Mar Howard Is Down With Cancer While Gibson Files For Bankruptcy

This is not a good one; Mark Howard a highly revered sound engineer is down with cancer and it has reached a critical stage. He has worked with the likes of Emmylou Harris, U2, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, and Bob Dylan. In fact, he was the sound engineer that handled Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind and Oh Mercy (2 of Dylan’s most successful albums).

He was already diagnosed of skin cancer about a year ago and little was heard about it so a lot of people felt the ailment was under control. It was shocking when the announcement was made that the cancer has spread to his lungs and brain and he is now fighting for his life. He is said to be in Toronto currently and he is being treated for stage 4 melanoma.

He was quoted as saying that he is feeling good even though the side effects of the treatment are not so bad. He also confirmed that he has been getting great support from the music community. Thanks to everyone that has supported the great sound engineer so far. They are the reason he is staying strong.

Since it has become necessary to raise funds for him to pay his bills, rent, and living expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up for him. There is so much hope that he will finish his treatment, beat cancer, and get back to his feet soon.

Another not-so-good news in the music industry is Gibson’s bankruptcy. Gibson is one of the most successful guitar brands in America. The company announced on Tuesday that it is set to file for chapter-11 bankruptcy. It also made it known that it is also working towards re-focusing, restricting, and reorganizing of the company.

As a way out of its debt, the company will drop all its side businesses and focus on producing and selling musical instruments because that is its original mission. All other businesses are diversifications.

The company had been struggling for the past one year and they have cut down operational cost tremendously and even increased earnings. They have also reduced working capital demands but in spite of all their efforts, they have not been able to turn the company’s fate around.

Dr. Dog Releases New Album

Fans of Dr. Dog, an extremely popular indie rock band from Philadelphia, can rejoice — new music has arrived! Their new album, titled Critical Equation, has been winning praise all across the musical spectrum as it hits the notes that only Dr. Dog can hit. It is quirky, a bit odd, and yet the lyrics are nearly psychedelic in their nature. Sticking with their usual trend of shorter albums, Critical Equation weighs in at just 10 tracks and a mere 40 minutes long — of course leaving fans clamoring for more of the music they so love.

The band took a risk and recorded this album in a different studio than they usually have utilized, heading out to Los Angeles and working with up and coming producer Michael Kiwanuka. The result is that perfect blend of music that stays true to the band’s roots while also experimenting a bit with a new sound style. Certainly, it seems they have hit their mark on Critical Equation.

Up next for the band? A wide-ranging tour that kicks off May 4th in Detroit, Michigan and hits all of the major Midwestern cities before spanning down South and eventually all across the Northwest. The tour is massive, and will last all the way until August where they will perform their last gig of the tour at Bellwether Festival in Waynesville, Ohio. Indeed, if you’ve been meaning to see these guys in concert — this tour seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. With new music loaded and ready to be deployed, even fans who have seen Dr. Dog in concert before will surely be treated to a new experience.

While it is impossible to say when the next studio album from the Philly group will come out, Critical Equation should scratch the itch for fans for quite awhile. Of course, it is still early, but the early returns are that this album perfectly encapsulates the style of Dr. Dog that has won them so many fans over the years.

Indie Music Finds Home with Spotify

The Indie music scene is something that more people are celebrating because cloud music streaming is making it possible for these artists to earn a living. If you are a music lover that is supporting the Indie music scene Spotify actually makes it easier for you to do this. You do not have to roam the entire internet and search of the new independent artist. A lot of these Independent artists are showing up on Spotify, and this even gives these artists a chance to earn more money.

There are a lot of people that are on distributing music independently that were once major label artists. Emily King is one such artist that at one time was part of the J Records crew that had a roster that contained Alicia Keys, Usher Raymond and Busta Rhymes. She decided to make her own way and go so low, and this has worked exceptionally well for her.

For the traditional format of radio Emily King is not going to get much air time. As someone that is part of an independent label, however, she still has the ability to get her music on Spotify. This makes a big difference. The same can be said with other artists that were once mainstream like Tamia.

Tamia knows what it is like to be a mainstream artist because her entire career was built on being a mainstream artist for a major label. She has stated, however, that her last album was part of an independent label project. She has scaled-down in order to create music that may allow her to make more money as an independent artist.

The music scene is filled with a lot of artists that want to have more control over their content. This is why the Indie music scene has always been a big thing. Spotify is going to give the independent music artist a level playing field based on what Spotify users are interested in.

Indie Music Icon Releases New Single

Throughout her career, indie musician and performer Janelle Monae has consistently been true to her own artistic vision, and her new single, “I Like That” is a celebration of the individuality that has helped her gain so much positive attention from fans and critics. Rolling Stone Magazine has a preview of the tune, which is from Monae’s soon-to-be-released “Dirty Computer” album, on its website. Monae herself describes the album as an “emotion picture.”

“I Like That” has a slow, yet intricate 4/4 beat. In many respects, it’s like the beats on many current rap records; however, it’s not as fast. Synthesizers are used to create a dramatic sound that’s part cabaret, part 1980’s, and Monae’s powerful voice, of course, makes the track ascendant.

The lyrics express the idea that it’s best to be true to yourself and to do what you want artistically even if you’re the only one who likes a particular style. Monae reflects on being younger and being teased for looking different and knowing that she was cool even as her feelings were hurt. As someone known for having an eclectic and unpredictable sense of style – Monae frequently performs in a tuxedo – it’s clearly a philosophy that she’s practiced as well as preached.

Personally, I think it’s awesome that Monae is putting out new music, and I’m guessing that “I Like That” will help her music, fashion and outlook reach a broader audience. Monae’s last record, the highly acclaimed “Electric Lady” came out in 2013, so it’s been a while since her fans have heard new material, and I’m confident that it will be worth the wait.

Liam Payne and J Blavin’s New Song For The Summer

One of the many definitions for indie music is “a small independent pop group” (although small and “pop”, short for popular, seem counterintuitive in my opinion). It can also be defined as a genre, in which case we could see a large, popular indie rock band. Part of the nature of being an “independent” artist also stems from a resistance to the establishment, in most cases pertaining to major corporations.

Writer Sydney Gore urges us to “get familiar” in the title of an article covering Liam Payne & J Balvin. The title is both a play on the song’s title “Familiar” and an insinuation that these two are somewhat underground. They’re decidedly not independent in the sense that they are signed to the top record labels in the country.

The medium tempo song has a house vibe to it. The Spanish lyrics and guitar are the perfect sounds for summer. Even though the song is certainly not indie rock, and I can’t understand enough of what their saying to speak on the message, I would classify them as “indie” simply for being under my radar. Though Liam came from One Direction, his career has been more low-key than the teeny bop sensation. J Blavin keeps the indie clout strong as reggaeton is still primarily underground in the U.S.

Even though MTV appears to be showcasing more undergound music, this song probably won’t stay that way after breaking on the major network. MTV has also brought back TRL and I give it a matter of time before I see performances from the show popping up on Youtube. Endless options are available to the average media consumer, almost as if everything is underground until we go looking for it. Making music and writing a part of my life again means being interested in seeking out what others are writing about and listening to by simply showing up to their URL.

Lorde Covers “New York”

Twenty-one year old Lorde performed a cover of St. Vincent’s “New York” alongside Jack Antonoff. The powerful ballad proclaims that “New York isn’t New York without you, love,” and Lorde tweeted the lyrics “you’re the only mother fucker in the city who can handle me” last year.


That tweet caused fans to call for a Lorde and St. Vincent collaboration, but these fans are left to settle with a collaboration between Lorde and Jack Antonoff, St. Vincent’s co-writer and Lorde’s close personal friend. The two shared a memorable live performance of “New York” at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Antoff took to the New York stage with an acoustic guitar while Lorde sings the angsty ballad before transitioning into Lorde’s “Hard Feelings.” The performance is raw and simple with the two sitting cross-legged on the stage, facing one another. Lorde wears a dress and Antoff wears a hoodie and cap, the epitome of closeness. Their performance exemplifies the beauty of the song’s lyrics, and it gives fans something to cling to.


The New Zealand teen rocketed to relative stardom with the 2013 release of her hit “Royals,” but Lord took a small hiatus after her first album, Pure Heroine, and before her second album, Melodrama. Now, she continues to perform across the nation, impressing her fans and exciting their imaginations.


This cover isn’t the first of Lorde’s – Lorde tends to incorporate covers into her sets, affording her the nickname “Queen of Covers.” In fact, during live performances, Lorde has covered songs by Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Paul Simon.


Listen to the performance here.


Care to check out the full article? It’s on

Inaugural Bellwether Line-Up Announced

Excitement has been building for the inaugural Bellwether alternative music festival, set to debut this August in Waynesville, Ohio. On Thursday, event organizers revealed the festival’s headliners as MGMT, Flaming Lips, Dr. Dog, Local Natives, and Whitney. More acts are expected to be announced in the upcoming weeks. The two-day festival is scheduled for August 10-11 at Renaissance Park in Waynesville, conveniently located near Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton.

Tickets are available at a variety of price points and packages. Two-day passes at the early bird rate are on sale now for $85 but this price will jump to $105 on March 30. Single day tickets will go on sale for $55 on May 1. Two-day VIP passes are $245 and include access to private viewing areas of each stage, dedicated restrooms, complimentary snacks, and exclusive access to the air-conditioned hospitality tent. For those not needing all the VIP amenities, but still wanting access to shower facilities and dedicated restrooms, there is a “freshen up” pass available for $50. Children 10 and under will be admitted for free when accompanied by a paying adult. Parking passes will be available for $10.

Camping is an integral part of the Bellwether experience, and as such, the festival organizers are offering a variety of camping options including basic camping, glamping, and RV camping spots. All of these options are on sale now and range in price from $120-600 per space. The festival will feature a variety of eclectic food and beverage vendors sure to satiate any appetite. Bellwether is designed to bring the community together to celebrate music by day and stars by night. Organizers expect between 10,000-15,000 attendees per day.

Alex Pall of the Chainsmokers: Breaking New Ground

Dance music is every year becoming more popular of a genre. The aesthetic of the artist of this genre typically include artist that are rarely if ever seen. They much rather let the music be their face and guide the way. One of the groups at the for front of this musical genre are the Chainsmokers and they are coming into a new era of their music. Unlike the aforementioned peers within their genre, they are deciding to do things a little differently.

Before going into a new direction, it is sometimes good to reflect on where we come from. This is what the Chainsmokers touch on as Alex Pall details his roots growing up as a DJ. First starting as a hobby, he realized that he wanted to take the big step and turn it into a career. That is when his manager introduced him to Andrew Taggart and the rest is history. From Andrew’s perspective “It was love at first sight.” He was in the middle of college when they reached out to him and he moved from Maine to New York and they got busy creating their brand and music. Because they shared the same core values, and both understood and had perspective on what they brought to the group as individuals, they were easily able to connect artistically and brand wise. It was more about the work as they toiled from day to day on their music instead of week to week. Four years into hard work here they are now in this plateau of their career.

Furthermore, they are focused on improving themselves as artist and people. For example, on the new record they will be singing on their own records that consist of content about their own lives. This is relatively new ground for acts in their genre of music. Additionally, they are taking part in the song writing portion of the music making process. With the pressure of an album release from the fans and the record label burdening them, they are more considered with creating a cohesive work of art that personifies them as artists. This is what they want rather than a basic singles-based work that most other artist and record labels would be happy with.

Their identity is a big part of what they are focusing on this go around. The recent tracks they released with Halsey coincides with this desire. They consider her number one on their list of collaborative hopes because she is so unique. The Chainsmokers are in touch with who and what their audience are. This fi another contributing factor of them perfecting their identity. The live show they put on is reflective of this as they integrate new components like their #Selfie. They sum up their new mindset as trying to provide new experiences for fans and push new boundaries never before reached