Bleu is back! He has teamed up with Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers to form the brilliant and hilarious new band The Major Labels. The name of the album is Aquavia and it’s a concept record mocking the music biz…What’s not to love?! This isn’t just a novelty act though and it definitely sounds like more than just a side project, it’s a great album full of hooky melodic power pop. If you like Bleu, The Candy Butchers or a Jellyfish type sound you should love this one. Lyrically it’s nothing short of biting sarcastic genius. If you’ve ever had any dealings in the music industry, as an artist or in any other capacity, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry. It’s all good though and musically rewarding too. My favorite tracks are “Don’t Hear a Single” and “Velveteen Queen.”
Another huge surprise is the return of Sixpence None The Richer. I saw them this past March at SXSW and not only have they reunited, but they have a renewed energy and a brand new studio EP called My Dear Machine. It’s easily the best thing they’ve ever done. Matt’s guitar is lively and Leigh’s voice blends perfectly with the sound… This is more than just a return to form. The title track is probably my favorite Sixpence song ever, complete with a plethora of cool guitars and horns. They also have a new Christmas album coming out later this year.
The real discovery here isn’t just these two great new projects but the website where I found them called NoiseTrade (www.noisetrade.com). It’s a ‘pay-what-you-want’ site, so you can pay anything from $1 to $25 for the DRM free high quality MP3 downloads, or you can get the download for free if you refer 3 friend’s emails. I don’t really think spamming friends is the best way to get free music, but overall this is a great concept for a music site and almost every album they have up so far (about 30) is very good…some fall into that singer-songwriter category but all are great artists. You can listen to samples of each song there as well. If you know me or have read my past posts and reviews you know I’m not big on downloading over physical product (which is why I’m glad you can get The Major Labels CD through their MySpace page www.myspace.com/themajorlabels) but this NoiseTrade site is great to use and I like the pay-what-you-want option as well as the artists that it features. Check it out: www.noisetrade.com