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Six Acoustic Guitar Tips
Here are a few free acoustic guitar tips every beginner will probably learn sooner or later. Some are harder to learn than others; forewarned is forearmed.
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The Virgins and ASCAP: Did A Performance Rights Organization Do Anything For Us?
In 1995 I moved back to my hometown of Milwaukee with a group of college friends to start a band. We called ourselves The Virgins. Over the next five years this name would prove to be somewhat prescient. We played hundreds of shows throughout the Midwest, recorded one six-song cassette and two CDs, and made a lot of naive assumptions.
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Cool Gizmo Alert: Genz-Benz G-Flex 2x12
We're proud to launch a new product review series sponsored by YourGuitarist. YourGuitarist.com is a web site offering Internet based development of custom guitar tracks for artists worldwide. YourGuitarist.com allows musicians to avoid the high studio fees usually associated with producing guitar tracks for their songs.
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Under The Covers

Arms of Kismet - Multi-Personality Order
by Ben Ohmart,

There's no easy way to describe Arms of Kismet. Perhaps writer/producer/performer of the group, Mark Doyon, explains all in the band's title: "The moment holds you in its arms, but arms can be weapons, too. Life is a double-edged sword. What are you going to do with yours?"

Okay, you're right. That doesn't help explain what's on the new Cutting Room Rug, a sequel CD to 2004's debut, Eponymous. Post modern new wave with a self-satirical edge that treats the 1980s like a self-serving god, full of bubblegum angst and free- wheeling guitar riffs? Does that come a little bit close? Let's listen...

There is a reason "Auriculara (Listen to Me)" sounds like an Elvis Costello outtake. Check the opening gambit:

On a sidestep
You curled a snide lip
Maybe it's high time
Somebody looked you over
For bats in the belfry
Or cats in the clover

The alliteration couples with street-smart savvy, drenched in a melodic hook that swings at post-modern influences, daring to excite us back to the origin of rock without going so far as to inundate us with words more concerned with "you" and "too" rhymes. Attitude, baby. Plus the self-opinionated, self-parodying hijinks that The Monkees played with, and which The Who embraced without any alarm towards quality. The flippancy of the drums, the sting of the piano notes that refuse to flourish into full chords, the restrained/wild guitar break harkening to the '60s, all decades are covered with one quick track.

For those who refuse to bend for new wave or break for alternative, "Outbound Train" clicks the rhythm you'd expect for just such a title. INXS lovers will hear something in the clever, understated guitar work and simple poetry:

Hold on tight
Look up to the sky
The sun's a mirror
For your eyes

For those just coming down off a high or a high building, scan the reverb of "Coil" as it sinks like potent cough syrup into the dark recess of your infected mind. Shhh... singer Mark Doyon is whispering introspection like Walmart's got it on sale:


More on Arms of Kismet

* Genre: Pop Rock
* Hometown: Clifton, VA
* Arms of Kismet website
* Contact Arms of Kismet
Take a Listen to Cutting Room Rug
* "Auriculara (Listen to Me)"
* "Outbound Train"
* "Coil"

In this uncertainty
Hides a brighter, bluer day
That is what they say
But silence is security
If it keeps the wolves at bay
That is what they say

Dark blue guitar powerhouses into an anthem for the forlorn and forgotten, b-siding the upbeat wings of this album with a smooth tranquility that showcases Mark's promising songwriting skills.

Says the man, "I started writing songs and playing the guitar when I was 14. My guitar teacher was a bluegrass guy, so I was learning all these Appalachian riffs while cranking Clash and Sex Pistols songs in the garage with my band. That gave me a skewed view of genres, and helped me understand that boundaries aren't necessarily conducive to creating your own style. I play around with that idea on the new record, teasing 'roots' music while obviously loving it."

Hence, the eclectic influences of Lou Reed, Graham Parker, Warren Zevon, and Tonio K. Mark: "Sometimes people say Tom Petty, but that's really the influence of Dylan, Roger McGuinn, The Byrds. My stuff is rooted in The Kinks, The Who, and The Clash, and hangs out now somewhere near Beck, The Flaming Lips, and The Postal Service." When asked what he's trying to say with his music, Mark stated, "Depends on the song, but it's about perseverance, mostly. Life can be hard, but that doesn't mean it can't be thrilling and fulfilling and packed with possibilities. Revel in it. Laugh. Don't give up."

The sense of humor shows like an anti-REM beacon at times."You're going to have a hard time getting by without humor," says Mark. "It's a survival mechanism, a way to cope, and it can disarm or relieve you at a dark moment. Laughter can be equal parts happy and sad. Music without a sense of that is inarticulate in a way.... It doesn't acknowledge that taking ourselves too seriously could be amusing to anyone watching from the outside."

That probably explains why the man describes his wares as "brooding and poppy, funny and foreboding, it's toe-tapping, tragicomic rock 'n' roll.

"I try not to get hung up on methods. Good songs often aren't planned, and writing in a particular way -- by a certain window, with a certain pen, verse-chorus, verse-chorus -- can be more of a straightjacket than a help. I usually get an idea for a song, and write the lyrics organically as the music develops. They go hand in hand."

Obviously, forsaking that special pen and window seat is working for Mark. Eponymous was filled with "an off-kilter wisdom and warped melodies, a treasure-trove of idiosyncratic rock and roll" according to one reviewer, while Arms of Kismet itself thinks the music is getting "more comic, more playful, more conceptual in the way it's stitched together. A natural progression, though. The next one will probably be a little more sad and a little funnier."

So, Arms are hugging more shows later this year, after a successful tour of the eastern US states last year. So get out there and listen to the jam. As Mark says, "Smash your radio. Hang out on the indie fringes. Tell your friends. There's a galaxy of great music out there not being used in Jaguar commercials."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission

Grand Stand


MusicDish Network Promotes 60's Love Child Astrella-Celeste


MusicDish, an Internet music magazine publisher and artist marketing/development firm, is proud to announce the addition of Pop/Jazz singer Astrella Celeste to the MusicDish Network roster. Combining a variety of online viral marketing strategies, the MusicDish Network will be coordinating a broad campaign in support of her debut album "Blue Star" (the Spanish translation of Astrella Celeste).
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SKY BOX

MusicDish At MIDEM: J-Music Distribution, France

J-Music Distribution describes itself as "the very first European distributor of Japanese music whose activities link Japanese artists and their management, Japanese record companies, and European distributors together to provide a stable framework of distribution from artists to music retail store."

Formed in December 2005, J-Music Distribution representatives brought their business vision to "MIDEM, The World Music Market's 40th Edition" conference in Cannes, France.

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BERKLEE NEWS
Toshi Reagon to Present Fanny with ROCKRGRL Women of Valor Award On April 20
Toshi Reagon has been named to present pioneering all-female rock group Fanny with the ROCKRGRL Women of Valor Award, Friday, April 20, at the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. Read more...
STAGE RIGHT
Musicians Turn to Short Run DVD Production
Today's independent musicians have started using new technologies including On Demand Short Run CD/DVD Production, enabling them to order smaller batches of CDs and DVDs in real time online 24/7 and ship to customers, one at a time.
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