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Ten You Might’ve Missed in 2014

We’re busy. You’re busy. We probably missed some of your favorite records this year. Here are a few of our under-the-radar favorites from 2014. Tell us yours!

The #1s: The Number Ones [Deranged Records]

The guff of these Irishmen! If you name your band AND your debut album “The #1s,” you’d best deliver. (See: Big Star’s “#1 Record.”) Guess what: they deliver. Ten punky power-popsicles with rowdy anthemic gang vocals and heartbroken lyrics that trace a strong lineage from The Undertones to The Figgs.

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Warm Soda: Young Reckless HeartsWarm Soda: Young Reckless Hearts [Castle Face Records]

The second album in as many years from the Austin-via-Oakland quartet fronted by Matthew Meltion [Bare Wires], Young Reckless Hearts is chock full of infectious power-pop odes to young love that rival anything in The Shoes’s classic discography. Get your swoon on  just in time for Valentine’s Day. You can stream the entire thing via Noisey.

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Haley Bonar: Last War [Graveface Records & Curiosities]

As NPR noted, this Midwestern US singer-songwriter’s fifth album is “so breezy and brief, so bright and agreeable” that it takes a few listens to absorb the “deeply ambivalent” lyrics. The songs are jangly cool, quietly anthemic, and smartly bittersweet. Bonus: her voice reminds us of Sam Phillips (the lady, not the Sun Records guy).

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Case Study: The Raveonettes and Their Surprise Release “Pe’ahi”

TheRaveonettes

GOALS
For The Raveonettes’ 7th studio album, Pe’ahi, the indie duo opted for a less traditional marketing route: the surprise release. This new project came almost two years after the band’s last album, Observator. Therefore, our main objectives for this worldwide campaign were to both set the stage for a new release and reinvigorate the fanbase without giving away any new album plans.

TACTICS
In order to properly spread the news of the album release without giving away too much information, we decided to break our campaign down into two phases over the course of only two weeks. In the first, we began by concentrating solely on serving core fans by “secretly” issuing the track “Sisters.” We did so by sending out a newsletter that included the track to the band’s mailing list. Additionally, hidden, “dark” posts, ones targeted only to Raveonettes fans, were promoted on the band’s Facebook page, including a video trailer and link to the secret download page.

Simultaneously, a series of YouTube pre-roll and search ads using terms related to “new The Raveonettes album” were launched targeting only the most engaged fans, for instance those who had watched certain Raveonettes videos in the previous 30 days. Because the actual album release was still secret, these ads left out any kind of sales messaging. The idea was that although no formal announcement had been made, superfans would share the “secret” with their friends to organically get the hype going. In the process, we gathered valuable data on the band’s top fans, which allowed us to later push the album’s release to the right audience.

Three days later, the track was announced publicly across the band’s socials, driving traffic towards the hidden track download page. When intrigued fans made their way to the website, they submitted their email to download the track via the Unlock FM widget, marking first-time use of the platform and allowing us to collect remarketing data for the second phase.

Phase two of the Pe’ahi campaign came the following week when the album made its surprise drop. We used all the segmented remarketing data gathered from phase one to really push release awareness. With it, our interactive marketing team helped The Raveonettes post targeted messages on their socials to the most relevant audiences. We retired the original “secret” download link so that it simply forwarded to the band’s website, thus making the search easier for those who weren’t superfans. Throughout the first week of the release, a series of themed lyric videos and album streams premiered across publications like Pitchfork, Q Online, This is Fake DIY, NPR, USA Today and other leading online editorials in Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia.

To continue driving sales and streams, official music videos for each track are set to roll out throughout 2015. The first, “Endless Sleeper,” premiered on Stereogum one week after Pe’ahi came out.

RESULTS

  • From the start of the campaign in May up until September, Facebook engagement increased by 13%, YouTube subscribers were up by 176%, Wikipedia Pageviews increased by 94% and Instagram Followers increased by 48%.
  • The average time spent on the splash page was 39 seconds – that’s quite a long time for splash pages, meaning the viewer was fully engaged with content on the page.
  • As part of the Email Unlock campaign, there was a 25% increase in the number of emails acquired.
  • Pe’ahi debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top New Artist Albums chart, remaining on the chart for 6+ weeks, peaked at #3 on the overall Danish iTunes Chart, #1 on the Danish iTunes Alternative Chart, and spent 5 weeks on CMJ’s Top 10 Album Chart.

For your viewing pleasure:

Take These Holiday Classics for an Indie Spin

IndieHoliday2Have you ever polished a chestnut? Oh, how it shines. We’ve put together a playlist of our favorite Indie artists polishing away, with soft white dream powder (The Raveonettes “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”), with wacko monkey grease (Quintron & Miss Pussycat “Jingle Bell Rock”), with Retro Funk goo (Shawn Lee‘s Ping Pong Orchestra “Little Drummer Boy”), with purple drank (Ying Yang Twins “Sleigh Ride”), with… a shirt, probably, because this guy doesn’t like wearing a shirt (Iggy Pop “White Christmas”). It’s new and nostalgic, at the same time. Happy ho ho y’all.

Take A Bow, 57th Grammy Award Nominees!

grammy-2015T’is the season… of awards! With that, Grammy nominations have just come in — and we couldn’t be more excited for our highlighted Orchard-repped artists and labels.

Between Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Ruthie Foster, The Stanley Clarke Band and more, so many great releases were unleashed into the world this year. The San Francisco Symphony gave us an incredible rendition of the musical classic West Side Story, Light In The Attic took us back to the late 60s with Lee Hazlewood, and Round Sky, Raveolution, Domo and Sounds True rep’ed hard in New Age. These (as well as many more who didn’t get nods this time around) deserve every bit of praise they get.

The awards go down February 8, 2015. Until then, here’s the full list of nominees from The Orchard:

Nomination Artist Album
Best R&B Album Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Give The People What They Want [Daptone Records]
Best New Age Album Paul Avgerinos Bhakti [Round Sky Records]
Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman Winds of Samsara [Raveolution Studios]
Kitaro Symphony Live In Istanbul [Domo Records]
David Darling, Silvia Nakkach In Love and Longing [Sounds True]
Best Jazz Vocal Album Gretchen Parlato Live in NYC [ObliqSound]
Tierney Sutton Paris Sessions [BFM Jazz]
Best Roots Gospel Album T. Graham Brown Forever Changed [MCM World Media]
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) Ixya Herrera Voz Y Guitarra [Rampart Latino]
Best Tropical Latin Album El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico 50 Aniversario – Volume 1 [EGC Records]
Best Blues Album Ruthie Foster Promise Of A Brand New Day [Blue Corn Music]
Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin’ Decisions [Silver Talon Records]
Best Regional Roots Music Album Bonsoir Catin Light The Stars [Valcour Records]
Best Reggae Album SOJA Amid the Noise And Haste [Som Livre]
Best World Music Album Toumani & Sidiki Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté [Corason]
Best Children’s Album Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could Just Say Hi! [Bumblin’ Bee Records]
Best Musical Theater Album San Francisco Symphony West Side Story [San Francisco Symphony]
Best Instrumental Composition The Stanley Clarke Band for “Last Train to Sanity” Up [Mack Avenue Records]
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella Alfredo Rodriguez for “Guantanamera” The Invasion Parade [Mack Avenue Records]
Best Album Notes Various Artists I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970 [Light In The Attic]
Best Historical Album Various Artists Lee Hazlewood Industries: There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving (1966-1971) [Light In The Attic]
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance Partch Harry Partch: Plectra and Percussion Dances [Bridge Records, Inc.]
Best Classical Compendium Partch Harry Partch: Plectra and Percussion Dances [Bridge Records, Inc.]
Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet [Adventure Music]
Paul Daniel The Solent [Albion Records]
Best Classical Instrumental Solo Leon Fleisher All the Things You Are [Bridge Records, Inc.]
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album Anne Sofie von Otter Douce France [naïve classique]
Florian Boesch Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, Op. 25, D. 795 [Onyx Classics]
Best Contemporary Classical Composition Orchestra 2001 Complete Crumb Edition, Vol. 16; Voices from the Heartland, Sun and Shadow [Bridge Records, Inc.]

Congratulations to all the nominees! We’ll be cheering for you come February.

Label Spotlight: Joel Gion & The Reverberation Appreciation Society

Himmelman_11183I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joel Gion, the most famous tambourine player in the Indie Rock world, about his new album Apple Bonkers on The Reverberation Appreciation Society label in Austin (also the home of Night Beats, Elephant Stone, Holy Wave, Austin Psychfest DVDs and Christian Bland & The Revelators, guitarist for The Black Angels)…

Your new album Apple Bonkers on the Reverberation Appreciation Society label seems like a great fit. How did you hook up with one of Austin’s finest labels?

Well after I got most of the album tracks recorded I saw the Austin Psych Fest was coming up so I wanted to premiere my new songs at the coolest Festival in the world. I emailed them the tunes and they’re like “hey let us put this out on our label” so I got the perfect fit before I even had to go shopping.

I saw a prior Joel Gion album, Extended Play, at Other Music a while back… How would you compare the experience of making and playing that record to your latest?

Oh that’s neat they had that. It was a home recordings EP. It was my first attempt at writing my own songs and I turned it into an experiment. I wrote, recorded and mixed the whole thing on my computer and had a limited edition vinyl pressed before ever playing the music to anyone. I was just bored and was up for some learning in public. Some of the results I love, but it’s got some wonky moments as well. But then Burger Records wanted to do a cassette so I was able to add a couple more songs and make some afterthought adjustments. That’s the best version.

Doing everything by yourself I get, but I also think it’s kinda masturbatory. I much prefer collaboration with like-minded weirdos. I guess I found I’m just more of a circle jerk kinda guy. I wrote all the songs and had a great time fleshing it out in a proper studio with many friends. It was really nice to have people I respected want to be apart of it. Rob Campanella, Collin Hegna, Dan Allaire & Matt Hollywood from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Pete Holmstrom from The Dandy Warhols, Ryan Van Kriedt from Asteroid #4, ex-BJMr’s Miranda Lee Richards and Jeff Davies and others. The Psychedelic Super Friends!

“Hairy Flowers” is a Psych-Pop smash hit in our opinion. What’s the back-story on that particular song?

Thanks. Well that song more than any other is a true expression of myself and also explains why it took so long for me to start making my own work. I’m lazy as f#ck! I can sing that song with pure honesty and self awareness. I love music that romanticizes just being free to bum around. Lee Hazlewood, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings — all that “Sunday Morning Coming Down” type fare.

OK now lets jump back into history… you and I met while the documentary Dig was being shot here about your old group The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols in what was then the TVT offices. Can you synopsize your time with BJM and leader Anton Newcombe for us?

Well he’s incredibly motivated and intelligent and funny and a real f#cking trip of a dude. He’s also very self-obsessed which is common in people that prolific. My Chinese Astrology animal is the Dog which makes perfect sense in that I’m fiercely loyal and so the perfect right hand man. So we went through all this crazy stuff and people came and went but I was always the constant guy hanging tough with him. When I finally did have just too much of what had become total heroin negativity and left, I came back a couple of years later to a different situation. The “band” mentality was gone (if it was ever truly there) and the idea is it’s just him and whomever. Which is fine, I absolutely accept his vision. But for me, what makes it better than before is the line up that has been the constant since my return has turned into the best bunch of friends I’ve ever had (except for one guy but that’s still pretty good for an 8-piece).

So now we’re in this current year of the Horse, and dogs run as fast as the horses, you see, so I’ve stepped out on my own as my own leader. This year I put out a new single, an album and now have 4 songs recorded for the next one plus I’ve got 2 different live bands. I also toured Europe for a month and an additional 3 months with BJM. I’ll always play with Anton as long as it makes sense for both of us, but now things are different for me too. It’s a lot funner to write and record your songs than it is just to play tambourine. There, I said it and it freaks me out!

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