Friday, May 6, 2011
Not only does this two-man band have the last good remaining band name in the U.S., they create some really interesting fusion/jazz/somewhat experimental music. The songs, which are a mixture of keyboard and percussion, can be found on their album (Also called "The Odd Get Even") at http://www.theoddgeteven.com/
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This is a refreshingly unique sounding hip-hop band from the great hip-hop state of ... Iowa. Their songs are a nice break from the cookie cutter music found in more traditional hip-hop areas, and with song titles like "Spongebob Ready," how can you not check them out? bigbangxl.webs.com
Donna Loren is a singer, songwriter, and recording artist who was popularly known in the 1960s as the “Dr. Pepper Girl,” and was prominent as a singer and actress in several popular television and radio shows of the time. Throughout her early years, starting at the age of six, she performed in a variety of venues, ranging from radio commercials to television shows such as The Mickey Mouse Club. Her family was very involved in her career and brought her to auditions and radio shows around the country. In 1963, her “big break” finally came, and she was offered a position as a singing spokesperson for Dr. Pepper. Her position with the company gave her national exposure and soon led to even greater opportunities. She performed in ABC-TV’s Shindig, was prolific in the famed Beach Party movies, and made regular appearances on TV shows such as Batman, Dr. Kildare, and The Monkees. She also released her own album, which was named for one of Beach Party movies, “Beach Blanket Bingo.” Donna Loren retired from the music industry in 1968 to raise a family. She came back for a short time in the 1980s, then again left show business, this time to run a fashion business called ADASA Hawaii. She once again began writing music again in 2009, and has since recorded a new album, "Love It Away" and is writing her autobiography.
The Indie Music Review recently interviewed Donna Loren, who is now preparing a series of live performances.
The Indie Music Review recently interviewed Donna Loren, who is now preparing a series of live performances.
IMR: You began your music career at a very early age, performing regularly and singing in radio commercials as a child. What was this experience like for someone so young?
Loren: First of all, thank you for the questions; it’s really good to talk with you and your viewers. I was a really tiny little girl, and it was a unique situation. I loved to sing when I was really tiny, and it was sort of like my comfort, and it became a family business. My father was a GI and an artist, but he didn’t make a lot of money, so my parents decided at a very early age that I could sing maybe well enough to earn money for the family. So when I began singing for a living, it was based on a family decision. So there was a lot of pressure on me, to be totally honest. I could do something I loved to do, but with the weight of responsibility on me.
IMR: Do you think that pressure was helpful in the long run?
Loren: Well, that’s an excellent question. I’m in my 60s now, and it’s been a long, long time. I was married, had three children, divorced, and on to a second marriage. I am writing a book (about it) now. There were many, many years of chaotic feelings about taking on responsibility. And I totally realize it’s not just children in show business, it spans the whole realm of any child raised in a situation where too much is flung on their shoulders. It can take its toll, and it’s very, very rare that you can find a well adjusted adult in a person that started out really young and had to basically go in to survival mode.
IMR: Throughout your career, you ventured far outside the box, and performed in a wide variety of venues, including acting in movies, recording commercials, and acting as a spokesperson for different brands. How did you become involved in such a wide variety of media?
Loren: To tell you the truth, I had no idea that everything I was doing then would have the lasting effect it has had. I loved to sing, and I went on constant auditions. I did have an agent, and because it was a family business, my father became my manager, even though he had a full time job. It was a family effort and I was constantly going to auditions and picking up work along the way, until I was 16. I was also recording and doing like, the whole California scene. I was doing all the radio hotspots, like KFWB in Los Angeles and KYA in San Francisco, and everything in between. I would get in the station wagon with the family and drive to Bakersfield and Fresno and Modesto and, you know, Sacramento and participate with DJs and do what they used to call “Record hops,” local TV shows that promoted your music. Along the way, I would meet Sonny and Cher doing the same stuff. Then my family got this call from my agent that Dr. Pepper was looking for a spokesperson for their newest ad campaign, and before I knew it, I was flying to Chicago for a screen test, and it was just one of those fluky things that gave me a seven year contract, which is really uncommon, to be locked in and have a sense of security. It worked out really well for my family, because then my father could stop working and go with me full time. Then one thing just led to another, and this wonderful opportunity of Shindig came along, which was kind of like the highlight of my life, because I was literally a senior in high school. I had to leave high school to work for Dr. Pepper full time, and I was enrolled in a professional school, which I rarely attended. I just sort of flailed through that (laughs) so pretty much whatever I’ve learned, I’ve learned on my own. Anyway, it was just like one thing led to another, the audition for Batman, and then the audition for the Monkees, and then the Beach Party movies I had no idea would sustain for all these decades.
IMR: This Versatility seems to have worked very well for you. Do you think that is still important for musicians today?
Loren: I would say, you have to do what your heart tells you, especially now more than ever. Whatever the strength of you own convictions, that’s what you have to be all about. If someone has the good fortune of doing music and something else, hey, go for it. Whatever it is, express yourself, and make your life worthwhile every day. Even if there are so called compromises, like, why am I doing this, I want to be doing something else. Be clear about where you are putting your energy and where you’re putting your faith.
IMR: The music industry has been changing rapidly over the past few years, with the prominence of illegal downloads and the internet in general. Do you think it will still be possible for independent musicians to make a living in the future?
Loren: Absolutely, I see musicians coming out of the woodwork. If music isn’t the answer right now on this planet, I don’t know what is. It is a common language and always has been. I know it has been getting more and more difficult, but I also believe this is the time for entrepreneurship, and it’s the time for innovation, and the internet is providing something that makes that possible if you apply yourself. You really have to search down to your core to find where you can take this, and then you just work at it, every single day. If it’s your passion, you just have to do it. I’m being very idealistic, but I think of groups like Radiohead saying we’re going to be non-conformist then of course, Justin Bieber, using the internet, that’s what it’s for. It’s the common language, it’s accessible, and it’s liberating. So you just have to dig deep, and do as your heart tells you, and the rewards can come, if that’s your chosen path. I do believe it’s possible, but as always, it takes a lot of work.
IMR: After years of raising a family and running a business, you returned to the music scene. What made you decide to come back?
Loren: Well, I’ve been carrying my piano, which is an old 1877 Steinway that I’ve had for many many years, and wherever I go, I’ve managed to take it with me. In 2008, some songs started coming to me after many years of a dry spell. So I accumulated about 8 or 10 original songs, and one thing led to another. I met this guy where I was living in Hawaii, about 10 miles away from me who has his own studio and record label. He’s a classical guitarist that ended up moving to Hawaii because he loved to surf, then went to the University of Hawaii, became a classical guitar professor, met some other musicians, and now 30 years later he’s got a phenomenal roster of Hawaiian artists. He let me rent studio time and helped me get my songs in a form where I could work with them. His name is Charles Brotman and he ended up winning a Grammy, so I felt like I was in really good company. Then I was staying with my daughter Katie in Los Angeles and met a guy in Silver Lake who had a home studio, his name is Maurice Gainen. So between Charles in Hawaii and Maurice in Silver Lake, I managed to document the songs I was writing, and a few standards and rock classics to fill in the gaps, and the story I wanted to tell, and in about 3 or 4 months, I think it was, I was ready to release the second album of my career. I made one album, Beach Blanket Bingo, in 1965, and then in 2010, I released my second album (Love It Away).
IMR: What advice would you offer to aspiring musicians?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Aaron Acosta is an independent composer based in Canada with an ear for experimental music. His latest CD, "Deep Field," is an interesting blend of electronic and acoustic music with combinations of varying dynamic levels, rhythms, and some unique minimalist ideas. To find out more about Aaron Acosta, visit www.aaronacosta.com
Thursday, April 14, 2011
This Scottish alternative rock band in a good listen, although they might just lead the listener to bipolar disorder. Their soon to be released album, "Indecency of the Few" ranges from dark and even brooding to high energy, foot stomping rock. Check them out at www.dayofdays.co.uk
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Although this Wisconsin group is a 2-piece band, their recordings sound full with multiple layers of instruments and vocals. Their debut album, "Nothing Will Be The Same" is full of alt rock/pop that is sometimes ambient, sometimes moody, and sometimes quite energetic. Check them out at myspace.com/tonightthecityskyline
Monday, April 11, 2011
This guitarist is a good reminder of the power of music, even without lyrics. His two recent albums, "Serenade of Strings," (mostly originals) and "The Lost Art" (classical) project a wide variety of emotions, while accompaniment from percussion and lead guitar keep each song unique and interesting. Check out his music at http://www.randyellefson.com/
Friday, April 8, 2011
"Lyphe of Csyn" Is the latest album of Bischeop Csynnikal, a hip-hop artist baed out of Las Vegas. Despite the spelling, the songs are well produced, and showcase Bischeop Csynnikal's creativity and vocal talent. You can hear his music at http://www.myspace.com/mexichi
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Gina Hadley is a R&B soul/rock/hip-hop artist with a powerful voice and penchant for edgy lyrics. Her debut album, "Slave To Love," has a wide variety of originals that explore the limits of R&B and occasionally dip into an alt rock sound.
This Indo-Pop band combines traditional ethnic instrumentation with acoustic pop to create a refreshing break from the usual. The four talented members perform in both English and Tamil, and their tours throughout India, The UK, and America show their international appeal. To listen to Emergence, visit
Friday, April 1, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This is a refreshing and unique blending of rock and classical, proving once and for all that any genre can be mixed. The 8 member band pulls it off with a wide range of instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, violin, viola and cello.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Here is a great example of an indie musician working his way up. Not only has he built a solid fan base with his driving rock with great guitar and vocals, he has sung in several major television commercials that showcase his musical abilities.
This New York singer/songwriter sings her great original songs with a crystal clear voice that grabs your attention immediately and keeps you listening. She classifies her songs as pop, but some of them have a somewhat folksy sound.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
David Edwards proves that you can go back. After a ten year hiatus, the classically trained artist has returned to produce an eclectic CD of new compositions entitled "Elusive Dreams," with a wonderful blend of classical, jazz, and new age instrumental music.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Tony Brown is part of a growing movement of independent artists who are challenging the idea of separate genres. This shows in his new release, "The Black Art," a collection of songs that not only intermingle different genres, but different emotions as well.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
This Southern rock band is based out of Canada, but don't let the location fool you. The bluesy/rock songs of their new CD, "Missed A Page," are done with great harmonies in the vocals, coupled with a definite Southern style that has gained them dedicated fands throughout Canada and the US.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
This New York recording group is a collaboration of some of New Yorks finest recording artists. The music is well produced, and the songs, which are reminicent of the 70s/80s have gained the group international airplay.
Here at the Indie Music Review, we've heard some cool musical hybrids before, but this one might have topped them all. 13B crafts a unique blend of traditional Irish music and electronica for acutting edge sound that they refer to as "Celtronica."
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Listening to The Last Internationale is like taking a journey through the genres. Their music slides from a smooth blues into an electric guitar and percussion heavy rock without losing the listener in the transition.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
If Mozart ever wrote psychedelic music, this is how it would sound. Far from sticking to the tried and true guitars and drums, the songs of Beaulieu Porch use an array of instruments ranging from kettle drums to french horns to create an almost otherworldly experience for the listener.
Philadelphia seems to be fast becoming an epicenter for singer/songwriters, and Kevin Killen is an excellent example. Like many singer/songwriters, his songs can be hard to fit into just one genre, and his music takes influences from folk, alt rock, jazz, and Americana. Probably his strongest point is his catchy choruses, which always seem to bring the song full circle.
This UK band is reminiscent of the punk movement of the 1990s. The songs are heavy on the experimenting and contain interesting minimalist musical ideas such as a strong dependence on repetition that seems designed to toy with the mind of the listener.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The Indie Music Review has a new blog! www.indiemusictools.blogspot.com is dedicated to bringing the latest music industry tips, tools, websites, technology and more to our readers. Be sure to check it out, and if you have a music industry tip you would like to share, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Dailey is part of a growing movement of musicians who are utilizing new technology and their multi-instrumental abilities to write, perform, and produce entire records solo. He has produced multiple CDs with his 60s/70s style rock (The latest is "Out Of Control" ) that often sound like the work of a full band and record label.
This Bronx-based hip hop is an example to independent musicians in every genre. He not only produces quality hip hop, he has established himself in the highly competitive New York hip hop scene with 6 albums that keep his fans coming back for more.
A.J. Steel is an Australian performer and songwriter whose great rock/pop compositions have not only received recognition Down Under, but on radio stations in America and the UK as well. His latest production is a new EP, Satellites and Cars, which feature an excellent drum and electric guitar accompaniment in sync with his distinct voice.
Alexander Jenkins is a composer that isn't interested in writing for just one genre. He has over 500 original songs written in genres ranging from industrial to ethnic, with every on bearing his own unique, electronic heavy style.
In a well-crafted collision of classical and popular music, this Maryland recording artist has combined her trumpet and keyboard skills with a pop oriented voice that is making has her not only performing in small venues, but ones as famous as Carnegie Hall.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Writing and singing music in multiple languages is no small feat in itself, but Ukrainian artist Pasha Black pulls it off without sacrificing any quality. His acoustic soft rock features not only good songwriting, but excellent instrumentals and production.
Though classically trained, this singer/songwriter puts out great contemporary music sung with his unique voice that sounds distinct from many in the genre due to his multi-instrumental abilities and the accompaniment of his band. He is also a great example of a musician triumphing over adversity to produce great songs.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Easily the most unique thing about this songwriting duo is that it's members live on two different continents. Sean Dunlop writes the lyrics from the USA, and corresponds via the web with lyricist Jamie Radford in the UK to produce great songs that not only unite genres, but countries as well.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
It isn't enough for this artist to create her own music, she decided to create her own genre too. Her 21st century pop/electronic style of music is so unique, she calls it "Beta Music" instead of trying to fit it into some other cookie cutter genre.
Listening to Monty The Space Poet is like being on a time machine that doesn't quite know where to go. He brings you back to the 1960s with his great classic rock sound, then yanks you into the '90s with a punkier style, and back and forth you go as he transitions from electronic to acoustic and back again.
Lick And A Promise is a great reminder of the diversity of rock, as they're based out of Frankfurt, Germany. Their new album, "Come Together In The Morning" contains just some of the great rock and roll that has kept them busy not only in Europe, but up and down the U.S. West Coast as well.
Talk about versatility, this actress/model/songwriter/performer does it all, without sacrificing the quality of her music. In between acting in "Get Him To The Greek" and modeling on the, she produces great Las Vegas rock/pop music with a powerful voice.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Don't be fooled by the name, the Rubber Clown Car band plays music with a serious message. With their latest CD titled "Jesus is not a Weapon," there is no doubt where this band stands, which would explain the sort of 1960s sound.
Born and raised on the West Coast, David Rosenfield's compositions still retain the Northwest style of independent folk rock, although he is now based out of Florida. His lyrics remind the listener of what songwriting really is: poetry.
This singer/songwriter is the epitome of creativity and versatility. Not only did he write, record, mix, perform, and produce his debut album, "My Greatest Sympathies," completely solo, he succeeded in producing music that is original and fun to listen to.