Inlets

"The sheer size of NYC means you’ve got loads of talent concentrated around you and that is grounds for inspiration and competition, but also for questioning the value of your contributions."

These days you can’t go anywhere without hearing music. Whether it’s the birds singing in the trees, the coffee shop speakers humming out relaxing sounds, or your radio playing the latest hits, music is everywhere. The challenge these days is creating music that can be heard by many. Like Inlets, there are an immense amount of artists that have endless talents, but may not be noticed by the majority of people. For example, Sebastian Krueger, who plays under the name Inlets, is an artist out of Brooklyn. He creates a unique type of music, making you feel alive. A beautiful, melodic song that can hold your attention until the very end. Artists like Bon Iver and Beirut are a few of the names that come to mind when I think about the feeling you get after listening to one of their songs. It’s indescribable, much like the music that Sebastian creates. I’m thrilled I had an opportunity to get to know him a bit more and learn about the man behind all of the talent.

Q. How did you and the rest of the members meet to form Inlets?

A. Inlets evolved out of muckings-around I was doing alone in my bedroom and putting to tape. Small personal songs. So, initially the point was for it to be a solo project. It still is very much that, but my core bandmates consist of Nathan Lithgow on bass and background vocals, and Michael Resnick on drums who contribute substantially. I met Nathan in college in a pretty sleepy music course and we both connected around alt-jazz which is an interest that has largely died for me. Michael was his roommate at the time and friend from high school, a good drummer and fellow headcase, who was interested in trying new things. Other talented friends help us as they can.

Q. What things inspired you to get into music? Were you raised in a musical family or was it just something that you knew you were meant to be doing since day one?

A. Initially my folks enrolled me in piano lessons. I think I had expressed interest in doing that, and that led outward to things like choir, clarinet in concert band, picking up the guitar and so forth. I was for many of my early years very undisciplined in my studies and pretty non-technical. But then I started the guitar and spent some years trying to be capable. Once you get a sense of “musicness” generally, you can futz around on other instruments enough to capture your songs, I find. So the interest was certainly intuitive, the studiousness, a lot less so.

Q. What has been some of your goals that you’ve achieved so far in the music world?

A. I’ve been fortunate to know truly talented artists in New York City who’ve both inspired and encouraged me. That’s the most meaningful achievement. I mean, your validation should primarily come from within, I know. And lordy, that’s a struggle. But it always means something when you can feel that push from people who mean something to you.

Apart from that, I’m proud I was able to quit butting my head up against my album and finish it. Put it out last year. And stand behind it. That’s not an easy thing for me. I think a lot of artists are born with, or at least evolve, this sort of “the world needs to hear this” kind of internal propulsion. That’s not exactly my DNA. I have more of a compulsion to songwrite, and everything else from sitting down to do the actual work, to letting a song be heard, proves much more challenging.

Q. You were featured on Daytrotter, which just so happens to be one of my favorites sites to find emerging artists. What was it like being a part of a website known for giving fans an opportunity to hear something new?

A. I can’t say enough good things about Daytrotter. It was definitely a notch in the belt for us, because a lot wonderful artists have been featured and we were happy to contribute. The guys there are friendly and doing if for the right reasons, and just as interested in showcasing new talent as they are celebrating established artists. And they use watercolors. That’s bold.

Q. You released your album, Inter Arbiter, last April. Have you been writing new material for the next album? What can the fans expect to hear?

A. I’m only now starting to write again. So much of last year was figuring out how to get out that record and tour. I’m a slow worker, but I’m inspired now and looking to shape a multimedia project of EP length, something a bit more narrative. But I’m really interested in doing something that integrates with visuals, especially as the internet tethers us less and less to notions of “albums” or even just stand-alone audio files.

Q. If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?

A. I think we should return to the days of benefactors. I would personally love to have a few rich folks funding individual artists benevolently, for the public good and maybe for the bragging rights. Perhaps there’s a tire baron out there who connects with my lyrics, a CEO in Silicon Valley who respects my guitar tone, or a vending machine magnate with whom my harmonies resonate. But more likely, they have board meetings to attend.

Q. What has been the best piece of advice that sticks with you through the years of being a musician?

A. Stop apologizing. I do it too much.

Q. You’re originally from Wisconsin, but you’re now living in Brooklyn. What is one of the biggest differences, music wise, between the two places?

A. I’d love to give a detailed answer, but since I moved away from Wisco at 18, I wasn’t musically in the same place I am now. The sheer size of NYC means you’ve got loads of talent concentrated around you and that is grounds for inspiration and competition, but also for questioning the value of your contributions. I think that kind of over-saturation isn’t possible in Wisco, but inspiration and even detterance come from many sources and not just from immersion.

Q. If you could meet one goal for your band, what would it be and why?

A. I’d like a little drawing of me/us in the New Yorker. Because I read it every week, and what a trip that would be. I saw one for Sharon Van Etten recently and thought, damn that must feel fun.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. How very Sophie’s Choice. I suppose I would say that given the direction of the material I am writing, I am most closely using the song “Bright Orange Air” as a stylistic launching pad. So if I were to bring that one, I’d at least have a starting point for working on the next thing. I wonder if I’d have my guitar on this island… or enough palatable water…

Here is the talent I was speaking of earlier. Here he is singing his song, Bright Orange Air. Enjoy.

Feel free to download this song, plus a few others, here.

The End.

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Justin Soileau

Justin Soileau is a talented artist currently living in Orange County, CA. His music reminds me of a mix between Josh Ritter and M. Ward, which is a pretty great blend of simplicity. His current EP, The Heat, is available via iTunes and although there are only six songs, each one has a great mix of pop and indie. Here is Justin’s performance of Oak Tree.

For more information on Justin Soileau, visit his website here.

Shows That Matter Featuring Robert Kelly

I opened up my living room on May 26 to artists Ryan Brewer of The Fallow and Robert Kelly. I was so nervous, being that it was my first living room show that I was hosting. To my surprise, the night went by perfectly. Ryan started off the show, with Robert ending it. I wanted to make sure the show was documented for you all to be able to watch. Seahorse Studios out of Muncie, Indiana came and recorded the entire thing and have done such an amazing job.

Here is Robert Kelly’s performance. Please be sure to check out his brand new CD, We Are Poetry.

Part 1:

Part 2:

A huge thank you goes out to all that were involved in making the night so special. Robert Kelly and Ryan Brewer, you are two of the most talented artists I’ve come across in a long time. I’m so happy to call you a friend. Thank you to Seahorse Studios for working so hard and making sure this night was documented.

No fear, Ryan Brewer’s performance will be posted soon. I have to keep you in suspense somehow.

Camera Operators: Chelsea Graham & Ethan Palm
Photographer: Jason Garriott
Editor: Ethan Palm
Sound Engineering: Peyton Rodeffer

xo.

Dog & Panther

"We're just trying to do our own thing. Make music we like."

How can you not be attracted to a band that calls themselves Dog & Panther? I saw their album while looking through Bandcamp and their band name made me curious to know what their sound was like. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out their music. Although, they have only released one full-length album so far, lately they have been gaining a lot of popularity with their newest single, Giant Hands, which they also created a fantastically creative video for. I interviewed John and instead of doing the typical interview you’re all used to by now, John recorded his answers to my questions. I hope you enjoy the audio interview as much as I did and I would like to thank John for being so appreciative. It’s artists like him that make me continue working so hard for great music to be heard.

Here is their song, Giant Hands. You can download the song for free here.

Eight

Five more videos that I’ve  been playing on rotation for the last week. Check out each of the artists, not only to support their music, but to expand your horizons a bit. Enjoy!

Boy & Bear – Rabbit Song

Jonsi – Animal Arithmetic

Milo Greene – 1957

Typhoon – Starting Over (bad habits)

First Aid Kit – Ghost Town

Paul Rosevear

"When you try to write something, those turn out horrible. You just gotta wait until they sneak up on you."

Everyday I become more and more surprised at how much talent there is all over the world, yet a lot of these artist you can’t find on TV or hear on the radio. Paul Rosevear isn’t just a talented individual, but he also has a uniqueness about him that most artists crave. His music has grabbed the attention of many and it’s only just the beginning of his career. Growing up, Paul was surrounded by music, which in turn influenced the rest of his life. Striving to make it in the music business, Paul Rosevear is currently working hard to prove that he has what it takes to make it. Recently, I interviewed Paul and had the privilege of getting to know him a little better.

Q. How did you get your start in music and what really inspired you to make this your path?

A. I was very influenced by the pastor at my family’s church growing up. He was young, tall, kind of had a cowboy thing to him. He told funny stories and he would play guitar and sing in front of the congregation.  I didn’t really like the act of going to church but I was rather captivated by him.

Q. From what I have gathered about you, you were surrounded by music from a young age. Who are a few of the artists who stick out in your mind that made you want to follow in their footsteps?

A. Some of my earliest memories of songs I loved are “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes, “Runaway” by Del Shannon and “Any Time At All” by The Beatles.

Q. You have played in a few bands based out of New Jersey and you’re now working on your solo career. What are some of the things that differ from being a solo artist as to being a band mate?

A. Less smelly.

Q. Who are some of the artists you’re currently listening to?

A. The Stones, Nina Simone, Ramones, Robert Johnson. There is so much to learn from them. Newer artists I like are Nicole Atkins, AA Bondy, Black Lips, and Justin Townes Earle.

Q. When you sit down and write a song, are there ever moments where you find it hard to convey your feelings on paper?

A. Yeah, when you try to write something, those turn out horrible. You just gotta wait until they sneak up on you.

Q. What is one song you feel has been your best?

A. I recently wrote a song called “Josephine” which I really like.

Q. If you could give advice to someone who is on the fence about starting up a career in music, what would that piece of advice be?

A. Get off the fence.

Q. If you had to play a show, but your set list could only be cover songs, which songs would be on that list?

A. “Marie” by Randy Newman, “Lucille” by Little Richard, “Only Lie Worth Telling” by Paul Westerberg, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

Q. What is one goal you hope to accomplish within the next year?

A. To get off the fence.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Well I must confess, that sounds like sheer torture. But if I had to pick one it might be “Portland.” I don’t get sick of playing it, I think because it is so simple. It is the All-American love story.

Here is, Portland, the all-American love story.

The End.

Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer

I often talk about artists that inspire me and many others around the world. Artists who can change your life with their music and get you through the darkest days. For many years now, that one artist for me has been Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer. Bryce Avary has an incredible talent that touches so many peoples lives. When I think about the dark days in my life and how I got through them, his music comes to mind.

Last year, I went to his show in Chicago and had one of the best nights of my life. While I was standing in the venue listening to him sing his heart out, moments of my life flashed through my mind; breakups that I’ve been through, people that have passed away, times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to face the next day. It was his music that made me want to continue hanging on.

Sometimes you wish you could switch places with someone else or go back in time and re-do the past, however it’s not a possibility. We are all on this earth to live out the lives that were given to us one day at a time. Most days we all need a little help in reminding us just how precious life is and for me, that help comes from music. Not just any music, but the kind that makes us believe that anything is possible. Bryce Avary creates the music that keeps me going forward and will always be one of the most inspirational artists I will have the privilege of listening to.

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