PROFESSIONAL DEMO REVIEW - Jun 25, 2007
- “Great energy with a tight punchy sound!”
Unsigned Artists Of The Week Another Day Down, Lifted Culture and Dikta have been reviewed by our panel of three music industry professionals: managers Steve Hutton (Uppercut Management), Lynda Moffet (Moffet Management), and Tommi Tuomainen (Elements Music).
The reviewers analyzed all aspects: vocals, production, composition, visual presentation; provided tips on improving the tracks; evaluated their overall potential to get a record deal and achieve chart success, and advised on approaching the music industry.
Another Day Down – Australia – Rock
Australian rock band Another Day Down will step into the studio in March 2007 with ARIA-winning producer Anton Hagop (Silverchair, Missy Higgins, Powderfinger) to start recording their debut album. They are available for record and publishing deals.
Listen to Another Day Down – Blank
Lifted Culture – US – Rock
Self-produced rock and rap brother duo Lifted Culture from St.Louis have been touring with Kelly Clarkson and Omarion. They are available for record and publishing deals.
Listen to Lifted Culture – Something 2 Say
Dikta – Iceland – Rock/Pop
Icelandic Indie pop band Dikta are produced by Ace (Skunk Anansie) and released in Iceland by Smekkleysa (Björk, Sigur Ros). They are available for record and management deals.
Listen to Dikta – Breaking The Waves
Our industry professional review panel:
Steve Hutton – Manager – US
Stephen Hutton started Uppercut Management in 1993. Shortly thereafter he began managing a skinny white rapper from Detroit. During his eight years as an Uppercut artist, Kid Rock sold over 14 million records, toured the world, sold out numerous arenas, got arrested a few times and was even nominated for a Grammy.
Uppercut clients include Better Than Ezra (V2/Artemis), June (Victory), All That Remains (Prosthetic), Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster (Ferret). In addition, Uppercut manages a small roster of songwriters, who collectively have written three No.1 singles in the last 12 months.
Lynda Moffet – Manager – Canada
Moffet Management is a personal/business management company located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They have been in business for over 20 years. Their expertise lies in the music industry especially in rock, pop and country.
Moffet Management currently represent See Spot Run, A Is A, and Orangeman.
Tommi Tuomainen – A&R/Manager/Publisher – Finland
Tommi Tuomainen is founder and Chairman for Elements Music, an independent Finnish record company, publisher and management.
Previously, Tommi used to head BMG Music Publishing in Finland where he was publisher for almost everything Finland has had to export, eg. Lordi, Bomfunk MC’s and Darude. Early in 2005 he founded Elements Music together with former BMG Publishing colleague Jani Jalonen.
Reviews on Another Day Down:
The intro guitar part sounds very average – I’ve heard that tone and riff a million times before. The vocal is ok, but not great. It would be more interesting if the vocalist displayed more range.
Sounds to me like they’ve been listening to a lot of American post-emo/hardcore bands. The world does not need any more of that. The production sounds like it’s trying to hit the radio and not offend anyone.
There’s nothing interesting about the song. There is no hit potential here. Where’s the chorus, for example?
I like ‘Blank’ a lot. It has great energy with a tight punchy sound. The catchy repetitive instrumental line does a great deal to establish the song. It reminds me of the Australian and New Zealand bands that came out in the New Wave era, but with an updated sound. Because of the Australian accent, I would have preferred to hear the vocal mixed up a little more for the North-American market. I couldn't catch all of the lyrics.
Visually, the band is good looking which should stand them in good stead. I find that their image could stand a revamp. The ‘I just got out of bed and don't care how I look’ look, is getting old already and could seem very dated by the time they have to support a push in North America.
I would think that a band with this much creativity should be able to establish an image that would help them stand out from the pack. From what videos were available, they seem to have strong showmanship. I was impressed by the high quality of their website and other promotional material.
I think that Another Day Down has a real shot at a successful career in recording. I would like to see them try for a stronger hook on vocals in future. I believe ‘Blank’ could chart but I don't see it as a chart topper because of the lack of strong vocal hook.
The intro riff, reminiscent of Van Halen (I feel very old saying so), is a nice hook. The verse keeps the song alive. But I’d recommend going to the chorus after the first verse. The song hits a break after verse one, I got disappointed by not being served a chorus right after. Instead I had to wait one minute twenty seconds to get there. And it’s a long time. Not a move commercially driven radio will appreciate.
Another Day Down is working a genre where you can expect fierce competition from big names and which is typically the playing field of major labels. So I think, at least in Finland, not many indie-labels would feel comfortable working with the project.
Being a fantastic live act is how to earn credits and one day get a big shot A&R’s interested. Or the faster track might be to go ahead and make bolder choices in songwriting, production and performing.
Reviews on Lifted Culture:
Song sounds a little too compressed. I like the different vocal approaches, but it might be a little too much. There is a good rhythm behind the song. It may be a little too eclectic with its combination of styles – while it keeps it interesting, it might benefit from being more focused.
I did find myself nodding my head along with the beat which is a good sign. But still, there is too much going on for it to be a hit. It needs some serious arrangement help but there are good things within. I’d like the production to be more focused and to sound a little less derivative.
The song would also benefit from some editing as it drags on at the end. I lost interest. Cut off the last 30 seconds and it’s pretty good.
‘Something 2 Say’ rides on a really strong rhythm and tops out with accomplished vocals. It has a catchy rhythmic hook. I think that the songwriting is strong. The song builds and resolves well. I feel that the allover sound is a little derivative (Lenny Kravitz et al).
There is not a lot of material available to evaluate the band's look and stage appeal. I feel that the website is poor and does little to promote the artist. The gimmicky intro does more to promote the web designer than it does the band. The pages that follow are a bit of a lunch bag let down. This site should be about the artist. More photos, press, videos, lyrics etc.
The contrast between the two brothers, IE one bald and covered up and the other with hair down to here and more skin, is interesting. I am not a fan of the brooding, intense posing in photos, especially for a band with the energy these two have.
I think that these artists have a chance if they concentrate on their strengths which are songwriting, rhythm and vocals. Their possibilities could be enhanced if they developed a more unique musical identity.
The song is Ok, I don’t mind listening to it. But that’s pretty much it, really. It’s easy to listen to and probably easy to forget. No surprises craving for my attention and no hooks to remember afterwards. After much repetition the chorus will probably stick to your head but then what? This kind of song would require a big-ass production which would probably still not be enough to seriously impress.
The biggest problem is the aggressiveness in the chorus vocals that doesn’t feel sincere. If you want to convince me you need the intensity of LL in ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ (can’t believe how old my references are today).
It would probably be of benefit to see the live performance to appreciate the qualities that have given this band slots to support Kelly Clarkson and Omarion. I just don’t feel the magic from the recording.
Reviews on Dikta:
Very good rock vocals. I like how they soar on the chorus. Good guitar line underneath the chorus as well. Reasonably hooky on the first listen which certainly helps with hit potential.
I like the composition a good deal - the different sections keep the song interesting. Production is good, it works very well with the song. I don’t think this song is a hit but it’s on the right path.
‘Breaking the Waves’ is a very pretentious recording. The arrangement, instrumentation and soaring vocal are way too much for the song which is not very good to start with. I find the production a little cheesy. All in all, I find the quality lacking in this offering.
I went to the website and at first found the format to be clever, but it quickly became annoying. The focus was on the site, rather than the band. The band has no image whatsoever, unless a bunch of guys on their lunch hour from the office is an image. An image would be a good idea, any image. On top of that, both their session and live photos are quite bad.
This band is a long way from where they should be, to have a shot. The first thing that they should pay attention to is quality control. If it isn't great don't show it off. They should work on their songwriting. They need to try and identify with modern sounds.
‘Breaking the Waves’ (what other title from a band signed to the same label with Björk) is a ready and mastered single and you can hear it. I must confess that I am a sucker for pathos. Pathos feels ever present in the melody but is it there in the lyric too?
This is a very well made piece of pop; it’s a song where melody, structure and production are done right. I think that’s why the song left me craving for some surprises, some cracks within that very neat and clean surface. Work on the personality thing.
Early in the song I felt unsure about the singer Haukur and if he will be able to deliver a vocal performance that gives life to the music. I was positively surprised by his performance though; towards the end the vocals became more and more intense and varying in colour.
Nothing comes for free (not even stardom), so my recommendation is to hit the road and build your fanbase and learn from the experience. I’m sure you can find a slot supporting a medium sized act somewhere.
Demos on review are chosen from the ones uploaded to the A&R Panel. To upload your songs, click here.
If you are a music industry professional that would like to participate in the demo reviews, please send us a message.
Previous Demo Reviews:Professional Demo Review - March 26, 2007
Artists: Amy Rachel (Pop/US) – Next Generation (Pop/US) – Blacklist (Pop/US)
Professionals: Ronald Soelkner – Songwriter/Producer – Austria – Henrik Kersten – Producer/Publisher – Germany - Frank Meyer – Producer – Germany
- “I think Amy Rachel has to work on a much clearer and original musical personality!”
- “I’m sure Next Generation will find a record deal. Great song and great production with a hooky arrangement!”
- “Rocker Baby sounds like a good European answer to the Pussycat Dolls.”
Professional Demo Review - June 6, 2006
Artists: Epic Hero (Pop/Rock/US) – Ropetree (Rock/US) – Blacklist (Rock/Ireland)
Professionals: Dale Penner – Producer – Canada - Charlie Peacock – Producer – US - Colin Richardson – Producer – UK
- “These guys have the sound that captures the College / Hot AC market these days”
- “Though this song is produced by Dan Wilson (Jason Mraz, Dixie Chicks), the mix suffers from a rare disorder - the passionate vocal is actually too loud.”
- “To play this kind of rock they will need to look cool and not be a bunch of old rockers.”
Professional Demo Review - May 1, 2006
Artists: Irina Lamb (Pop/Urban/Ukraine/US) – Julia Othmer (Pop/US) – DaNica (Pop/Urban/US)
Professionals: Allan Wells – Manager – US - George Samuelson – Producer – Sweden - Robyx a.k.a. Roberto Zanetti – Producer – Italy
- “This girl has an incredible voice. It's hard to tell that she is a blond, young and very beautiful artist!”
- “Industry types love to see that an artist is out there doing it for real.”
- “At the moment I hear too much of the Anastacias, Mariahs, and the plethora of Church singers around the world, and compared to them she will always risk looking pale as a developing artist.”
Professional Demo Review - March 13, 2006
Artists: Gang Of Roses (Urban/US) – Gio (Hip Hop/US) – Ken Fluid (Hip Hop/US)
Professionals: Jermaine Russ p.k.a. Mac G (Producer/US) – Spike Leroy (Producer/US) – Mughal (Producer/Canada)
- “This has hit written all over it!”
- “The bio is a story I’ve heard over and over and over again, same old blah, blah, blah… I’m just sick of rappers thinking they need to put out how bad they were, or how much dirt they did, or how many times they’ve been shot, etc.”
- “He's a nice looking guy, so the ladies would like to buy a magazine that features him, or a nice poster, so he shouldn't have a problem there. He's definitely marketable.”
Professional Demo Review - Jan 16, 2006
Artists: No Silence (Pop/UK – Junk TV (Pop/UK) – Lesley Roy (Pop/Ireland)
Professionals: Gary Cooper (Manager/A&R Consultant/Germany) – David Coulommiers (Producer/France) – Stani Djukanovic (Producer/Germany)
- “She can offer any label a first class artist!”
- “I don’t think the heavier guitars help the song, and they’re certainly too dominant for her vocals.”
- “From the spine-tingling introduction to the huge chorus drop, ‘There’ll Be Angels’ begs the listener to reach for the volume, and is a flawless example of savvy production quality and awesome songwriting.”
Professional Demo Review - Sep 19, 2005
Artists: Melange Edinburgh (Rap/USA) – Kareem (R&B/USA) – Bristh (R&B/USA)
Professionals: Yann Rouiller (Producer/Switzerland) – Prince Valium (Producer/Denmark) – Andrew Lane (Producer/USA)
- “In her case the visual presentation is what can decide whether she gets signed or not.”
- “Kareem has real potential. The fact that he is (almost) self-contained will make his path a lot easier.”
- “The brass parts are really bad and should be played for real instead of the awful sounding programming, and the pitch instrumental parts are a mess and should be deleted or not pitched at all.”
Professional Demo Review - Aug 8, 2005
Artists: Anne Judith (Pop/Norway) – Mooli (Pop/UK) – TonDalaya (R&B/USA)
Professionals: Michael Puskas (A&R/Australia) – Robert Uhlmann (Producer/Sweden) – O-Jay (Producer/Germany)
- “The track has a great commercial hook that drives it straight to the radio.”
- “This song came across as a cliché on top of a cliché.”
- “I love this track - the lo-fi drums, nice string arrangements and bubbling sounds give it a very nice atmosphere.”
Professional Demo Review – Jul 4, 2005
Artists: Exkzile (Rap/USA) – Hazel (Rap/USA) – T.U. Savant (Rap/USA)
Professionals: Steve “Blast” Wills (Producer/USA) – Gabo (TV producer/USA) – Mughal (Producer/Canada)
- “She has good potential to be signed by a record label!”
- “He needs a photographer to frame him for industry appreciation.”
- “Please quit while you’re ahead. This ain’t going anywhere!”
Professional Demo Review – Apr 18, 2005
Artists: Mis Marie (Rap/Denmark) – Vladimir Vasileski Cetkar (Pop/USA) – Penny Foster (Pop/UK)
Professionals: Lotte Aagaard (Publisher/Denmark) – Leo Chantzaras (Producer/Germany) – Robert Waterman (A&R/UK)
- “A very catchy song with potential! I like it!”
- “He is a good singer but should try losing the accent.”
- “I would suggest she looked closely at herself and ask, ‘why me? What's special about me?”
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