Friday, August 20, 2010

How Did That Get In?

“We sent the perfect EPK!” “Our music is professional quality.” “My submission wasn't even heard.” “Why are you stealing artists’ money?” “Only industry insiders are considered.” ...And on and on tumble rejected festival hopefuls complaints.

We hear ya! No, really, we heard you!

We listen to every artist's submission, some too much. Thieves? If we omitted a fee, inviting all applications, the ballooned entries would guarantee bands were wasting time putting packages together. No argument on the mint press kit, but where's the press? Surely, glossy paper & warm font can't impress a shoe gazing crowd. To the vein of the sonic bliss being profound, why is the band history void of notable gigs? While it is favourable to be chummy, it doesn't pay off if the music doesn't back it.

Applicants judge their music against self-fabricated ghost competition and obviously champion themselves. But objective outsiders weighing it against 1,600 other 'sure things' often express different emotions. The axe of rejection generally falls on poor recordings, conflicting sound for the festival, mundane performances, mainstream fodder and not being able to decipher instruments from noise. Sadly, denials sometimes also prey on solid submissions, as there just isn't enough slots/venues to fill all appetites. With no real consolation to keep musicians from strumming away frustrated, bitter and jaded; remember, it's just our opinion.

Asking the POP listening session jury for the prescribed equation to getting thumbs of approval brings a predominately mute response, maybe the overused, but underplayed: uniqueness. If one wanted to hear Spencer Krug, why take on a Sunset Rubdown sequel instead? Fortunately not all clocks tick on the same time, foreign watches are worn by the challenging & unrecognized. Herein lie the emerging gems, wading through all the muffled sound, and rising to the top. From this years POP Montreal listening sessions, the refreshing acts deserving ascension and your ears are: the creeping fog blanket of Cousins (Club Lambi, Wed.), weirdo eccentricity of Gobble Gobble (Espace Reunion, Sun.), Byrne meets Krug with hometown Cotton Mouth (Casa, Fri.), and the sweat stained dance-ability of Chicago's Coltrane Motion (Club Lambi, Wed.).

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