Drone Strike

alanToday a friend of mine (who I didn’t know was a Low fan) posted a link that has had me smiling all day.

I had not heard this news but it was like candy to my reading eyes.  At this weekend’s Rock The Garden music festival in Minnesota, five indie bands were gathered together to play a long evening of rock ‘n roll.  Among the bands invited were Minnesota’s own Low, the very band that inspired this website (including the name).

The crowd had just been rained on so much that some were literally standing in ankle-deep water, and as Low took the stage certainly no one was expecting what would come next:  a 14-minute, droning, noisy, ambient tune from The Curtain Hits the Cast that was stretched out to fill their entire almost 30-minute set, followed by a simple three-word punchline.  “Drone, not drones.”

Apparently the majority of the audience weren’t amused (warning: foul language in that link).

Listen, folks, I understand that:

  1. the audience was filled with people that probably don’t know the iconoclastic side of Low and were looking for just a good night of music, and that
  2. this amounted to a preachy political statement at an inconvenient time, and that
  3. people paid a lot of money to see a night of what they hoped would be music, and
  4. Alan probably alienated some potential fans by making this statement.

That having been said, reading about it has reminded me once again what made Low so life-changing for me in the first place.  Here is a band who, from the beginning, wanted to be like nothing you’ve ever heard before.  They played quietly and slowly, with subtle harmonies and lots of ambience, to crowds that often sat while listening, and would often turn their volume down in hostile venues, during the era when Grunge was hitting the scene.  And they not only succeeded in doing it, but they’ve earned a throng of loyal fans, some of them quite high-profile, and managed to stay married and active in the church, while raising children, for over 20 years.  Perhaps Alan is right that it’s a fluke, but it gives me hope that I can stay true to myself and still find a niche in life.

Secondly, without getting too political here, the issue of drone strikes by the United States government is a concern to me, and it’s sensitive, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and interrupts my daily life and thoughts in a disturbing way.  Anyone that reads a lot about the subject should lose at least a little sleep over it.  It seems to me that Alan feels the same way, and what better way to bring awareness to the issue than point it out starkly to a crowd of art fans who might be receptive to the message?  And I’m noticing that this seems to be the overlooked point of Alan’s stunt.  So Alan seems to have miscalculated, perhaps, and a crowd of 5000 potential fans might have been the casualties of that bold risk, but I’m so glad he took it.  So glad.  Like, tonight when I put my kid to bed and he was brushing his teeth I was just beaming to myself the whole time, just thinking about it.

While many of the crowd probably wanted a refund on the money they spent on Low, I literally would have paid $100 to see it.  And you know, as far as I can tell, they seem to be the most-talked-about artist that played that show – and hundreds and possibly thousands of people are hearing the phrase “drone, not drones” for the first time (including me), so perhaps Alan knew what he was doing after all.

Drone Strike

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning…

Linescratchers-Friendly Album Compilation Project Announced

Driftwood Tide Music has recently announced intentions to produce a 2 album set of music written and/or performed by LDS artists. One album will focus exclusively on gospel themes, while the other album will focus on secular music.  Basically, the goal is to showcase LDS artists in two settings, which are being loosely described as “Saturday Night” and “Sunday Morning”.   Linescratcher artists may find the “Saturday Night” album to be a great fit, and a great opportunity to showcase their talents.

Many artists lack the funds to do a full album, or even an EP, and produce it at a professional level – thus preventing them from having a decent product to sell, and material to promote themselves with.  This compilation will hopefully help mitigate this problem, while  showcasing talent, and providing opportunities.  These opportunities include being introduced to new fans, networking with other artists, improving your professional image, having merchandise to sell, and more.

All writers and performers need not be LDS to participate.   A song written by an LDS artist but performed by a non-LDS artist is fine, and vice-versa.  Bands need not be all LDS, but should have a significant LDS presence in the band.  These situations will be looked at on a case-by-case basis to see if it makes sense.

Ideally, this album will be mostly upbeat and energetic, but a solid ballad could be a welcome addition.  Even though this is considered secular music, the lyrics, music, and performance should still be  LDS friendly.. In other words, no off-color lyrics or themes, and no music that would be considered dark or chaotic.   Style wise, a fairly broad and diverse sound is desired, while still managing to have some cohesiveness by presenting a marketable sound that the Teen to Thirties crowd could enjoy.  Popular music in many variations is encouraged – rock, electronic, folk, dance, indie, singer-songwriter, indie-flavored rock, and even modern pop-country are all ok, so long as they can at least loosely fit in with or be associated with popular music.   In selecting the songs, extremes will likely be avoided in order to create an enjoyable collection that can garner wide appeal, while still attempting to create a diverse collection of music that will expose listeners to new sounds and styles.

This is a pay-to-participate opportunity, meaning that the cost of the CD manufacturing will be split among the artists.  The exact fee is yet to be determined but will be reasonable – an amount that could be easily met by simply selling a small portion of the merchandise that the artist will receive.  Driftwood Tide Music will handle the mastering at no additional charge to the artists.  For their participation fee, artists will get a stack of CDs and Download cards that can be sold directly by the artist for any amount they desire, with the full proceeds going straight to their pockets.   Artists will also get online sales through iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Spotify, etc.  Proceeds from online album sales will be managed by Driftwood Tide Music and will be divided among the participants. Artists are responsible to provide a high quality recording of their song(s) for the album(s). These can be produced in a personal or commercial studio as the artist deems appropriate.

If you’ve been holding off on putting out a professional release, or if you just need something to keep your fans engaged in between full album projects, this is a great way to get a professional product to promote and sell, and most importantly, to help keep your fans engaged while opening doors to a whole new potential fan base.

Production does NOT need to be done through Driftwood Tide Music in order to be on the album.  In fact, they stand ready to provide referrals to other producers, studios, engineers, songwriters, etc, who can assist you with your project.  Additionally though, they are ready and willing to provide recording, mixing, producing, or other services as needed.  It doesn’t matter if you record your project at home or in a big studio, so long as the quality is at a high level. You are welcome to use an existing recording already (please just be sure to provide the UN-Mastered original mix so that it can be remastered).

Hopefully, this will be an appealing opportunity that can help expand awareness of Linescratchers artists, and provide opportunities to create new fans, and have a high quality product to sell.   We hope to get at least one independent artist who is more well known and established to participate in the album project, in order to help increase the exposure and distribution of the albums.

While the “secular” album from the set is a pretty obvious opportunity, please don’t discount the “spiritual” album as a non-opportunity, as the hope is that this album will be pushing the limits of the “typical” LDS spiritual album sound & style a little as well, and may still be a good outlet for some slightly non-traditional LDS spiritual music.

To be clear – this is not an official linescratchers sponsored project, even though we hope it will create opportunities for feature articles and music reviews on the site for those who participate, and more importantly – we hope it will help generate some great new music, and garner more attention for the site and for our collective efforts in showcasing some of the great LDS talent lurking in the shadows. All questions should be routed to Matt Mylroie / Driftwood Tide Music, either through the contact information on Linescratchers.com, or through the “contact” page at http://www.driftwoodtidemusic.com.

Matt Mylroie is a producer/engineer/musician/songwriter based in Florida, and a semi-regular contributor to linescratchers. 
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Saturday Night, Sunday Morning…