music note 4.17.11 

bird in the hand
























bird in the hand

                                                                                   













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Dear Artist, Surprise Me.  

    

This is what we're thinking when we click on a new song and press play...

 

We zero in and listen.  And wait for that feeling. We're hoping for a thrill. We're looking for a keeper. We don't have a lot of time on our hands, we just want great music in our ears. And oh yea, our attention span is about 5 seconds long. Can you sell us in that amount of time?

 

When you write a song, you're inviting us into a relationship with you.  You provide the

entertainment, we lend an ear.  Believe me, we want to love you.  We want you to show us your best.  We want you in our head.  But there's so much music out there - too much music - so we will be discriminating ...    

 

When we hear it we'll know. That song that grabs us with a hook, a harmony, a riff, a surprise we didn't expect. It's your gift to us. It separates you from the others. We'll download your song. We'll play the track over and over. And we'll tell our friends.

 

The same goes for the live performance. If we come to your show, we are already invested in you. That's when we look for a little more 'interest' on our investment. That's when you can really deliver. An impromptu jam session, drum solo, guest appearance, or cover song we never knew you played - you'll have us around your little finger... And we'll tell our friends.

 

And thankfully it happens a lot. Like last Friday night. We went to see The Damnwells and the opener, NY band Harper Blynn  literally brought down the house.  Their sound was brilliant and fresh, yet grounded in the familiar, a la Coldplay or CSNY. They had a surprise around every corner. And when I thought it couldn't get any better, they returned to the stage as the backup to Alex Dezen of The Damnwells and took it to a new level, a completely different sound. They surprised again. I want Harper Blynn at Lollapalooza this year - they'd be a favorite for certain. Watch their video below (cover of Beyonce's Halo) and check out their syncopated harmonies.

 

I spend ten hours a day working with music.  When you listen to that much it all starts sounding the same.  Not bad music, just predictable, ya know?   Then it happens;  in the sea of monochromatic a surprise jumps out. My ears perk up. I close my eyes to take it all in. You changed the beat, took an exciting turn, added a mandolin, spoke to my heart with lyrics. You surprised me, and I knew you were a keeper.

 

Have you read the book The Purple Cow?   Marketing visionary Seth Godin believes the more you're "the same" the more invisible you become.  He says,  "the key to success is to find a way to stand out - be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins ...   Cows, after you've seen one or two or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though... now that would be something."  Godin defines a purple cow as anything phenominal, counterintuitive, exciting, remarkable."  

 

You are a remarkable artist.  Surprise us.  

 

 

PS:  

We love EP's.  Five tiny gems instead of 11 tracks that start sounding the same.  Just a thought.  

 

 

 
Val Haller
 
Founder, Valslist.com
                                  

 

 

 

MY  MUSIC  PLAYGROUND  

  ~ surprises abound ~

 

 

 

Paul Simon describes the surprises he put into new album   So Beautiful or So What

The Making of So Beautiful or So What | Paul Simon
The Making of So Beautiful or So What | Paul Simon

 

 

 

THIS  WEEK'S  PLAYLISTS

~ listen in iTunes ~     

     

 

Surprise Me - A go anywhere mix that will impress your friends.  LISTEN

 

Three Oldest - A go anywhere mix, great for your party.  LISTEN

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO PAIRS

~ compare the original with a cover ~

 

 

 

Old Man by Neil Young and Redlight King      ORIGINAL & COVER   (below)

Neil Young - Old Man - Live at Massey Hall
Neil Young - Old Man - Live at Massey Hall
Redlight King - Old Man
Redlight King - Old Man

 

 

HALO by Beyonce and Harper Blynn     ORIGINAL & COVER   (below)

Beyoncé - Halo
Beyoncé - Hall
Harper Blynn - Halo [Beyonce & Dirty Projectors cover]
Harper Blynn - Halo [Beyonce & Dirty Projectors cover]

 

 

 

ARTISTS TO KNOW

 ~ who I'm listening to this week ~

      

 

THE SMITHEREENS (rock)      New Album: 2011      

The Smithereens - A Girl Like You
The Smithereens - A Girl Like You

 

BROOKLYN RUNDFUNK ORKESTRATA (pop)    New Album: The Hills Are Alive    

Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata ft. TK Wonder
Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata ft. TK Wonder

 

TV ON THE RADIO   (alternative)    New Album:  Nine Types of Light

 

TV On The Radio - You
TV On The Radio - You

 

JUNIP  (alternative)   New Album:  In Every Direction EP

Junip - Without You
Junip - Without You

 

BELL X1  (hush rock)    New Album:  Bloodless Coup

Bell X1 - Velcro
Bell X1 - Velcro

BRENDAN JAMES  (singer-songwriter)    Current Album: Brendan James

Brendan James - All I Can See
Brendan James - All I Can See

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT  THESE  ARTISTS

~ two of my favorite voices ~

 

 

Micaela and Haley are doing a new thing - soliciting the fans' help to fund their new records 

 

 

MICAELAMicaela Kingslight:    WATCH VIDEO

 

 

 

HALEY BONARHaley Bonar:    WATCH VIDEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        Visit Valslist.com for much more music:  Playlists ::  New Album Releases ::  Videos                                        

          

                            

 

                                                       JUST LISTEN

 

 

 

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