Go there. Hit play on the music player. Enjoy.
That is the wonderful music of Heather Christian and the Arbornauts. You should listen to it. And buy it. And support their Kickstarter to get a new piano, so they can play more shows and record more music (see here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2096981175/7-toy-pianos-hc-and-the-as-need-1-a-piano-and-2-yo ). They’re over halfway there, but still have $3210 to go, as of this writing.
I have pretty much fallen in love with this album. I don’t even know what it is that caught me, but it definitely did so. Especially the ninth track, Jet Thrust & Blushes.
With that song, at least, I think I know why it has caught my attention. It reminds me of home - especially the closing lines. Maybe if I weren’t working halfway across the country this album would never have caught my attention. Maybe I wouldn’t have connected with that song. Maybe I wouldn’t have even found it. I don’t know. But hey, that’s all stuff that’s not the case anyway, so why worry about it?
Fact is, Heather Christian’s music is amazing and you should listen to it. And, if you are so inclined, support her music and her band.
Before I get to the other music I was going to ramble about, I feel like this is a good point for me to say something I don’t think enough people think about. Heather Christian’s music - and, really, the vast majority of the music that I listen to - would never have come into my life if we lived in any other era than the internet age that we live in today. She is a woman, running an entirely independent band with very little but word of mouth to spread word of her music, who lives and works and plays on the other side of the continent from my home. Even now, New York City is nearly 3000 kilometers away from me - and I’m nearly 2000 kilometers from home!
Think about the scale of that. When I was born (1991), if a band couldn’t get label support and get on the radio or college radio or get its music videos played on tv somewhere, they couldn’t get much (or anything) in the way of support to tour and spread their music. The internet has allowed music that would never have reached the ears of people who would fall in love with it to spread over the world in the most bizarre and happenstance of ways. And it does so consistently.
The fact that I can find and listen to independent, self-financed musicians from the other side of the continent (or even planet), and send them my money as support, and order their albums or merchandise or whatever, is a fact that is entirely unique to our modern age. It is unique to our times, and it is far more significant than I think people realise.
As another (larger scale) example: Amanda Palmer raised over one million dollars via her Kickstarter campaign this year. Think about that. An artist who is somewhat well known, but not really a household name (as far as I know? Not that that’s a bad thing), was able to raise one million dollars to fund her new album, the tour, special shows and packages for fans, the merchandise, and pay her band, agents, and everyone else involved in the massive production that is a world tour. One million dollars. With all the travel, bookings, incidental expenses, etc., she’s posted on her website that she expects 90% of that money will be used up making good on the promised reward packages from the Kickstarter pledges, paying her band, and everything else involved.
That still means that we now live in an era where it is viable for an artist who connects with their fans regularly, and cultivates a loyal fanbase, to earn around $100 000 as “net” personal income. In exchange for direct contact with their fans; giving thank you cards, personal concerts, or whatever else they can dream up. There has never before been an era where an artist maintaining a close, personal connection with fans could actually turn into something so directly beneficial (in a monetary sense) to the artist’s livelihood, or (in an emotional or sentimental sense) to the fans, as they’re able to get private concerts, or handwritten thank yous, or exclusive songs, or whatever else an artist dreams up to offer up to their fans in these sorts of campaigns.
That is an incredible fact of our times. It amazes me, every time I think about it. We have reached a point as a society where artists are able to directly connect with their fans, to interact with them, and for them to show their appreciation to their fans - and for their fans to show their appreciation and love back. That is what social media and platforms like Kickstarter and whatever else have brought to the world.
Anyway. Pretentious ramblings about the nature of modern art and consumerism aside, I also wanted to provide a few other music links I’ve either been listening to lately. The first two are artists I discovered a week or so back:
Kaela Bratcher: An independent singer-songwriter from Texas. http://kaelabratcher.bandcamp.com/
Zoe Keating: A self-described “avant-cellist.” Amazing stuff. http://music.zoekeating.com/
(Both discovered via Twitter, because apparently the internet does that to me now. Coincidentally, Twitter was also how I found Heather Christian.)
And then two artists I’ve been listening to for a long time, but have been particularly listening to the past few days:
Melissa Auf der Maur: The Canadian bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, now solo. In this case, I’m just going to link my favourite song on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVkQdCO1E-U
Porcupine Tree: The best modern progressive rock band. No arguments. (Well, fine, argue, but I’ll be stubborn and obstinate about it. :P) Another youtube link, though not my favourite, as I could never pick just one favourite from these guys. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIqCPQZIC5Y
And the funny thing? Due to total lack of radio and video play, both of those bands? Bands I’d never have found without the internet. So there you go. Without living in the era we live in, most of my favourite music would have been music I’d never have heard. Were that the case, I would be an incredibly different person.