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Fearless Records Announce 'Punk Goes 90s Volume 2'

Fearless RecordsSometimes I think the Punk Goes… series will never die. And when I hear that Fearless Records has announced the second edition of Punk Goes 90s, I feel a little more at ease. Because, come on, who didn’t love the ’90s?

Although the full track listing and release date have yet to be revealed, Get Scared will lead the way with a cover of Lit‘s “My Own Worst Enemy” on January 7th. Check out the label’s teaser video, including a sample of Get Scared’s cover below.  (more…)

The Editorialist: 8 Holiday Covers You Need To Hear

The holidays are a time for friends, family, baked goods, and of course, the release of cover songs from some of your favorite artists past and present. From fun.‘s recent cover of Sleigh Ride all the way back to the days of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, our playlist has a little something for everyone.

Listen to our playlist below and let us know your choices for best holiday cover in the comments.

Holiday Covers We Love from OurStage on 8tracks Radio.

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Hopeless Records Stream ‘Hopeless For The Holidays’

Last week we brought you a little teaser from Hopeless Records’ Christmas compilation, Hopeless For The Holidays. Featuring tracks from For The Foxes, Driver Friendly, Anarbor and Divided By Friday, the compilation is now available for full stream, and features both originals and classic covers. It’s a little taste of the holidays, minus all the mayhem. Check out the stream after the jump.

If you like Driver Friendly, check out OurStage artist Clear For Takeoff.

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Hopeless Records Announces ‘Hopeless For The Holidays’ Compilation

˜Tis the season for holiday classics! You’ve noticed it while pushing through the crowds on Black Friday or strolling through the supermarket to pick up pies, and now we’re bringing the holidays to you via Hopeless Records’ new compilation, Hopeless For The Holidays. Featuring newcomers and long time favorites such as For The Foxes, Divided By Friday, Driver Friendly, and Anarbor, the album will contain Christmas covers and originals. Dive into the spirit by listening to For The Foxes’ contribution, All That Glistens after the jump, along with the track listing.

Track Listing:
1. For The Foxes “ The Only Thing That Glistens
2. Divided By Friday “ All I Want For Christmas Is You
3. Anarbor “ West Coast Christmas
4. Driver Friendly “ X-Mas In Texas

If you like Driver Friendly, check out OurStage artist Clear For Takeoff.

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What Makes A Great Cover Song?

We hear cover songs all the time. Entire bands exist for the sole purpose of covering the work of another artist or group. Big name musicians perform the music of their fellow artists all the time to pay tribute to the ones who inspired them. And more recently, we’ve seen up-and-coming singers become famous from posting their cover songs on YouTube. Fourteen-year-old Greyson Chance, who has already released his debut album, got his big break from covering Lady Gaga‘s “Paparazzi” at a school event. OurStage’s duo Karmin has received over 40 million views on one of their captivating and unique hip hop covers. Just a couple of weeks ago, they performed at the iHeartRadio festival among artists such as Lady Gaga and Jay-Z. But with so many people recording and performing cover songs, we have to wonder “what makes the good ones stand out?” We’ve found some of our favorite from the Cover Bands Channel to show you!

Karmin

 

Take, for example, the talented a cappella group called Rockapella, who covered Vampire Weekend‘s hit “A Punk”. The group took a song that is upbeat, fast-paced and performed by a full band, and recreated it with just their voices. Their version is slowed down and focuses on the harmonies created by the members of the group. It sounds more soulful and catches your attention right from the start.

Behind The Mic: 20 Things All Artists Should Be Doing

As the Behind the Mic series comes to an end, we’d like to give you all a list of 20 things we think all artists should be doing to keep their fans engaged, pack their shows and promote their music.

From having an online presence to setting up distribution for your albums, we hope this list will help you hone your skills as both a musician and a business person in the fast-paced and constantly changing music industry. After all, your band is your brand, and it takes lots of hard work and dedication to reach your goals!

1. Get online. This is an obvious one”you’re already here, but if you don’t yet have an account on OurStage, sign up now! As our artists will tell you, it can be a career-changing move. You should also have a MySpace page, a Twitter account, a Facebook page and anything other account you think you’ll use. You don’t need to sign up for every single music site you see, because chances are that you don’t have the time to update all of them all the time. An outdated profile is useless, and sometimes detrimental to your progress!

2. Consider making your next album an EP, or a 3P. As we discussed earlier, the 3P is the future of music releases. We live in a world of instant gratification, so music fans are showing preference to purchasing a few EPS over the course of a year than an annual album.

3. Take some new band photos. Ditch the old photos from last year and get some updated, high-quality shoots. You’ll need them for your websites and press kits!

4. Get your album reviewed. There are a million bloggers out there waiting for albums to review. Get your music heard and attain a quotable review for your EPK and bio.

5. Research potential sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorships are a great way to offset the costs of being in a band. Learn how to reach out to companies for sponsorships for clothing, gear and more.

6. Be gig-savvy. Plan your gigs carefully”be sure not to double up on the same market more than twice in a month, and watch out for potential scams. You might want to start using a band calendar to keep track of everyone’s availability. That will save you the extra step of calling each band member every time you’re offered a show. And don’t forget to use our Gig Finder to find new show opportunities!

7. Learn the business. The music industry can be tricky. Learning the ins and outs of record deals, tour planning, etc. will put you at an advantage over other musicians!

8. Practice your live show. The test of a true musician is seeing how well you can replicate the sound of your record in a live setting. Take our tips for honing your stage presence and your next show will be even better than your last.

9. Sell your merch online. Fans who can’t come out to shows need a way to buy your merch too. Set up a webstore and start selling!

10. Manage your mailing list. Set up a mailing list and an account on a newsletter site. Keep your fans in the know and offer them cool incentives for signing up!

11. Promote to the college crowd. College kids love music and love being the first to know about the hottest upcoming bands. Learn how to get in with the college crowd by playing shows, getting on-air interviews and handing out free merch at local schools!

12. Webcast your next show or acoustic set. Make your fans feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment by putting them front row center to an intimate performance or live show, or just host your own webchat. Webcasting is a powerful artist tool, so make sure you get on it as soon as possible!

13. Launch a fan-funded campaign. Fan funding is the hottest new way to raise cash for a new record, tour or merch collection. Source your funding from your fans and reward them with awesome, exclusive prizes!

14. Design cooler merch. With all the crazy merch out there, T-shirts and CDs are old hat. Get creative with your merch and give your fans some fantastic new swag.

15. Record a cover song. A cover song is a fast, fun and easy way to get extra exposure and promotion. In a  time when music is discovered online everyday, posting a cover song or video can actually help launch an artist’s career!

16. Run a street team. Gather a group of your most dedicated fans and start a street team. These fans will be your grassroots promoters, so get some unique and innovative ideas together to get your name out there.

17. Take care of your voice (and other instruments). Take our tips for proper voice care and check out Jay Schneider’s Tune Up series for pointers on keeping your instruments in top shape.

18. Hire a manager (when the time is right). One you have a solid following and are making money off your music career, you should consider getting a manager. They can be a huge help in getting ahead in the industry, but they are ultimately a representation of you”so choose carefully!

19. Update your official Web site, don’t ditch it. Don’t forget about your official Web site! It’s the go-to place for accurate and up-to-date information, and should not be replaced by MySpace or Facebook.

20. Have fun! Being in a band is a challenging, time-consuming job, but ultimately, it’s about the music. Remain dedicated, work hard  and stay passionate about your art!

Behind the Mic: Live Performance Tips

No matter how tight your band is musically, your live show could suffer greatly if you don’t have good stage presence.

What is stage presence, anyway? Basically, it’s the way you carry yourself on stage and interact with the audience and your fellow band members.

As an artist, your goals should be: to sound as tight as possible, make sure your audience has a good time and make sure they leave with some merch and/or music. Here are some tips to make it all happen.

Remember, this is a performance...don't be afraid to go a little crazy!

When organizing your set list, it’s a good idea to consider the flow of the songs. Essentially, don’t load all your new songs at the beginning or the end of the set and don’t play similar songs back-to-back. Adding in a cover song can be a fun way to engage audience members who don’t know your original material yet. You should always end your set with your strongest song or your newest single in order to leave the crowd with the best impression possible.

Always arrive to the venue at or before the specified time. If the booking agent doesn’t tell you when to show up, an hour and a half before doors open is always a safe bet. This will ensure that you have enough time to load in your equipment and, if possible, sound check before doors open to avoid any potential technical difficulties.

During your set, remember to encourage audience participation. The vocalist should always try to be charismatic, exciting and fun. Start claps, teach them a sing-a-long part or talk directly to certain crowd members. If the audience is into your music, they will love feeling like they’re becoming a part of it.

Keep up the audience engagement and someday you may hear thousands singing back to you!

Through the set, you should try to mention your band name three times. It also helps to tell the audience where you’re from and where they can find you online. Mention that you’re on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, OurStage, etc. and encourage them to look you up. Keep in mind that the more the audience hears your band’s name, the more likely it is that they will remember it when the show is over. Of course, you should also tell the audience about your latest release and what your plans for the future are, especially if you plan on playing in the same area in the near future.

It’s also important to sell from the stage, as your merch is both promotional material and a way to earn cash from the show, regardless of ticket sales. Point your audience’s attention to your merch table and list two or three of the items you have available. As always, have your mailing list set up at the table so you can capture names and contact information.

If you’re not headlining, always try to stay for the bands playing after you to provide support. Introduce yourselves to them before or after the show”don’t forget that each performance is a networking opportunity!

Just like athletes watch footage of their latest game, filming a show and going over it with your bandmates afterwards will help you see how you appear to the audience. And if you like the video, be sure to enter it in our brand new Pro Performance Video Channel!

Which tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

Even Better Than The Real Thing, Baby: Tribute Bands for the Irony Age

Once the domain of super-serious, straight-up cover bands like Sticky Fingers (The Stones), Crystal Ship (The Doors) and the thousands of Beatles covers bands who flourished after the Broadway musical Beatlemania made it cool to be faux, the world of tribute bands has evolved along with every other musical movement. From the weird and marginal (Mini Kiss, a band of little people who lip sync to Kiss recordings) to the ultra professional (Bjorn Again ,the highly successful traveling fake-Abba stage show), tribute bands are multiplying and diversifying.

In the post-millennial, post-irony era, it is difficult to enjoy even our guilty pleasures without some conceptual tweaking that allows us to feel that we are in on the joke. So while the more serious tribute bands continue to rake in literally millions of dollars per year from ticket sales, a whole crop of acts have emerged that combine off-kilter performance art with sing-a-long élan.

Tragedy, The Bee Gees Tribute band http://www.letsmaketragedyhappen.com/

One popular trend in this direction is the stylistic mashuplike New York City’s Tragedy, who play heavy metal versions of Bee Gees songs; Beatallica, a seamless blend of thrash metal and Fab Four pop; Hoboken’s Skanatra, who apply a spirited blue-beat to the Ol’ Blue Eyes repertoire; and Hayseed Dixie, whose bluegrass renditions of hard rock classicsand elaborate fictional backstoryhave kept audiences chuckling for over a decade.

An offshoot of the hybrid tribute act is the gender switche.g. Hell’s Belles (femme AC/DC), Deva (double-X chromosome Devo tribute), Lez Zeppelin (All girls, all Zeppelin), We Got the Meat, (Portland’s all-male Go-Go’s) and The Pretty Babies, the all-girl Blondie tribute band led by New York singer/comedienne Tammy Faye Starlite, who was an actress before she turned to musical comedy.

I like to play characters, says Starlite, who also plays Mick Jagger in the hilarious all-female Rolling Stones act, The Mike Hunt Band. I guess I’d call myself a ˜performer’like Liza, but less sequined. And unfortunately, with fewer opiates.

Inhabiting the persona of Debbie Harry, Nico or Mick is like doing a great play. The singer is the lead character, and the songs are the lines.

Bambi Kino Photo Credit: Andrew Bicknell

Then there are the less theatrical but still high-concept acts. Former Guided By Voices member Doug Gillard (now mainly a solo artist) has recently begun playing in Bambi Kino, a Beatles tribute with a twist: their song selections and playing style directly copy the early-˜60s, Hamburg-nightclub-playing era of the band, during which their set lists were mainly pop covers and a few primitive originals. Although the group, which includes Nada Surf’s Ira Elliot, doesn’t assume fake Beatles identities, they do aim for sonic authenticity.

Says Gillard, We try to avoid more modern guitar chord voicings, licks, and drum fills in favor of period-appropriate styleswhich is a challenge. There’s an appeal for us in really inhabiting the music and the era we’re playing songs from.

Aside from the artistic challenge, and the potential to make some money, what motivates tribute artists to do their thing? Singer Cathy Cervenka heads up the New York-based Cathyland rock collective, which puts together tribute shows for their favorite ˜80s artists, demonstrating both great devotion and dashes of amiable camp. A recent gig had Cervenka performing, with gusto and supple vocal skill, Pat Benatar’s breakthrough Crimes of Passion album with a strong backing band in full ˜80s spandex array.

There’s nothing more fun than getting to play your favorite songs onstage with your band, says Cervenka, for an audience of fellow fans, who know every word and guitar lick of every song.

She adds reverentially, It’s a very communal experience.

By Paula Carino

Paula Carino is a musician and writer based in New York. She’s written for AMG, American Songwriter and contributed to the Encyclopedia of Pop Music. She’s also a yoga teacher and authored the book Yoga To Go.

Behind the Mic: How a Cover Song Can Boost Your Career

Many bands start off their first practice by learning a cover song, but even seasoned acts can benefit from playing someone else’s music.

A cover song can be a great career booster, and an easy way to reach a wider audience. People love to hear new takes on old favorites, as proven by the popularity of cover compilations like Fearless Records’ Punk Goes… collection.

The "Punk Goes" Collection

It may seem strange to use someone else’s music for your own benefit, but a cover can actually be a powerful promotional tool. Once you have a solid recording, upload it into a movie-making program, like iMovie, so that it can be posted on YouTube. While you can make the video a still shot with your band’s name and URL on it, shooting a music video for the cover song will show off your creativity and personality as a band. Best of all, it doesn’t need to cost a penny.

Case in point: The Fold. The band were previously signed to Tooth & Nail Records, but decided to cut ties in 2008 and have remained unsigned ever since. This past December, they released a parody version of Miley Cyrus’ hit “Party in the U.S.A,” this time titled “Every Band in the U.S.A.” The song’s lyrics were re-written to poke fun at the pop-punk scene, specifically how playing a Miley Cyrus cover can instantly win over an unenthusiastic crowd.

The laugh-out-loud video, which was shot completely on an iPhone, quickly gained national attention and has racked up over 345,000 views on YouTube. It was even promoted by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low (a band that was name-dropped in the video as refusing to tour with The Fold) on Twitter. The Fold also made the song available for free download on their Web site (remember-charging money for a cover song without permission is illegal!) and even got an endorsement from Glamour Kills clothing for a t-shirt after mentioning their lack of sponsorship in the song.

One more thing: before you unleash your video to the world, make sure that it is tagged appropriately with the song name, the original artist’s name and your name. This will ensure that anyone who searches YouTube for the original song, or for covers of it, will be able to see your video as well. Once the video is up, get to work promoting it on all of the social media accounts you have!

As The Fold’s drummer Mark Rhoades commented, YouTube is the new MTV, and you don’t need big marketing money to reach new fans.

Generation DIY: Cover Songs 101

The other week I attended the New Found Glory/Saves The Day concert at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. Being a fan of both artists since their inception, I’ve collected the entirety of their respective discographies. New Found Glory put out an EP in 2000 called From the Screen to Your Stereo which consisted of 7 cover tracks of national artists used in motion pictures (in 2007 they released the follow-up album From the Screen to Your Stereo II ¦ clever huh?). In the history of music, many bands have recorded and released covers of their favorite artists, or of songs that they believed the public would enjoy (something played on Top 40 to gain more recognition in most cases). So, in this week’s “Generation DIY,” I’d like to talk about the process of covering a song and the legality behind doing so.
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