Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Matt Alonso Breaks Down Walls in the Music Industry December 4, 2016

by Nicole Seitz

Last December I interviewed senior music industry student Matt Alonso about his Kickstarter for Cortex which successfully raised $5,500. It may sound cheesy, but what once was an idea has now become a reality for Alonso after nine months of dealing with the ups and downs of the industry and working four jobs to make sure his dream would come true.

The platform of Cortex is a way for musicians to connect with their fans, according to Alonso. Currently the website thecortexmusic.com can be used for fans to download their favorite artists’ music for free. Artists that are registered with Cortex currently include current Blue Hawk Records artists Littlebear and The Ramparts Rebel and some Monmouth alumni bands like The Bunks, Flammable Animals, and Grin & Bear. Some local bands, such as Bounders and The Black Sox Scandal, are featured on the website as well.

The website had its first soft launch in mid-September 2016. Artists pay a single payment of $50 to start connecting with their fans and making money off their music. Although this is only the beginning, Alonso has a lot in store for Cortex. Within the next year Alonso wants to “go towards streaming music for these artists’ and get them paid more than Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music combined.”

We have seen artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift take a stand against the music streaming sites that only seek to take money from artists. Alonso’s goal is to “put the music industry back in the hands of the artists.”

He explained that current CEO’s of these streaming sites have a formula they use to calculate how much money goes to the artist and how much goes to them and Alonso blatantly stated “I made up my own formula and it’s better.”

His whole platform revolves around making sure the artist get paid fairly and can connect with their fans. Alonso recently celebrated his first two cents of revenue, and although that may not be much to most of us, it meant the world to him and the future of Cortex.

His focus is on the artist themselves. “If [Cortex] helps at least one other person, I’ll be grateful,” Alonso stated. He is a huge music lover himself and sees the dwindling appreciation for the art of music. “Music is a beautiful thing that is taken for granted,” Alonso believes.

Alonso’s goal is to raise awareness of this lost art by starting locally. Many of the artists that represent Cortex right now are Monmouth County bands, and Alonso hopes that by being a part of Cortex they can grow. Alonso said, “Every band that anyone has ever loved was once a local band.” He urged people to support their local artists by listening to your local music scene.

Joe Rapolla, Chair and specialist professor of the Music and Theatre Arts department, has had Alonso as a student and says “This is exactly the kind of creative initiative we love to see our students take. I applaud Matt’s entrepreneurial efforts with Cortex. I’ve told him, like we tell all of our students, that we are here to support them if they have an idea that they’d like to pursue…whether while here at Monmouth, or beyond.”

Rapolla continued “I am constantly making the point that the business world isn’t just looking for workers to come in to be told what to do, but rather innovators that ask how they can add value, and contribute to a solution.”

Dave DePaola, a senior music industry student, commented, “Matt is such a great dude and has such a love and passion for music. He’s doing something that the industry should have been doing for years and he’s doing it all to help promote the art of music and get artists’ the appreciation they deserve. I wish him all the luck through out this whole journey.”

The future of Cortex will provide artists an option to pay a little more and register to be Premium Artists. This premium feature will allow artists to see the demographics of who is listening to their music and where these fans are.

This feature will allow the musicians to get to the fans that are listening and make more connections with them. Alonso described how there is a huge disconnect between artists and fans and this feature can hopefully break down those walls.

The passion and enthusiasm Alonso has for this project and for music in general is evident. He has big plans for the future and hopes to change the world of the music industry. If you’re interested in checking out the website go to thecortexmusic.com and sign up to be a fan and become a part of a music revolution.

 

Election Day 2016 November 8, 2016

Election Day…smell that?  Yep, that’s the smell of your freedom.  We could care less about who you vote for, the important thing is that you vote. You have a voice, so speak up!

HeadCount followed Van’s Warped Tour this summer to sign up as many young voters as possible.  They’ve registered close to 30,000 new voters this year (including 2,000+ on Warped Tour) and over 350,000 voters since started in 2004. Here’s a short video of the opinions  of young voters at Vans Warped Tour (the opinions may be surprising). It features members of Sleeping with Sirens, Reel Big Fish and Every Time I Die, plus Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, and many young fans.

Fact of the matter is that this election is between 2 major candidates. But what do you do when you despise both of them, and cannot envision our country run by a Fascist or a Warmonger?  You still vote.  Consider the Green Party and candidate Jill Stein:

Remember that vote for ANYONE still counts.  Maybe you just want to party hard and think Andrew W.K. and the Party Party is a good option:

Or, maybe you’ve always wanted a pony and think Vermin Supreme is the way to go:

Look, it doesn’t matter who you vote for…all politicians are liars, will do anything for your ballot, and it’s usually between a giant douche or a turd sandwich anyway.  But someone has to lead our country so get out there and vote…because, reasons.

 

41 Tips For Women Starting Out In The Music Business (Repost from PIAS) September 28, 2016

Filed under: Interviews,Too Cool for a Category — NVMP @ 11:36 PM
Tags: ,

“It’s a male-dominated industry, but that means your perspective is even more value. Speak your mind, speak truth to power – never be afraid to be “that girl.”” – Michelle Lhooq

This is an amazing post and I’m honored to share these tips!  Thank you to PIAS for this post!

41 tips for women starting out in the music business

 

 

Vans Warped Tour – 22 Years and Going Strong! July 4, 2016

Vans Warped Tour is in its 22nd year and has become America’s longest running music festival!

VWT 16

“It’s fun to see so many people excited to be back on the road together. Warped continues to be a community that makes it all worth while.” says tour founder Kevin Lyman.

With a back-to-basics lineup that signals a return to the tour’s roots, the 22nd edition of Warped Tour welcomes back several fan favorites, including: American Authors, Atreyu, New Found Glory, Tonight Alive, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, We The Kings, Sleeping With Sirens, Falling In Reverse, Four Year Strong, Reel Big Fish, Sum 41 and Pepper, to name a few.

NVMP is excited to check out some of the new talent hitting the tour this year like Dash Ten, Capsize, Mother Feather and Reckless Serenade (this year’s BBQ Band), as well as classic punk rockers like Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, Ballyhoo!  and Reel Big Fish. We’re also beyond excited to check out The Interrupters!  We’ll see you on the tour in New Jersey on Sunday July 17th at PNC Bank Arts Center – hopefully it won’t be recorded as the hottest day of the year again.

Since the band schedule is released daily for each tour date, here’s a list of bands and the stage that they will be playing on.  This should hopefully help you plan ahead.  Don’t forget to find the dude selling the full line up when you enter your venue – that thing is a lifesaver and well worth the couple of bucks.  Or, you can fight your way to the inflatable schedule and take a picture.

Journeys Left Foot Stage

Falling In Reverse 6/23-8/13

Four Year Strong 6/24-8/13

Good Charlotte 7/19-7/28

Less Than Jake 6/24-8/13

New Found Glory 6/24-8/13

Reel Big Fish 6/24-8/13

Set It Off 6/24-8/13

Sum 41 6/26-8/7

The Summer Set 7/30-8/13

Waka Flocka Flame 8/5-8/13

We The Kings 6/24-8/13

Yellowcard 6/24-8/13

Journey’s Right Foot Stage

3OH!3 7/21-7/31

ISSUES 6/24-8/13

Mayday Parade 6/24-8/13

Pepper 6/24-6/29, 7/1-7/22

Real Friends 6/24-8/13

Sleeping with Sirens 6/24-8/13

State Champs 6/24-8/13

The Maine 6/24-8/13

The Story So Far 6/24-8/13

Tonight Alive 6/24-8/13

Monster Energy Party Zone North Stage

Atreyu 7/19-8/7

Bullet For My Valentine 7/19-7/22

Crown The Empire 6/24-8/13

Every Time I Die 6/24-8/13

Ice Nine Kills 6/24-8/13

Motionless In White 6/24-8/13

The Color Morale 6/24-8/13

The Word Alive 6/24-8/13

Volumes 6/24-7/17

Whitechapel 6/24-8/13

Monster Energy Party Zone South Stage

Chelsea Grin 6/24-8/13

Coldrain 6/24-8/13

Cruel Hand 6/24-8/13

From Ashes To New 6/24-8/13

Gideon 6/24-8/13

In Hearts Wake 6/24-8/13

Oceans Ate Alaska 6/24-8/13

Vanna 6/24-8/13

Veil Of Maya 6/24-8/13

Poseidon Stage

Emarosa 6/24-8/13

I See Stars 6/24-8/13

Knuckle Puck 6/24- 8/13

Masked Intruder 6/24-8/13

Prof 7/26-8/13

Roam 6/24-8/13

SECRETS 6/24-8/13

The Heirs 6/24-8/13

The Interrupters 6/24-8/13

Young Guns 6/24-8/13

Cyclops Stage

Against The Current 6/24-8/13

Assuming We Survive 6/24-8/13

Ballyhoo! 6/24-8/13

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! 6/24-8/13

Ghost Town 6/24-8/3

Sykes 6/24-8/13

Teenage Bottlerocket 6/24-8/13

Too Close To Touch 6/24-8/13

Waterparks 6/24-8/13

Full Sail Stage

Avion Roe 6/24-7/21

Bad Seed Rising 6/24-7/27

Broadside 6/24-8/13

Cane Hill 6/24-8/13

Capsize 7/17-8/13

Dash Ten 6/24-8/13

Hail The Sun 6/24-7/16

Like Pacific 6/24-8/13

More To Monroe 7/28-8/13

Mother Feather 6/24-8/13

Old Wounds 6/24-8/13

Palaye Royale 6/24-8/13

Reckless Serenade 6/24-8/13

Safe To Say 6/24-8/13

SayWeCanFly 7/22-8/13

Silent Planet 6/24-7/17

The New Low 7/19-8/13

Wage War 6/24-8/13

With Confidence 6/24-8/13

And here is a list of the remaining tour dates:

7.5 CHARLOTTE, NC

7.6 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

7.7 SYRACUSE, NY

7.8 PHILADELPHIA, PA

7.9 NEW YORK, NY

7.10 HARTFORD, CT

7.11 SCRANTON, PA

7.13 BOSTON, MA

7.14 BUFFALO, NY

7.15 PITTSBURGH, PA

7.16 COLUMBIA, MD

7.17 HOLMDEL, NJ

7.19 INDIANAPOLIS, IN

7.20 CLEVELAND, OH

7.21 CINCINNATI, OH

7.22 DETROIT, MI

7.23 CHICAGO, IL

7.24 MINNEAPOLIS, MN

7.26 MILWAUKEE, WI

See you in the pit!

TNT

 

The Most Lamentable Tragedy – Titus Andronicus May 18, 2016

Filed under: CD Reviews — NVMP @ 11:28 PM
Tags: ,

A review by Jon Warhol
tlta

Online reviewers have been praising and glorifying the hell out of The Most Lamentable Tragedy as if it’s some grand philosophical statement that’s going to bring peace to mankind. They’re all wrong. Dissenting opinions should always be welcoming punk, so here’s mine.

Before calling me a hater, let’s get one thing straight: Titus Andronicus is one of my favorite bands and there are some really great parts to their 4th album: The Most Lamentable Tragedy (TMLT). However, TMLT is a 29-track 93-minute rock opera in 5 acts that suffers from some little problems which add up to one big problem: it’s just too much. The length, the number of tracks, the concept, the production, the weird parts, the loud parts, the silent parts. It’s just too damn much. Some tracks kick ass, but as a whole it falls flat.

Length: Too long. I own the album on CD and it spans 2 discs. I could dramatically improve it by halving the track list so it’ll fit onto just one. Disc 1 is mostly A-OK, but on disc 2 do we need the Gregorian chant praising Egyptian sun-god Ra? Or the choral version of “Auld Lang Syne”? Or the track called “7 Seconds” that’s just 7 seconds of silence? Or the closing track “A Moral”, an anti-climactic short drone? You get the point.

Lyrics and Vocals: References to classic literature and pop culture and a complicated story about a manic-depressive who meets his doppelgänger, goes through dream sequences and has an existential crisis…or something like that. It’s really hard to get the story simply from listening to the music. This is because most of the album is sung in a scream that’s exhausting, hard to interpret, and just a little too soft in the mix.

I totally get that this is punk rock and it’s supposed to be loud, emotional, confrontational, angsty, blah blah. It certainly achieves all those feelings. But if the lyrics are important and tell such a complicated story, why were they sung and recorded in a way that makes them hard to hear?

Part of me also feels that a 93 minute 5 act opera about one’s personal problems is a little self obsessed à la Roger Waters or Pete Townshend. But hey, I’m not the one with manic depression and it works for Patrick, so to each their own.

Production: Again, I understand punk is supposed to have an in-your-face quality, but listening through the whole thing feels like it was recorded and mixed quickly in one small room. There’s often so much guitar, bass and drums that most of the lyrical content and story gets lost in muddiness. Combined with TMLT’s length, the production and instrumentation really begins to sound the same after a while. You’ll get weary of riff after riff and more guitar and more guitar that by the time disc 2 rolls around, you’ll find yourself skipping tracks.

Things I liked: The band’s performance on TMLT is top-notch. Tight rhythms, powerful chord riffs and melodic guitar solos make parts of TMLT stand out as some of Titus’ strongest playing. There are times when the lo-fi, fast and angry production works well. Tracks 9 – 12 “I Lost My Mind (DJ)”, “Mr. E. Mann”, “Fired Up” and “Dimed Out” are the best on the whole album and would be an awesome EP if released on their own. While the album’s length and production made me miss some of the overall story, I respect that the band tried something bold and new. Titus Andronicus made a true artistic statement with TMLT. Whether or not this statement is realized will vary from listener to listener.

Get it! If you’re already a Titus Andronicus fan and like lengthy rock operas.

Don’t get it! If you’re not already fan. Start with their second album The Monitor. Or, watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKdWBpXlc6E from Titus’ YouTube channel. It’s the best 15 minutes from the whole album.

 

 

Thrice Premieres Official Video For “Black Honey” May 17, 2016

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for new music from one of my favorite bands!    Only 10 days to go until their new album To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere is released via Vagrant Records/BMG, and only 1 month away Thrice plays the tri-state area!

Check out the music video for “Black Honey”and local dates below

6/16 New York NY @ PlayStation Theater

6/17 Philadelphia PA @ The Fillmore

6/18 Sayreville NJ @ Starland Ballroom

6/19 Boston MA @ House of Blues

 

Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size Of A Fist by Sunil Yapa April 1, 2016

A book review by Alexander Castiglione

THIAMTSOYF

I remember vividly my father telling me “Your heart is the size of your fist.”

I don’t know why, but that stuck with me. Sometimes I’d look at my hand, clench a fist, and think “this is your heart.” Then I came across this title by Sunil Yapa, his first novel, and knew I had to read it.

Set in the turbulence of the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, a nation divided, and on the cusp of the post-911 world we find ourselves today; it is a tale of heartache and loss, but also of redemption and self-realization. Despite it being set some 17 years ago, there are significant echoes of current political climes and social injustices which we still see today.

Broad strokes: the narrative follows several wildly different characters on intersecting trajectories, the protagonist being a young man named Victor, who just returned to Seattle after running away for two years. From the time he was 16, Victor was a wayward, world traveling soul; looking for something, anything. We also meet King, an eco-radical in a sense, and Park, a radical policeman in a totally disparate sense. There are other players within the piece, and they all gel together (symphonically in this writer’s opinion) to create a tapestry of human conditions I think many of us, even if we didn’t stand resolute protesting the WTO, our muscles aching from baton strikes, can relate to.

From the alienation of a boy looking for his place in the world, to the stoicism of a hardened police chief trying to quell a rebellion, all the way over to the older man, who practiced non-violence his entire adult life, and protested every atrocity along the way, media coverage or not. Yapa creates a mosaic of love, hate, anger, pain, loss, self-discovery, doubt, power, and most of all love; that I think we all can agree makes up the mosaic of human existence. Each tile no more or less important than the last, each emotion just connected to the other.

His prose is beautifully written, and despite having very deep passages that read more like a pastoral hymn with monkish undertones than a novel written in 2016, it is powerful. Very powerful in fact, much like the title of this book which drew me in; and like a fist, the heart is capable of pain: both inflicted it, and being afflicted by it. Just ask anyone who has taken a shot to the jaw, or missed and hit a brick wall in error; and perhaps I’m over analyzing – but I think this is an exceptional metaphor for the heart: the paradox of vulnerability and impenetrability. It can be broken and yet is still unbreakable, a marvelous organ indeed.   

The actual delivery is not the only beautiful element to this 300-or-so page novel, but the actual substance. Yapa weaves a tale of great depth, capturing the illogicality of our actions and relationships and nailing the mysteriousness of ourselves to ourselves. Even set against the backdrop of the WTO protests, with turmoil in the streets, Molotov cocktails streaking through the night sky, and rubber bullets bellowing from police shotguns; there is still a great contrast when this tumult is compared to that of a boy looking for his father, a girl looking for resolution, a diplomat looking for a way to his meeting. Each of us, he implies, is amidst a riot all their own. All sides of the story are exposed, and all characters are given their humanity by Yapa.

Despite Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size Of A Fist being Yapa’s first novel, I am absolutely certain it will not be his last. It’s poignant prose and outstandingly researched setting juxtaposed to round, real, relatable characters is not something easily attained, and the thoughtfulness shines through. It’s a tender novel, with (at times) grizzled characters, which are surrounded by more than just CS Gas and pepper spray, but their own demons.