner Bros., he’s continued his diverse journey as an artist, engineer, mixer, remixer and producer working with such artists as; I am The World Trade Center, The Sounds, Smash Mouth, Goapele,  Lily Allen, Nadia Ali, Some Ember, Blondie, Oh No & Chris Keys, among others.
Coming will be articles by Mark Roberts, Founder of Stars and Letters, a small NYC indie record label and other stakeholders in the arena we all call indie. Let us know what you think. Email us at russianwinterrecords (at) gmail (dot) com.

Mikael Johnston: The State of an Indie Artist in 2013:
This article is based on research for a guest lecture I gave at Chabot College in their music business class. I'll break it down into 3 parts. Why digital content delivery killed record sales, the misinformation that the Internet has leveled the playing field in regards to artist exposure, and why major labels sold out their artists to Spotify.

1. Record Sales
Record sales are approximately 1/3 of a band's main source of income. The three main sources of income are record sales, publishing and touring/merchandise sales. People intrinsically don't put a value on intellectual property (i.e music, books, software etc) delivered on non-physical media. This is why we've all been pirating software since the dawn of the PC in the late 70s. Once the digital age hit and people could digitize music and trade it on the internet it was all over for record sales. Record sales have dropped to approximately 40% (for both physical and digital sales combined) of where they were in 2000. The good news is that iTunes sales are slightly up this year from what I've read, which could be a good indicator that the newer generation coming up who where raised on iTunes have accepted this as the way society consumes music. Although, I admit that could be my own wishful thinking. The bad news is that people don't buy albums anymore, they buy songs. So when a band put out an album pre 2000 people generally bought the entire record at about $15.99, which if the band was signed to a label (like I was back then) the artist would have grossed about $1.50 per sale. Some may argue that  iTunes pays roughly 70% of $9.99 (just under 7 bucks) and that artists have it better now. Again the problem is that fans now only buy one or maybe two songs on an album, which only makes the band about $.55 after iTunes and the digital distributors take their cut. If the band is signed to a label, the label still takes between 50-90% of that $.55. So even if a band sells a million downloads of a hit song they're making pennies, as opposed to selling a million albums in the pre 2000 world in which the bands gross profit would have been about 1 to 1.5 million dollars. Labels and iTunes know this is a problem for bands but they don't seem to care, Labels are trying to make up the difference by singing artists to 360 deals and Apple has never denied that iTunes has always been more of a means to sell iPods than making money from actual music sales. I could go on but I think you get the idea...

2. The internet has leveled the playing field for indie artists
This is perhaps the biggest piece of misinformation that is currently accepted by many indie artists and bands. Many of the high traffic music sites (sites that can get a band real exposure) are either owned by major labels and their subsidiaries or the sites, if operating independently, either work on a pay for play system through the sale of adverts, or they are biased towards select labels and artists whom are being represented by specific PR agencies. In other words it's absolutely no different than it was when bands were trying to promote via print media prior to about 2004. In other words the forum may have changed from print to digital but the methodology is still the same.

3. Labels have sold artists out to Spotify
When I was researching this article I found out that it takes something like 4 million plays on Spotify for an artist to generate $1100. I've heard other numbers since my initial investigation that were slightly better, but still ridiculous. It's impossible for artists, or labels for that matter, to make any real money streaming music on Spotify. So why did all the major labels who are supposed to be savvy corporations put their catalogs on Spotify knowing this? Simple, Spotify cut a back room deal with the majors to give them stock in Spotify for the rights to stream their catalogs. So the labels sold out their artists for ownership in Spotify. It's outrageous and perhaps the least publicized and biggest "Fuck You" the labels could have ever done to their artists. And for those who have been convinced that Spotify helps by giving bands free exposure, that's more myth than truth, but that's another story for another day...

In conclusion, my opinion is that artists where far better off prior to about 2002 when major labels and terrestrial radio were still king and music was primarily consumed on small plastic discs. I know we were all screaming back then about how labels were screwing artists but we had it so much better back then in comparison to now. It was actually possible in those days for a good indie band to make a living through the combined revenue of record sales, touring and publishing. Now that record sales have been gutted and are unlikely to recover there doesn't seem to be much hope for the old model. Today you have even more bands than ever, all fighting over a much smaller pie with no feasible solutions, just a bunch of greedy bottom feeders trying to suck the last bit of marrow from the industry's bones. With that said, it's not that I'm all that nostalgic for the past. The past wasn't all roses. Labels were greedy and screwed artists, but there was a lot more to go around so it wasn't so painful. I'm all for change, technology and embracing the future of this digital age. The problem really has to do with the old system refusing to adapt to a new world. It comes down to evolution, and those that don't evolve die. We are all witnessing the slow and painful death of what was once the music industry.

Labels prior to 2004 used to sign bands for ownership of their copyrights while giving reasonable advances, video and tour support. Even a developing act prior to 2002 would often get an advance of $100,000 or more (my band did in 1998). Subsequently, almost all labels now pay very small or no advance money, rarely give video or tour support, yet expect bands to sign 360 deals, which in a nutshell means that the label gets a cut of every possible revenue source a band might have. This is not labels evolving to a new world, it's just greed combined with lack of vision.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Synthetic Epiphany: Equalize

Equalize EP cover art
Equalize is the new album from electronic musician/producer Synthetic Epiphany, aka Marcus Levy-Chance. The nine tracks are breathtaking examples of atmospheric, liquid dubstep. With beats that rivet ones attention to the music, which is rich in wonderous melodies, Equalize is a stirring listening experience. This is easily one of the best instrumental works released this year. Stream and buy Equalize at the link below.

These Seeds: Ghosts Video

Here's a video for a new track from FZB favorites These Seeds. The track Ghosts will appear on their new album coming in January.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Similarobjects: Synchronicity is the Norm

synchronicity is the norm cover art
Synchronicity is the Norm is the latest album from Philippines electronic artist/producer Similarobjects, aka Jorge Juan B. Wieneke V. This is Similarobjects' fourth appearance on FZB and his music continues to enthrall us. Synchronicity is the Norm meanders through thirteen tracks of glitchy, hipnotic electronica. Melding ambient elements with hip hop beats, samples and imaginative synths, Similarobjects constructs music that is compelling and original. Stream and buy Synchronicity is the Norm (for only $5) at the link below.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aural Method: When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody

When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody cover art
When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody is the debut album from Houston post-rock artist Aural Method, aka Matt Kidd. The fourteen tracks represent an amazing body of work for a debut, where beauty is foremost and sonic pleasure reigns above all. Melodic and orchestral, Aural Method weaves ambient textures with  the intrumental leads to make music so fine it simply must be heard, as it is beyond mere words for description. Stream and buy When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody  at the link below.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Urbantramper: Stephen Dedalus Is My Homeboy Video

Here's a new video from New Zealand band Urbantramper for the track Stephen Dedalus Is My Homeboy from the 2012 FZB reviewed album Internet Freedom Is Love.

Deadbeat Synesthete: Singularity

Singularity cover art
Singularity is the latest EP from New Jersey electronic artist Deadbeat Synesthete. The five tracks are dominated by an 80's retro synth vibe. The EP wanders through melodic synth lines, glitchy embellishments and darkish inspired vocals. Minimal drum machine beats, move things along a chillwave continuum with new wave overtones. Stream and download Singularity at the link below.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Emke: Breakaway

Breakaway EP cover art
Breakaway is the debut EP from London based electronic artist/producer Emke. The four tracks are an imaginative mix of torch song style, dense synth pads and dark haunting melodies. Inhabiting the space between darkwave and synthpop, Emke weaves a hypnotic sonic vision of compelling vocal dominance. This is a debut that shows an artist confident in her ability and at home with challenging the convention of synthpop as ordinary.  Emke should be discovered by everyone. Stream and the Breakaway EP at the link below.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FZB Top 20 of 2012: Coming Dec. 27th & 28th


Our year end Top 20 of 2012 list is coming, with #20-#11 on December 27th and #10-#1 on December 28th. Be sure to click on your favorite band's review, as it is our readers page views that determine the Top 20.

Princesse: A Six-Song EP

A Six-Song Ep cover art
French pop duo Princesse have just released their latest, A Six-Song EP. This DIY project builds on their previously released demos and a split 7" to showcase the musical growth the duo have experienced. The six tracks are polished pop songs, where every part is essential and nothing is wasted. Minimal beats, melodic lines and silky vocals set just the right mood. Princesse make dreampop that is engaging and warming. Stream and download A Six-Song EP for free at the link below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jeremy Messersmith: Paper Moon

Paper Moon cover art
Paper Moon is the latest album from Minneapolis singer/somgwriter Jeremy Messersmith. What Messersmith creates with his music is a mood where beauty is transcendent. The six tracks on Paper Moon weave subtle melodies together to deliver pop songs that are gateways to inner peace. Blending influences from ambient electronic music and folk, with a touch of retro styling, Messersmith crafts music that transports the listener into the soul of the music. Stream and buy Paper Moon at the link below.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Work Drugs: Delta

Delta cover art
Today marks the release of Delta, the new album by FZB favorites Work Drugs, aka Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana . The duo make smooth, danceable dream pop that revels in catchy melodies and hooks. Work Drugs have risen to a fairly high degree of mass appeal (for an indie artist) with their expertly crafted releases and abundant touring. Delta is poised to take the band even higher with its finely polished sound. Stream and buy Delta at the link below.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lebanon Hangover: Why Not Just Be Solo

Why Not Just Be Solo cover art
UK post-punk duo Lebanon Hangover, aka Larissa Iceglass  and William Maybelline, have released their new album, Why Not Just Be Solo. The eleven tracks are a dark journey into some of the best post-punk anthems we've heard in quite a while. Haunting and minimal, the tracks stay with you like a shadow from the hazy street lights. With abundant 80's influences and a channel to the Velvets, Lebanon Hangover craft an album of sublime angsty goodness. Stream and buy Why Not Just Be Solo at the link below.