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Striking Matches Talk Duo Power, ‘Nashville’ Connection

Striking Matches have a knack for constructing lovely songs. Just as importantly, they excel at building and maintaining close relationships. Talking before an acoustic but raucous performance at New York City’s FarmBorough Festival last weekend, the duo of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis returned again and again to their key connections: with each other — the two met in college — with the show Nashville, and with producer T Bone Burnett.

In many ways, Striking Matches seem like an outlier. They’re a duo in an era dominated by solo stars, with a sound that’s a long way from the music that dominates the radio and a commitment to analog recording values in a digital age. Their position in the landscape makes more sense when you consider their trajectory. “We both moved to Nashville to be guitar players,” Zimmermann tells Rolling Stone Country. “We never set out to be artists.” This freed them to follow their own path, without many of the preconceptions that can hamstring aspiring stars. Now, the two singer-guitarists are determined to stick to their guns. “[I]f you removed the duo element from what we do,” Davis declares, “I don’t think that either of us would want to be artists anymore.”

Zimmermann and Davis’s career has been boosted by their music’s regular presence on the ABC series Nashville. But their connection with the show is more than just an exchange of tracks. “At first there was very little interaction [with the show] aside from writing the songs,” Davis remembers. “But as it happens, we’ve developed friendships with the music supervisors and a lot of the cast. Sam Palladio has become one of our best friends. . . And Buddy Miller, who’s producing a lot of the songs on there, he’s become a friend and sort of a mentor. He’s had us come in and actually play guitar and things on some of the tracks that they used. We really did have some creative input on how things were recorded and how they came out.”

In the same way Striking Matches found creative partnerships with each other and with the cast of Nashville, they found an easy camaraderie with producer T Bone Burnett, who produced their debut album Nothing But the Silence. “I’ve never met someone more nurturing, kind and supportive,” Zimmerman notes. “The mark of a great producer is making your forget everything except just go sing, go play,” Davis adds. “Sort of making you feel like you can do anything in the world when you’re in the studio. That’s a very difficult thing to do that he makes look very easy.”

The duo studied Burnett’s approach closely. “His method was a big thing we walked away with,” Davis says. “He really is about capturing a moment in time. He’s really incredible at just not perfecting — he’s good at having a perspective outside of yourself where you would have everything perfect, but that’s not the way he works.” This translated to Striking Matches live set at FarmBorough, which was aggressive and unfettered. It’s fitting that one of the duo’s most famous songs includes the line, “you’ll know it, I can guarantee/when the right one comes along.” They proved that onstage, again and again.

Rare Test Pressing of Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’ Found

A test pressing of Bob Dylan‘s Blood on the Tracks – one of rock’s rarest records with only five known existing copies – is now available thanks to Amoeba Music. The West Coast record chain recently acquired the test pressing of the classic LP, dubbed the “New York” version, as part of a lot of 4,000 vinyls that Amoeba acquired from the personal collection of “an iconic industry family.” The asking price on one of the most in-demand vinyls among Dylanphiles: $12,000.

The “New York” version of Blood on the Tracks is unique in that it features alternate versions of five tracks: “Tangled Up in Blue,” “You’re a Big Girl,” “Idiot Wind,” “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” and “If You See Her, Say Hello.” All of those Blood songs were originally recorded in New York, but as legend has it, after Dylan played one of the test pressings for his brother David Zimmerman, he was encouraged to re-record those five songs in Minnesota with local musicians in order to brighten up the stark album.

The released copy of the landmark album features 10 songs split evenly between the New York and Minnesota sessions, but that rare test pressing features all 10 original recordings from New York’s A&R Recording. While the “New York” versions of most of those Minnesota-recorded tracks were eventually bootlegged or distributed via Dylan’s archival releases (albeit as alternate takes and not the originally planned Blood on the Tracks versions), the mere scarcity of the test pressing makes it a vaunted item. The test pressing was made at a Columbia Records plant in Santa Maria, California and is one of only reportedly five copies.

Check out a more somber “New York” take on the opening “Tangled Up in Blue”:

Prince Pulls Music Off All Streaming Services Except TIDAL, Soundcloud

princePrince does things at his own pace and for his own reasons.

He’s always has a love/hate relationship with streaming music, but his timing leaves more questions than answers…

Without issuing an official statement, Prince ordered that his music be pulled of Spotify and other streaming music services yesterday. 

image from d236bkdxj385sg.cloudfront.net“Prince’s publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog,” Spotify posted on the service’s Prince page. “We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.”

The takedown extended to other services, though as of this morning, TIDAL still streamed the full Prince catalog. 

Whether Prince just likes Jay-Z’s pitch of a more artist friendly service or is becoming TIDAL’s latest superstar owner/partner is unclear.  But choosing to make the move a day after launched its streaming music service without a free tier is an interesting move.  

His Next Move?

Beyond the reasoning behind granting TIDAL access, does Prince think that Apple Music is streaming’s tipping point that will devastate download sales? Or will he be back up on Apple Music after the initial 90 day free period.

One other place online that you can find Prince is Soundcloud. In fact, just yesterday he posted a new track there.

Sprint’s CEO is tired of T-Mobile’s ‘Uncarrier bullshit’ – Engadget

Sprint's CEO is tired of T-Mobile's 'Uncarrier bullshit'
John Legere is famous for being the sweariest man in the mobile industry, but it looks as if Sprint's Marcelo Claure now wants a run at that title. In response to a snarky tweet by the T-Mobile CEO, Claure responded by saying that he was tired of
Cell phone chiefs call "bulls**t" on each other. Literally.CNNMoney

Claure Cries 'Bullsh*t' on Legere's Un-Carrier SpinWireless Week
Sprint CEO Lashes Out at T-Mobile's John Legere, Says He's Tired of Uncarrier BGR
Tech News Today –Hot Hardware
all 16 news articles »

Google Play Versus Apple Music: Who Will Win?

Apple-vs-googleEager to beat Apple Music’s June 30th launch to the punch, Google recently announced its newly-launched free music streaming service. Beginning this Tuesday, the search engine giant is introducing a free version of Google Play Music that allows users to listen to custom-made radio stations based on time of day, mood, artist or other factors. 


Guest Post by Michelle Lou and Katarina Underwood on Sonicbids.com

For the last two years, Google Play cost $9.99/month and this is the first time that Google is offering a free streaming service.

By creating free online radio stations, the tech giant is hoping to better compete against Spotify and Pandora, which have gained huge followings with their free music streaming services, and convert some free Google listeners into paying customers. Google Play will be using Songza’s services (a company Google acquired last year) to create curated playlists designed to accompany every moment of your day. Instead of creating playlists through algorithms, they will be assembled by the staff at Songza. For Google, playlists is an easier approach to free music than the ad-sponsored music streaming that Spotify offers. By going the “music radio” route, Google hopes to avoid the harsh criticism that Spotify received for underpaying artists.

Apple-music-versusBut how does this compare against Apple? Apple Music is also offering a $10-a-month streaming subscription plan that includes a free Internet radio station. It has a media platform that will let artists upload songs, videos, and other content, and it has a song catalog of more than 30 million tracks. So in this regard, Apple Music has the upper hand. However, Google Play trumps Apple Music in another area: Apple Music won’t have an ad-supported free tier. Instead, it will have its own radio components that will also be available to users that aren’t inclined to pay. While Apple Music is providing a free three-month trial period so you can access its massive song library (during which artists will still be paid – thanks, Taylor!), when that ends, you’ll have to pay up.

So what does this mean for independent artists? Well, Google Play’s introduction of this free streaming service makes it a huge player in the music streaming world. Google Play Music has already more than doubled its user base in the past year, and if its users continue growing like this, perhaps it’s time to consider putting your music on Google Play too. Keep in mind, however, that while free ad-based services are popular among music listeners, subscription-based services may be better for labels and musicians, as subscription-based revenue tends to be higher than ad-based, so don’t write off Apple’s lack of free options too quickly.

Apple has also revealed that in the United States, 71.5 percent of its streaming revenue will go to music publishers and labels, beating Spotify’s 70 percent and making it the most generous percentage in the streaming industry. Google, in comparison, has been quiet about its revenue-sharing plans. But it’s still too soon to tell who will come out triumphant in the streaming wars –Google Play, Apple Music, or Spotify – so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Michelle Lou and Katarina Underwood are editorial interns for Sonicbids.

10 Great Reasons To Play the Piano

UnknownAs children, some of us were forced to take piano lessons. Was there any point to it all? Check out today’s article to find out 10 great reasons why that may be the case. 


The piano is an amazing instruments. It is often the springboard of learning other instruments and really taking your music to the next level. But what are the benefits? Are there any benefits if you learn after a certain age? According to David Milsont there are 10 great reasons why playing the piano maybe great for you. 

The greatest benefit to playing the piano is the versatility that it brings. You can play a variety of music styles. You can blend well with a number of other instruments. There are also some health benefits, such as improved memory and function, that can be very helpful. Check out David Milsont’s article on MusicThinkTank.com and tell us if you agree. 

“The piano is one of the most popular instruments in the world and is played by people of all ages. If you’ve thought about taking up the piano but aren’t quite convinced it’s the right instrument for you then below are 5 of the best reasons to play the piano.”

[Continue Reading] 

Yahoo begins testing search partnership with Google – Engadget

Yahoo begins testing search partnership with Google
Now that Yahoo and Microsoft are not exclusive anymore — when it comes to search, that is — they can both work with other companies. In fact, according to The New York Times, Mayer and her team have already started testing Google search ads in a
Yahoo! Inc (YHOO) Testing Google Inc (GOOG) Search May Drop Microsoft LearnBonds

Yahoo Search Testing Google Results Over BingSearch Engine Roundtable
Yahoo confirms it is testing using Google's search resultsUncover California
New York Times (blog) –The SEM Post –Computer Business Review
all 22 news articles »

‘Jesus lizard’ walked on water 48 million years ago – Business Standard

Discovery News
'Jesus lizard' walked on water 48 million years ago
Business Standard
Scientists have discovered a 48-million-year-old fossil of a 'Jesus lizard', known for its ability to walk on water, in the US State of Wyoming. Modern relatives of the Jesus lizard live in an area stretching from central Mexico to northern Colombia
'Jesus Lizard' First Walked on Water in WyomingDiscovery News

'Jesus Lizard' Discovered: 48 Million Year Old Fossil Reveals Evolution of Science World Report
'Jesus lizard' walked on water 48 mn years agoZee News
Washington Post –International Business Times UK
all 18 news articles »

Anki Overdrive’s customizable robot battle-car racing game debuts Sept. 20 – VentureBeat

Anki Overdrive's customizable robot battle-car racing game debuts Sept. 20
Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we'll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.
Anki Overdrive set to ship Sept. 20San Jose Mercury News (blog)

Anki Will Ship The Second Generation Of Its Robotic Slot Cars On September 20TechCrunch
Anki Overdrive robot car racing game is Scalextric for the digital generationMirror.co.uk
Pocket-lint.com –Game Informer –Toy News
all 9 news articles »

Ceytra Releases The Statement

Chicago’s own Ceytra is back at it again with her latest  visual, titled, The Statement.

Although the Nigerian goddess generated a buzz since being featured in The Source last year while continuing to stay consistent with her buzz. Her consistency bore fruits as she recently appeared on red carpets at the 2015 BET Awards Weekend out in Los Angeles. Ceytra schooled media figureheads with her insights on being a woman in the hip hop industry and what it takes to compete in the male dominated business while balancing her work in the studio. “Lyrically, I am here to empower women who have no voice,” she said.

“I want to be the voice for the girl that feels she is defeated. I’ve been overweight, I’ve been broke, I’ve been hungry and called ugly. Now it’s my time to eat and I’m not wasting any left overs. I had to learn to love myself regardless of how others viewed me, my black is beautiful.”

According to Ceytra, The Statement is a call to arms to wake people up about making a major impact with their voices and being heard. She believes that people tend to dim the light on women, but in fact it’s their time to exert true power. “The Statement I was making is that we are the opposite of what the statistic say about us in our society,” she said. “Society doesn’t want to see black people rise. They want us to become and act like the stereotype they label us to be.”

Make sure to visit www.ThisisCeytra.com for all things Ceytra and also make sure to check her out at @thisisceytra on twitter.

Also check out the audio via Soundcloud below.


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