Monday, December 31, 2007


As 2007 comes to a close, we’d like to take some time to highlight some of the artists we’ve written about in this first year of the TALENTfilter blog. A handful of acts have made great strides and we’d like to congratulate them for their hard work. The main goal of this blog has been to help label and publishing execs find new talent to work with. To 'filter' through all the clutter and present the cream of the crop. Yes, in certain months we’ve strayed from the path and wrote about industry goings-on, but you have to admit, it’s been a wild year and some things just HAD to get reported.

We feel we do a pr
etty darned good job getting you the early scoop on things – if you’ve got any suggestions as to how we can make the blog better, though, we’d love to hear from you! E-mail us with ideas or thoughts – we’ll hit ya back for sure. Anyway, have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Team TALENTfilter

In February 2007 we featured the L.A.-based hard rock act Five Finger Death Punch. At the time, they were unsigned and unpublished, with no major management. The group was eventually approached by The Firm, and a profit-sharing label/management deal was struck. On the first week of its release, the group’s debut The Way Of The Fist LP landed on the Billboard 200 chart, while the first single, “The Bleeding” became the Most Added record to rock/metal radio in the U.S. A couple of weeks later, the album claimed the Number One spot on Billboard's New Artists chart. The Way Of The Fist has ‘Scanned over 50,000 copies since its rele ase, and “The Bleeding” is currently #15 with a bullet on the Active Rock chart.

In March we did a piece about an unsigned singer/songwriter from Brighton, England named Kate Walsh who we’d accidentally (but happily!) seen perform a daytime two-song set at a SXSW party in Austin. In March, she put her self-recorded Tim’s House album on sale through iTunes UK, and the folks at iTunes featured her song “Talk Of the Town” as a “Free Single Of the Week.” This exposure helped Tim’s House rocket to the top of the iTunes UK Top 100 Albums chart (knocking Amy Winehouse from the top spot!), and THEN the major labels came a’sniffin. Kate did a deal with UMG’s Mercury Records, and sales to date have exceeded 35,000 copies. Verve Music Group will release Tim’s House in the U.S. on January 29 (catch her perform on Conan O'Brien on 1/28). Click here for a 12/28 story about Kate (looks like someone at Billboard has been readi ng the ol’ TALENTfilter blog – their January 5, 2008 feature mentions a BUNCH of artists we’ve tipped you to).

Also in March, we featured the then-unsigned, un-managed L.A. chanteuse Jessie Baylin. We were admittedly a bit late-to-feature Ms. Baylin, whom we’d become fans of WAY before March, but these things happen. EVERY label wanted to do a recording deal – and Jessie resisted. Finally, after a few successful tours, Jessie put together a deal with Verve Forecast and secured management. In November she headed to Nashville and began recording what will be her debut full-length. According to management, she’s working with producer Roger Moutenot (Rogue Wave, Yo La Tengo) and has more than a few A-list players on board lending their skills. Jessie is taking some time over the holidays to travel in Australia, but we look forward to hearing the outcome of her Nashville sessions!

In May, we tipped you to the then unsigned, unpublished Staten Island singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. If you’re in the film/TV music supervision world, you were more than likely already very familiar with Michaelson, as her songs had been featured in shows including "Grey’s Anatomy", "One Tree Hill", "The Real World: Denver", "The Bad Girls' Club" and a Canadian Chevy TV ad. If you program specialty radio in the U.S., you may have known about her, too. Her album, Girls & Boys, was digitally self-released in 2006, but over the summer, Ingrid put together a very creative deal with Original Signal Records – they (and RED Distribution) did a physical release of Girls & Boys in September, with Michaelson retaining ownership of her masters (and publishing). Since then, more key TV placements have come (including the HUGE Old Navy campaign), a great radio story building (#6 at AAA, #20 at Hot A/C), VH1 “You Oughta Know” status, a "Last Call with Carson Daly" performance, press up the wazoo, and sold-out shows across the country. To date, Girls & Boys has reached #2 on the iTunes Pop chart and has ‘Scanned approx. 70,000 copies.

June brought a bit of an industry buzz regarding Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Brendan James. James, who had been signed to Capitol but dropped when the label merged with Virgin, recorded some FANTASTIC new material with the advance money he’d walked away with. He placed an EP on sale at iTunes and has sold over 26,000 singles, also reaching #11 on the iTunes Alternative chart. After numerous label discussions, Brendan recently decided to sign a profit-sharing deal with Universal/Decca. A May 2008 release date is set for his full-length, which will be titled The Day Is Brave. “Green” (our favorite track) will be the first single. Brendan is still available for worldwide publishing, but not for long.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Jan 3 -- Airborne Toxic Event -- Spaceland
Jan 4 -- You Me & Iowa -- Spaceland
Jan 9 -- Meiko, Buddy -- Hotel Cafe
Jan 10 -- Dynamite Walls -- Knitting Factory
Jan 14 -- Linda Strawberry -- Viper Room
Jan 14 -- Matthew Moon -- Hotel Cafe
Jan 17 -- Lissie -- Troubadour
Jan 18 -- Brian Wright & The Waco Tragedies -- Hotel Cafe
Jan 18 -- Building A Better Spaceship -- The Roxy
Jan 20 -- Jeremy Enigk -- Troubadour
Jan 24 -- Ingrid Michaelson -- Troubadour
Jan 26 -- Miranda Lee Richards -- Troubadour

Monday, December 17, 2007

POPPY CHICKY SIGNINGS -- Universal/Republic has signed pop-country singer Shannon Nicole . They've kicked ass with Colbie Caillat (and of course Amy Winehouse), let's see if they repeat in '08! Also on the label is new/developing artist Schuyler Fisk (check her out at one of her Hotel Café residency dates in January)…

Los Angeles popster Mandi Perkins has inked a deal with Sony/BMG... Her record will be released through a new label venture being spearheaded by Fred Ehrlich, John Ingrassia and Charlie Walk. Larry Hamby will handle A&R duties.

Lots and lots of female artists are bubbling under the radar on both sides of the Atlantic -- Epic Records is currently working Sara Bareilles… Original Signal/RED is kicking butt with Ingrid Michaelson... Jive signing Lesley Roy has been busy readying her debut album, titled Silently Screaming (the first single will reportedly be "Psycho Bitch")…Blue Note has had Priscilla Ahn in the studio for the past six months (?!?) recording her debut full-length…MySpace Records is currently working Kate Voegele...

Across the pond, keep an eye out for Adele, Duffy, Robyn, the continued success of Kate Nash, Scottish singer/songwriter Amy MacDonald, chicky folksters Laura Marling, Kate Walsh and Emmy The Great.

(***Editor's Note: Adele and Amy MacDonald have JUST been added into A-list rotation on BBC Radio 2. BOO YAA!***)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

METAL SIGNINGS -- Atlanta band Steadlür have signed with Roadrunner...Dallas rockers Broadcast Sea has signed with indie Pluto Records (they've also got Divide The Day and Horse The Band on the roster)... Tampa, Florida's Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky (swear to God, that's the band name) have signed with Nuclear Blast... Ferret Music has signed San Diego's Lower Definition... Strong Island's Stray From The Path have signed to Sumerian Records.

Friday, December 14, 2007


From All Access: While there is no official comment on a staff downsizing at INTERSCOPE and GEFFEN RECORDS, or the rumors of a combined promotion staff for both labels, it was a very tough day for everyone. ALL ACCESS has been able to confirm that a number of folks have left the labels.

On the INTERSCOPE side:

Nat'l AC & Hot AC Promo Dir. SCOTT EMERSON leaves after nearly 15 years. Reach him at home at (818) 762-8826 or the cell at (310) 403-4529, or

CHARLOTTE-based CAROLINA's promo veteran of 18 years JAY LEWIS. Find him at home at (843) 921-1247 or

Tour Marketing exec JENN FEDERICI.

On the GEFFEN side:

Nat'l AC & Hot AC Promo Dir. DARA KRAVITZ is leaving after 8 years. DARA is at or (917) 554-2468.

NEW YORK-based promotion rep JIMMY FAY. He's available at (917) 721-0243.

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON veteran DAN WATSON who moves on after 7 years. Get to him at (240) 988-1946 or

SOUTHEAST Rep BEBOP HOBEL exits after 8 years. Get to BEBOP on the cell at (678) 464-2532 or home at (404) 874-0368, via email at,,

Also out at Interscope is longtime A&R guru Mark Williams.

Monday, December 10, 2007

WHOA! WE'RE NOMINATED FOR A MUSIC BLOG AWARD! Lookie! We've been nominated for a Music Blog Award by the readers of music biz blog (we're nominated in the Best Music Discovery Blog category). Voting begins on Tuesday 12/11 through 12/19. Check it out (and fer fuckssake - vote for us!) at
(KINDA) ABRIDGED REVIEW OF (SOME) TRANSMISSION CONFERENCE ARTIST SHOWCASES -- No reason to get TOO wordy here -- how 'bout we just describe what we saw the way we'd explain it to our A.D.D.-riddled friends (ie: you!) -- Apostle Of Hustle - Cool show...guy from Broken Social Scene and some friends apparently got the Latin percussion bug at some point whilst away from the Great White North...not much more than a quirky little side project from some quirky little artists...we're sure them's fightin' words to some die-hard Canuck fans, but honestly -- not much mass-appeal goin' on here. Attack In Black - Missed 'em. Clare Bowditch - Australian chick who couldn't handle the fact that some drunken conference-goers were talking while she was playing. Boo hoo. Her songs are rad, though, and perfect for film/TV sync licensing. Live show left us WAY un-impressed, but the tunes rule. Signed to EMI in AU...not sure about the rest of the world. Dan Mangan - We're big fans of Dan. Mellow, and there are certainly a shit-ton of 'old-soul' male singer/songwriters out there, but Dan has great songs, he's a good guy, and he'd work his ass off if a label would back his play. Die Mannequin - Whoa. So, we got to the venue a little late, walked to the bar for some drinks, and before we knew it, Care Failure (sexy female vocalist/guitarist) ran from the stage, jumped onto the bar (foliding tables) and kicked cups and Jack Daniels bottles all over the floor. One of the very few RAWK moments of this kinda-uptight Canadian conference. Didn't even realize there were some dudes still onstage playing with her. This chick is a rock star. they need to get outta Canada (with the greatest respect, of course, to our friends up North). Eleni Mandell - Meh...not much to say here. Hayley Sales - She's sexy, but that's about it. Les Breastfeeders - Missed 'em. Sorry. Meiko - She rules. We've written about her a million times. 'Nuff said. Mother Mother - Gotta say -- this group REALLY impressed us. If the B-52's were in their 20's and were doing their best Tegan & Sara imitation, they'd sound close to Mother Mother. Or...if the Dixie Chicks were into quirky indie rock (and from Canada) and had their femme older cousin as the 'frontman' get the idea. We think there's something here but they've signed a worldwide deal with Last Gang Records (???) so we wish 'em luck. Patrick Watson - WHOA. We're gonna drop a couple names here, but don't immediately guffaw, ok? Wow we just typed 'guffaw'. This guy is Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley squished into one. Fuckin' A. Someone please steal him from Secret City Records (what tha?!?) SICK live show. Head ana shsoulders above almost everyone else. Meiko was better, but we dig chicks. Plants And Animals - Eh...a little too 'indie' for us. Pride Tiger - Good RAWK. They like Thin Lizzy a LOT. Corrosion of Conformity too. Signed to EMI Canada. Hopefully they build up enough of a story to have one of the EMI labels pick 'em up Stateside. Did we mention they like Thin Lizzy? Like...a LOT?? Rubik - Talented young Finnish band -- singer has a WICKED voice, but their songs aren't really well-structured. Shout out out out out - Missed em. Mainly 'cuz a bunch of Canadian hipsters were running around asking if anyone was 'staying for Shoot oot oot oot oot'. Smoosh - Aww! We've seen these girls before, but now the 13 year-old drummer Chloe and 15 year-old singer/keyboardist Asya has their 11 year-old sister on bass! SO CUTE! For ten minutes. Then we did shots. Sweet Thing - This new EMI Canada signing could potentially have worldwide success. Imagine if Ryan Seacrest's twin brother sang Mika songs with Robbie Williams' backing band. We DARE ya not to dance. The Acorn - Missed 'em.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

AXE FALLS AT COLUMBIA RECORDS -- Lots of folks in artist development, tour marketing and publicity were let go at Columbia Records on Friday. VP Rock/Alternative Promotion JJ Grossman is also out. This does NOT bode well for 2008 Columbia releases from AC/DC and Aerosmith, follow-up singles from Bruce Springsteen and Coheed & Cambria, and new projects including The Coral, Pat Monahan (from Train), Absentstar, MGMT, Luna Halo, Soulsavers and Manchester Orchestra (among others). Anyway, we wish everyone lots of luck finding new gigs (we wish the BANDS luck, too).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A&R CUTS AT ISLAND/IDJMG - According to some postings on the Velvet Rope, Island/IDJMG U.S. has cut some folks (and their hefty salaries) from the staff -- Rob Stevenson and his whole Stolen Transmission label (& staff), Paul Pontius, and Greg Thompson are all out. Yikes. Merry X-Mas, guys. While the money Island is saving on paying these guys could get Third World countries out of debt, layoffs before the holidays blow.

Rumors of SonyBMG and Universal also going through big cuts in January, right after what will more than likely be a shite holiday season for music sales. Ho Ho Ho!