Thursday, June 20, 2013

Linzi Stoppard, Violinist (Linzi Stoppard & FUSE Review)


Welcome back, everyone. It is an honor to say that today I will be doing a review/presentation of the one and only - the beautiful, talented, and thrilling - Linzi Stoppard

If you've never heard of her, you don't know what you're missing. 


Forget everything you've ever thought about the violin - and it's players. It's no longer for just for classical music, or little, old men. Linzi Stoppard revolutionizes the instrument. 

Linzi Stoppard is one half of the internationally-known duo FUSE, the first electric violin artists to sign with a major recording company. Linzi and Ben Lee have performed all over the world together, dazzling audiences with their unique string sounds. They also have their own line of Swarovski Crystal Violins, valued at over $1 million dollars. 
The duo seeks to show the world that the electric violin can be just as versatile as the electric guitar. They have certainly done a good job proving it so far!


Linzi herself has been playing classical violin since she was four years old, and was taught at the Suzuki Violin School. She can also play the piano and clarinet. 

Her musical success began in her teens, when she was spotted by two music producers. This led to her eventually adopting a more contemporary sound. She collaborated with a variety of artists, adding her own unique sound to various mixes. She forged a successful solo career for a couple of years before meeting up with Ben Lee. 


Linzi's virtuosity, versatility, and energy have made her a violin superstar. FUSE has already collaborated with others in the rock world, such as Francis Rossi, and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. They have a long list of various achievements to add to their musical resume that would dazzle anyone. 

FUSE's YouTube videos have been viewed by millions, as well as their live TV shows. 

It's important to note that Linzi has also landed her first Hollywood feature film role in, "White Rose", with FUSE playing most of the soundtrack. 


FUSE's sound is original and captivating. Their style is incredible. They are exactly what the 21st century musical culture needs. 

Their style is mildly reminiscent of a contemporary string quartet, Bond, though FUSE stands out by fact of electric instrumental use alone. 
One can hear the classical roots, though quite a few styles have seemed to sneak their way into the unique sound made by FUSE. 

Take the following video, for example...


Being a violinist myself, I simply can't get enough of these new sound. 

If you love strings, check out FUSE, and/or Linzi Stoppard. You can order their album on iTunes, Amazon and more - if you like what you hear. 

Also, make sure to look them up on YouTube, and find out when FUSE is coming to a city near you!

Another semester drawing to an end

Well, another semester is drawing to an end. 

If anyone wonders just WHY I have been missing for an extended period of time, I've been back and forth between playing working girl, and playing student. 

As many of you know, I am a student at Berklee College of Music. The previous/current semester is drawing to an end. Beginning July 1st, I will be taking summer courses. No taking time off this year. 

Here goes nothing...

(As always, I'd recommend Berklee to anyone! Incredible school, incredible teachers, incredible material!) 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Earshow review

Hello, everyone. 

Today I will be doing a review Earshow, a rock band from Indiana. Check out their music here, and be sure to enjoy the review!

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"Earshow originally formed in 2002, with their first release “Monument” coming the following year. The guys have been friends for decades, forming many different bands before and during the current project. No shortage of solo or side projects, creating has never been a problem, its always been about the songs. The band has amassed a huge backlog of material and hope to keep making magic in the studio, playing live and balancing their day to day lives."


Earshow is a rock band from Floyds Knobs, Indiana. They are made up of four members:

Todd Fonda – Lead and Backing Vocals/Piano/Synth/Acoustic Guitar/Harmonica
Brad Thorn – Guitars – Electric and Acoustic, Lead and Backing Vocals
Rob Dupaquier – Bass/Backing Vocals
Sam Gray – Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals


They were founded in 2002, and are with Otis Records. 


Earshow has recently released a new album, entitled 'Stop the Night', including tracks such as 'Standing', 'Stop the Night', 'Never Again', and more. Each track is recorded with excellent musicianship  stellar vocals, and energetic, incredible performance. 


The variety within the instrumental selection, the craftsmanship of the lyrics, and the need to dance along are also definitely worth mentioning, as well. They're like listening to a familiar old friend, combined with curiosity, and sheer entertainment. 

Besides studio recording, the band also puts on an incredible live show. They plan to be adding tour dates for 2013 soon to their website. 

Check out Earshow today!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Arenas music review

MissTainted here with another artist review. 

Today, I will be reviewing the music of Arenas, a hip-hop artist from Northern California. 

Check out Arenas here, and be sure to enjoy the review!

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"Arenas is a Bay Area native, currently residing in the suburbs of Sacramento. From humble beginnings at an Oakland-based indie label in 2007, to west coast music pioneer Mr. Sef's 'Go Get It Records' imprint, Arenas has been working to shape his sound."

Arenas is a hip-hop artist from Northern California, with Go Get It Records. His current record is, "ORBIT: The Rotation". Orbit is available for free, and is all original content - most of which has been produced by Arenas himself.


Arenas has been collaborating with some great artists from the bay area, such as Du Damage, Mr. Sef, Damey, and more.

Arenas' music is high quality, speaking of terms in production, performance, and lyrical quality. His voice is clear. His vocal energy and lyrical flow are both what makes him a talented, unforgettable artist.


The consistency of Arenas music rivals major label artists, and anyone could see that he's going places. Unlike many indie hip-hop artists - his voice and message come through loud and clear. The vocal annotation and pronunciation certainly doesn't fall short.

His songs are catchy, and a worthy addition to any hip-hip lover's collection.

Get 'ORBIT: The Rotation' here today. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Artist review of System Fade

Hello, everyone - MissTainted back with another music review. 

Today, I'll be reviewing the music of System Fade, an electronic music producer from Port Richey, Florida. Enjoy the review, and be sure to check out the music of System Fade here

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'System Fade can be described as a mix of chillout electronica combined with elements of dance wrapped in an ethereal vibe.'

As stated before, System Fade (Justin Beck) is an electronic music producer from Port Richey, Florida. System Fade is independent - without a label. He lists his influences as Skrillex, Deadmau5, Seven Lions, and The Glitch Mob. 


System Fade's most recent project is recently released 'Departure'. While I'll mostly focus on that in the review, I will mention other music by System Fade. My favourite song from this artist (which I've already listened to four or five times now) has to be 'Initial Exposure', from 'Spiral'. I can't get enough of the use of strings on this song. 



A few of the songs from 'Departure' are 'Diamond', 'Departure', 'Coward', and 'Curtains'. The songs feature a vocalist - Veela. In 'Departure', System Fade stays true to an electronic, abstract, chill style with powerful, mind-blowing beats, while also focusing on the use of a consistent vocalist. The creative ways in which he has manipulated and used her vocals in 'Departure' are nothing short of a stroke of genius. The dub-step sounds blended into the songs of 'Departure' make for a great and unique sound. As a string player, I also can't help but love the particular string sections on 'Curtains' and 'Diamond'. 

The music of System Fade is steady, consistent, creative, fulfilling to the ear drums, curious, and marvelously well-crafted. This is production skill at it's finest here. 

System Fade is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future. Check out the music here!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review of True Holland

Hello, guys. MissTainted back, and I'm here to bring you some more great, new music. 

Today, I will be reviewing the music of True Holland, a pop rock band from Seattle, Washington. Check out their music here, and check out the review below! 

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'What we promise is rock in it's truest form, as hard as we possible can. Long live the dawn of modern music. We'll see you at the start.'


True Holland is a pop rock band from Seattle, Washington. They are made up of:

Brandon Eisenbies - Vocals & guitar
Justin McDonald - Bass
Dan Bach - Drums
Dave Orton - Guitar

True Holland formed in 2010, in Gig Harbor, WA. After teaming up with producer Casey Bates, the band released an EP in 2011, and then began touring nonstop. Because of this, they have developed a loyal fanbase. They pride themselves in playing an all-original set and not playing covers. They also hope to release new material in the upcoming year. 

Upon first listen to the band - and watching the extremely professional music video for 'Heavy' - I am surprised I do not hear them everywhere. 

Their sounds are of the highest quality - production-wise speaking, of course. It's always great to see a band put together an album of music that is not just crafted professionally, but recorded professionally, giving a better sound to what is already great. 

The vocals of Brandon Eisenbies are clear, and he does a great job at bringing the lyrics to life. The lyrics and tunes are quite catchy, though not annoyingly so. 

The musicians of True Holland certainly know what they're doing. The musicians almost seem to play flawlessly, true professionals at what they do. They rock, simply put. They rock. Their sound will reel you in, and keep you begging for more. You will break the replay button. 

Though they rock out hard, not hard enough to lose people, their message, and their meaning in the shuffle. 

Check out True Holland today!

Review of Soul Sanctuary

Hello, everyone. MissTainted back with another artist review today. 

Today, I will be reviewing the music of Soul Sanctuary, a 6 piece heavy metal/metalcore band from the UK. Click here to check them out, and enjoy the review!

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Soul Sanctuary is a 6-piece heavy metal/metalcore band from the UK. The band is made up of:

Luke Gibson - Vocals/production
Micheal Burrough - Vocals
Edward Stevens - Guitar
Anthony Montague - Guitar
Jamie Hicks - Drums
Paul Gooding - Bass

Founded in 2008, Soul Sanctuary has made an impact in the musical world from the beginning. They have been heavily influenced by bands such as Pantera, Bullet for my Valentine, Linkin Park, Slipknot, and more similar. Being a big BFMV fan myself, I can certainly hear that influence. 

Their debut album 'Afterlife' was released Halloween of 2009. The band self-produces and even releases on their own label, Forsaken Memory Records

In 2011, they followed up with the single 'Lest We Forget', in an effort to raise money for the victims of the Earthquake that struck Japan. The band has consistently supported charities and helped out. 

They are working tirelessly on an upcoming release - I have no doubt it will be completely awesome - and utterly addictive!


Not only is the music of Soul Sanctuary professional sounding (as in professionally recorded with a clean and clear, high quality sound), but the songs themselves are crafted with a high level of music skill. It's easy to tell from one listen that these guys are gifted at what they do. 

The music of Soul Sanctuary can rock out side by side against any of the metal/rock legends that I know of. 

These tunes make you want to turn the volume up and listen over and over and over. At present moment, I am on my third listen through, 'Heart Attack'! Everything about the band and their music keeps you pressing that repeat button. Their energy. Their lyrics. Their style. And not everyone can scream that well, either! A good scream is highly pleasant on the metal lover's ears. 

Check out the music of Soul Sanctuary today. You certainly won't regret it. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review of FreePeople

Hello everyone - MissTainted back with another review. 

Today, I will be reviewing the music of FreePeople - a Hip-hop/R&B/Rock group from Orange County, California. 

Check out their music here - and enjoy the review below!

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'In It To Win It'

The group FreePeople is made up of members Jeremy Nelson (drummer, vocals, lyrics, production), Nhoj Solares (keys, vocals lyrics) and Tim Fiddes (bass, guitar, keys, production). They are from Orange County, California. The band originally had a fourth member - Vic Gardenhire - who left the group in 2012. 

The group is with HustleHard Music & Entertainment Worldwide Records, Inc. 

With a unique blend of instruments, music, and lyrics - FreePeople certainly grooves to the beat of their own drummer. 

Their music itself is obviously recorded in a professional setting. Quality wise, their sounds could compete with the best of the best. The appropriate and talented use of auto-tune can be heard - and you certainly won't hear auto-tune in low quality productions!

The lyrics are clearly communicated by the vocals. FreePeople has a contagious energy, and conveys an array of emotions (depending on the song! Which is good). If you want to be impacted - check out the music of FreePeople today, here

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review of The Danbury Lie

Hello, everyone - MissTainted back with another music review!

Today, I'll be reviewing the music of The Danbury Lie, an artist from Connecticut. Hope you enjoy the review, and make sure to go check out the artist!

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'The lie is in the label'

The Danbury Lie is an alternative artist from Connecticut, USA. Though there are multiple albums in the discography for The Danbury Lie, I will be primarily focusing on the music of the March 2013 release '?'

? has seven tracks in all:
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-Witches
-In The Rain
-Last Day 
-Elm Street
-The Final Thread
-Onward
-In Time
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? will make you think. This album will make you close your eyes to take it all in. The ears are filled with mystery, wonder, and chaos. The senses are tickled. The brain is delighted. The alternative folk sounds meet creative, abstract and meaningful lyrics in a modern blend.

From experimental, to folk, to alternative - it's hard to find one genre that pins down the music of the The Danbury Lie. That, however, is one of the things that makes them so unique, so captivating, and unforgettable. You won't pull your headphones out for this album - promise. 

The lyrics are clear and easy to understand. The musicianship is well-done, and the production sounds to be high quality. The guitars are the most spotlighted instrument on this album, and are played clearly, professionally and with skill. The guitar riffs are pleasant on the ears, and fit well around the lyrics.

From beginning to end, the music of ? intrigues, plays into your head, and has you refuse to put the headphones down. 

Make sure to go check it out, now - here

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review of The Mascot Theory

Hello, everyone - MissTaintedLove back with another music review. 

Today, I will be reviewing the music of 'The Mascot Theory', an alternative country-rock band from Madison, Wisconsin. I will mainly be reviewing the music from their debut album, 'Under the Borrowed Moon'. 

Check them out here, and enjoy the review!

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"The music of Mascot Theory has been called 'a full-fat, high-energy dose of Americana-tinged, folk-country rock'" - From the band's Facebook page

The Mascot Theory is a country/rock and roll band from Madison, Wisconsin, and they are signed with Stone After Stone Records. The band is made up of:

Erik Kjelland - vocals, acoustic guitar, banjitar
Nick Fry - upright bass, vocals
Adam White - vocals, electric guitar
Paul Metz - drums, percussion, vocals

Their jams, rhythms, and riffs are mostly deliciously country. Their attitude is rocking, edgy, with a story to tell and something to say. From the slower storytale, 'Time to Move on' to the rockin', toe-tappin' 'Asphodel Meadows' to the totally rockin' out 'Like Babel Coming Down- every song is made to move you. Every tune is crafted to the tune of someone's feelings, and the lyrics are meant to say so much. 

The musicianship of every piece is professionally done, and all songs are professionally recorded. The vocals are clear, crisp, and forefront. The production is flawless. 


Don't just take my word for it - go and check out The Mascot Theory right now! You certainly will not regret it, and your ear drums will thank you. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Interview with Ivan Mihaljevic

Hello everyone - I have a treat for you, today!

Remember when I review the music of Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects? (link here)

Today, I have got an interview with the frontman of the band. CHECK IT OUT BELOW, and check out the music of Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects. You won't regret it - promise

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What member of the band am I talking to?
Hello, Ivan Mihaljevic (guitar, vocals) here.

Who are the band members, and what do they each play?
Alen Frljak is playing drums and singing backing vocals. Marko Karacic Karo is playing bass guitar and singing backing vocals and I'm on guitar and lead vocals.


How did the band come together?
I recorded the first album Sandcastle by myself (as my solo album) in 2008. Then I got some gig offers, so I needed to find a band to play the material with. I've known Alen (drummer) and Majkl (our ex-bass player) for a while and they were very happy to join the band. Last year we had the first line-up change so far. We had to split with Majkl since he was drowning [with] family and job commitments, so we invited Marko Karacic Karo to the band. Alen and I have known him for a long time and he's a killer bass player, so we decided he's the right choice for us.

Your band's name - how did that come about?
I recorded the first album Sandcastle on my own (without a band) in 2008 and it was released under my name (Ivan Mihaljevic). After the album was released, I needed a band to play those songs with live. So we formed Side Effects. We wanted people to know that it's a continuation of that same project, so the second album was released under the name Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects. For the third album, we actually wanted to change the name and leave only the band name, but our friends and record label strongly advised us not to do so because we got a lot of publicity under the current name, so the name stayed.



What do you feel sets you guys apart from the crowd?
I don't know. We don't think in terms of setting ourselves apart from the others. We just do what we love with all of our passion and hopefully others can feel it and connect with us.

If you could describe the band and your music in five words, what would they be?
Passionate, eclectic, progressive, meaningful, technical.
At least that's our goal! :)

What is the inspiration for your music?
Anything. There is no exact formula. Sometimes it can be an event, sometimes it can be a book I read, a movie or a piece of music. Anything that can move me emotionally is a possible inspiration.

Have you guys ever worked with any other notable musicians, or on any other projects/collaborations?
We're all workaholics and always work on a bunch of projects at the same time. We've opened for Richie Kotzen a couple of times, for Paul Gilbert once, Brett Garsed and Phil Hilborne were guests on our last album, I've played live on stage as a guest with Les Paul in New York...




How were you first introduced to music in your life?
Well, we're all surrounded by music and we listen to it every day whether we like it or not. I've always loved music. The idea of playing an instrument was heating up for a couple of years until it reached the boiling point and then I just had to pick up an instrument and there was no way back.

At what point in your life was the defining moment that made you realize what you wanted to do, as a musician?
I think it was at about age 16. I remember sitting down with my parents and telling them that I wanted to be a professional musician. I thought they wouldn't take it too well, but they were actually OK with it and they always support me.

What do you feel is the best piece of music you've created? Why do you choose this one?
That's always a very hard question. I don't have a favorite piece of music, but there is one that I'm the most proud of. It's the song Eclipse from our new album Counterclockwise. It was very challenging to make such a long song with so many different parts sound interesting and cohesive. I think we did a great job and that's why I'm very proud of that song.

Tell us about your current album? What sets this project apart from the others you've done before?
Counterclockwise is a concept album which is something we've never done before. On the previous albums we usually had a lot of instrumental tracks and for this album we decided to cut down on the amount of instumentals and make songs longer with extended instrumental sections in the vocal songs instead.


Where do you see yourself and the band five years from now?
I don't make such long term plans. I hope we'll continue making the music that we love and touring with it. It would be nice to gain a wider audience and be able to earn a living just by playing in this band. We'll see what the future brings once it comes.


What plans do you have in the near future for music release/recording? What sets this upcoming project apart from your previous ones?
We just released our new album Counterclockwise about a month ago. We're already working on some new songs, but don't plan any official releases for a while since the album is still very fresh. But we always have plans for some YouTube projects and we will surely have some new videos before the next album.

Any upcoming tour plans?
We hope to do an Italian tour as soon as possible. We've played some gigs in Italy and the reception has been great, so we're looking forward to do more of those. We're also playing and Croatia and looking forward to any other invitations that might float along.

What are your thoughts of the current state of the music industry? How do you feel you and the band fit into it? 
Music industry is falling apart. There are great bands out there, but the CDs don't sell anymore and record labels are in trouble. We don't really care about the music industry. I actually feel that the current state has helped to link musicians and fans closer. However, the problem is earning money from the work you do. It's absolutely obvious that we're not doing this for the money, because this is the riskiest job on the planet. If we wanted to earn a lot of money, we'd be stock brokers or bankers, but in today's world you still have to earn some money to survive and that's very hard to achieve as a musician. If you can't live from playing music, then you need to get another job and if you get another job, you probably won't be able to play music as much and keep the quality as high. So, I think something will have to change...

Any words of advice for young/aspiring musicians?
Just keep doing what you love and enjoy playing music! Play songs that you like and it will make you want to play often and get better quickly.

Anything else? 
Thank you for this interview. Please visit our website www.ivanmihaljevic.com if you'd like to learn more about us.
You can listen to our whole new album for free on Soundcloud here - https://soundcloud.com/ivan-mihaljevic/sets/counterclockwise-1
and if you like it, we would appreciate it if you could buy it from CD Baby - www.cdbaby.com/cd/ivanmihaljevicsideeffect

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Thanks for reading! Check out Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects here!











Monday, February 25, 2013

Songwriting courses

Songwriting courses are great, up until the part where you have to write songs just for class... not for a feeling, not for an emotion, but for a grade. 

Sorry, but I can't rhyme on command. I can, but don't rather like to!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Expression, Not Perfection

Remember, artists - our craft is about expression, not perfection. 

For it is the path of perfection that leads to the loss of loving our craft. 

I have made a video talking about that:


Express, not impress. 

I went down that path, before - especially with my violin. When I had only been playing a few years, I compared myself to those that had played a lifetime. I am still trying to dig myself out of the pain of that trench. 

Love your craft and play. Don't worry about being perfect. 

Trust me. You're more than good enough already if you put your soul into what you do. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Music review of HIGHSPEEDDIRT

Hello everyone - Misstaintedlove back with another music review. 

Today, I'll be reviewing the music of HIGHSPEEDDIRT, a Hard Rock/Melodic metal band from Milan, Italy. Hope you enjoy, and check out the band's website here

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HIGHSPEEDDIRT (high speed dirt) is a hard rock/melodic metal band from Milan, Italy. The band members are: Marco Maraschi (vocals), Federico Dick (bass guitar), Stefano Motta (drums) and Domenico Santoro (guitars). 

They have a new album out right now, called 'Playing Hard'. 

I love reviewing metal/hard rock bands like HIGHSPEEDDIRT. Metal/rock is already my favourite genre, and coming across great metal/rock music makes my job so much easier. 

HIGHSPEEDDIRT has all the elements in their corner needed to make a great metal album: energy, enthusiasm, and musicianship. From 'Tragic Ending' to 'Raise Your Middle Finger in the Air', they skillfully put together a great addition to the metal world. HIGHSPEEDDIRT has everything there - rockin' guitars, a steady beat, and excellent vocals (not to mention, great lyrics). They make you wanna jump out of your chair, and bang that head. 

Check out HIGHSPEEDDIRT today!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Artist Review: Brando Albers

Hello, everyone. MissTainted back with another artist review. 

Today, I'll be reviewing Brando Albers, an indie electronic artist from St. Catherines, Ontario. Hope you enjoy the review - all social media links are at the bottom!

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"I've been writing music since I was fifteen years old. It started off as something to do with friends. As we aged, my friends moved onto other things leaving me alone with this passion"
-Brando Albers

Brando Albers is a Canadian short film maker/artist/indie composer & music artist from St. Catherines, Ontario. He began making music when he was only fifteen years old! He is very talented for being - and still being - very young. 

His new album, "Fading Away" is currently available for free download on Bandcamp right now. 

The music of 'Fading Away' is a trippey, other-wordly mixture of indie creativity and synthesized style. The sound of 'Fading Away' is of a certain excellently crafted, beautifully melancholic, soulfully poured out charm. My favourite track has to be, 'Nothing Left To Be Afraid of.' Like most all songs on this album, the intro grabs you from the beginning and refuses to release your mind. 

The music sounds of an extreme, professional quality. It has been skillfully created and produced by the multi-talented artist. 

Make sure to check out Brando Albers today! You certainly will not regret it. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Artist Interview with A.S. Swanski

Hello, everyone - MissTaintedLove back. 

Today, I will be interviewing Sweden-based artist A.S. Swanski. Stick around for the interview, and check out the artist here! More links at the bottom. 

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How were you first introduced to music in your life?
As a kid I watched Toppop, a weekly Dutch music chart television show. My older brother introduced me to a lot of stuff. Those were the days of glam rock and seeing all these extravagantly dressed rock stars made quite an impression. I didn't always get what they were doing, but it was great to look at. 

At what point in your life was the defining moment that made you realize what you wanted to do, as a musician?
I have done many different types of things, musically, and I'm quite sure that I will be doing other things in the future. I want adventure and never settle for one specific style or sound. This means that ”defining moments” occur all the time, or never, depending on how you look at it. 

How long have you been making music now?
I started playing bass in the early 1980s. That's a long time ago.... Between 1983 and 1997 I played in several bands in The Netherlands, the country I was born in. I started working as A.S. Swanski in 1998 and quickly released my first album, called Twist. Between 2000 and 2009 I focused on other things, for example writing album reviews for a Belgian weekly, but my love for writing and recording my own stuff never faded. So, when I finally had some time left, I reactivated the Swanski inside me.

What was your first project? How have you grown since then?
I started my first band when I was in school. We played five gigs under five different names. It was rather doomy, gloomy stuff. We played covers from Killing Joke and Joy Division plus own material in a similar style. It was good fun but we didn't take it very seriously back then. 


What type of music/artists have influenced you and your music?
I had most of my musical education in the first half of the 1980s which was probably the most adventurous period in musical history. Post-punk had a serious impact on me. I'm not sure to which extent others have influenced me but generally, I like artists who try or have tried to do something others never thought of. Eccentrics like David Bowie, John Cale and Barry Adamson, innovators like Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, Popol Vuh, Yello and Kraftwerk, eclectic bands like The Stranglers and Talking Heads. I haven't listened so much to new artists recently but one that made quite an impression is a French lady named Claeysen who combines a dark electronic sound with neurotic, opera-like vocals.

What is the inspiration for your music?
My latest work has been inspired by crime fiction, older work deals with topics like alienation and politics. Generally, I'm interested in what motivates people to do extreme things. Most of the time though it's music that starts a song, not a topic that I want to write about. 

How do you describe the style/genre of your own music?
My music moves between krautrock and synthpop. I used to call it electro noir, but this term does not always apply to my most recent material. I prefer a free form. I let my songs slowly develop and try to inject them with some sort of suspense. It does happen that I use a traditional song structure, but having a chorus and a few verses is not my starting point, normally. My music has a specific European feel, people say. I sometimes use guitars but never let them dominate my sound and I rather use electronics and musical elements that are not based on blues, funk or rock. 

What do you feel sets you apart from the crowd?
Well, I'm not a crowd pleaser. That's one thing. The last thing I want is giving people innocent ear candy and nothing else. My music should be some kind of challenge. The songs I write are often rather long, do not always have choruses or verses, and can be about rather unpleasant topics. That doesn't mean I avoid beauty. It's just a different kind of beauty.

If you could describe you and your music in five words, what would they be?
The press usually mentions the words ”cinematic”, ”dark” and ”disturbing”. I would add ”funny” and ”European”.  It might be odd to add ”funny”, but according to me, my music is not devoid of humor even when it's a pretty dark type of humor.


What other artists, musicians, and producers have you worked with?
I could a drop a few names of people I worked with in the 1980s and 1990s, but I don't think any of them rings a bell. Too bad, I should add, because they were good. Nowadays I work alone most of the time. The only person I have been collaborating with over the past two years is a Russian singer, La Gouzel, who did the lead vocals for some of my songs. She happens to be my wife too.

What do you feel is the best piece of music you've created? Why do you choose this one?
Like most musicians, I have a tendency to like my most recent work best. In this case, it's not so much one song, it's the project I'm about to complete, which is a series of songs inspired by Swedish crime fiction. Looking back is not my strongest side. Once a song has been released I never listen to it again, unless I really must. I prefer to move on. 

What type of mindset do you get into before you enter the studio to record? Do you do anything special to prepare yourself?
I record at home and I can do this whenever suits me. Writing and recording is work. Lots of trial and error and there is no specific mindset that guarantees results. The best thing appear when you're just playing around, with no intention to create anything at all. I recognize these moments but I always find it hard to remember them afterwards. Very often, when a song is ready, you wonder where it came from. If there is any type of magic involved in recording music, then it's amnesia. 

What can you tell us about your current album? How does it differ from any of your previous projects?
My most recent album releases were Electro Noir from 2012 and Superette, a compilation for mailing list subscribers. I'm currently working on a project inspired by Swedish crime fiction. It's called the Deckare project. It's rather unusual to write songs based on books and though I have done this before, it's the first time I do a whole series. I chose Swedish crime fiction because it shares certain qualities with my music. It's often slow paced, has a few political undertones and mixes menace with mystery. Musically the Deckare songs are more accessible than my previous album. There's more pop in it, even when the material is dark and experimental. 


Where do you see yourself as an artist five years from now?
Still in Sweden, still doing my own stuff. It's fine when people hear my music and appreciate what I do. The last thing I want to become is the next boring rock star making extra money in X Factor advising others how to become equally boring. Well, if I wanted to be famous, I would play a different style of music. 

What are your thoughts of the current state of the music industry? How do you feel you fit into it?
It looks like the best years for indie musicians are over now that streaming audio services have taken the world by storm. With Spotify, most of the revenue ends up with the major labels who funded the company, while with iTunes, indie artists who didn't play live could still earn something. Musicians have to look for alternatives if they want to make a buck. But that's how things go. Creative people make something new and then the industry moguls and their shareholders run with the money. I'm not financially dependent on music so I'm not deeply affected by this. What I find more worrying is how the Web has changed the way music is consumed. Many music lovers seem more obsessed with creating huge playlists that serve as background noise than with actually listening to music. How many still take the time to sit down and listen to a whole album? Not many, I'm afraid, and that's a shame since a well-made album can really be an unforgettable experience, like a visit to a different world. 

What plans do you have in the near future for music release/recording? What sets this upcoming project apart from your previous ones?
First I'll finish the Deckare project. I have another project going on, with poetry put on music. I need to finish that one, but first things first.

Any upcoming tour plans?
No. I don't play live as A.S. Swanski. I wish I could but I don't have a band and it's hard to perform my music without other musicians. Some artists who use a lot of electronics play live with a laptop but I think it looks silly. It's like watching an office with a lightshow.

Any words of advice for young/aspiring musicians?
This question makes me feel old. But since I'm not so young anymore, I could say: ”Don't think the world cares about your music simply because it exists. And don't imitate. Add value.”

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Check out A.S. Swanski at the links below!














Artist review: The Unswept

Hello - MissTaintedLove here, back from a temporary sick leave. 

Today, I'll be reviewing the Duo The Unswept, formed by cousins Charlie and Ryan O'brien - who originally hail from the UK. 

Check out their music here, and enjoy the review below!

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The Unswept is a power pop duo originally from sunny Sheffield, UK. They are made up of cousins Charlie O'brien (guitar, vocals, bass, keyboards) and Ryan O'brien (vocals, drums, guitar, percussion). The two eventually found their way to Chicago, Illinois. 

They list their influences as The Beatles, The Monkees, Teenage Fanclub, and more similar. 


With a style highly reminiscent of the Beach Boys, The Unswept is fun, poppy, and upbeat. With talented musicianship, professional-sounding production value, and story-telling lyrics, the duo is making waves, so to speak. 

From the cool, chill 'Surf Song 89' to the jumpin 'She's So Cool' to the rockin' 'You're Going Home' and the brutally honest 'Get Away' - the band has shown themselves to be well-rounded, entertaining, impressive and skilled at their craft. They are worth countless listens, and are the cause for hitting that replay button over and over again. 

Check out The Unswept today!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Song review: Heart Go Down

Hello, everyone - MissTaintedLove back. 

Today I will be reviewing a song from Chicago artist Marcus Norris, called "Heart Go Down". 

Check it out - and check out Marcus Norris here

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Things change
I know you do, too

Marcus Norris' tune 'Heart Go Down' is a fearless, tell-tale song dedicated to his exes. Each verse goes out to a different lady from his past, asking her in the chorus how she feels when she hears his name (Does your heart go down?). 

First, I must comment on the production of this song. This song, to me, sounds as though it was professionally produced, and that is highly commendable and makes for easier listening. The song has a nice steady rhythm, great instrumental section, and it's all masterfully put together. 

The lyrical flow is tight, and steady. It's skillfully written, and keeps the listener hooked. I know it kept me hooked! The rhymes are natural and not forced. In this well crafted piece of music, Marcus Norris communicates with the ladies of his past that even though things may not have worked out - and even that one of them may be crazy - that he will always love them forever. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Artist Review: Manteye

Hello everyone - I'm back with a new artist review. 

Today, I'll be reviewing Manteye (Mark Manthei), an artist from Toronto, Canada. Hope you enjoy, and check out the artist here! Social media links below the review. 

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"Manteye's heartfelt vocals have never sounded so honest and meaningful, his songs finding strength in their intimacy and sheer beauty of a few, simple and well-arranged elements." 


Mark Manthei or Manteye is a Canadian artist from Toronto who saw mainstream success come his way in the early 90's, only to retire from the music scene all together until recently - nearly 20 years later. 

His music is described as blues and country infused pop/rock. 

After listening through most of the tracks on Manteye's sound cloud page, I only have one thing to say - I want to hear more!



"Blown Away" would have to my favourite track, with longing vocals, sincere lyrics, and a soulful melody that carries the song through. "Kill the Music" is another great (especially the version with flute), which is memorable, deep and thought-provoking. "Sure Don't Mind" is fun, and you can't help but want to move along to this one!

He also has some great covers worth checking out, including the infamous song 'Hurt'. 

Manteye has a consistent, clear, and distinctive voice. He is a well-rounded, talented, and fearless artist. When you listen to the music, it stays with you. And that, my friends, is very much a good thing. The lyrics will paint a picture in your mind, and Manteye's voice is a hell of an enjoyable brush. 

Check out Manteye today, at the following links. 

Soundcloud (quite a bit of music to listen to here!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Artist Review: Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects

Hello, all. MissTainted back with another music review. 

Today I'll be reviewing the music of Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects. Hope you enjoy as much as I have! Make sure to check it out! All social media links below the review. 

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"Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects are an eclectic rock power trio from Zagreb, Croatia. The band consists of Ivan Mihaljevic on guitar and vocals, Marko Karacic Karo on bass and Alen Frljak on drums."
-From the band's official site biography



First of all, I must say that in the short time I have been doing these musical reviews, this is some of the best music that I have been presented with. Not only is it extremely well recorded (sounds professionally produced) and very well played (very professional musicianship), but it is of my favourite genre (rock), and these tunes will have a great impact on your ears, your body, and your mind. 

Trust me. 

Anyway, let's get into it. 

The band has quite an impressive discography, having released the following albums: Sandcastle (2008), Live In Jabuka (2008, as well), Destination Unknown (2010), and their most recent Counterclockwise (2012). I will be mostly reviewing the music of the latter album. 

The band members themselves have quite the impressive musical resume. 

Ivan Mihaljevic - leading foreman of the group. He himself is a musical producer and sings & acts in musical theater. He has worked with other bands, such as Hard Time. He is a prominent guitarist and has played with Les Paul, and produces instructional guitar videos. He was named Best [Guitar] Shredder of 2010, and has played all over the world. 

Drummer Alen Frijak teaches drums at a musical school in Croatia, and works as a session drummer. 

Bassist Marko Karacic Karo plays with a separate hard rock band, and has only recently joined Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects in 2012. 

The band has numerous achievements, one of which is playing the large Heineken Jamming Festival in July 2012, which was headlined by acts such as Red Chili Peppers, Prodigy, The Cure, and more. 


The band's latest album "Counterclockwise" is a highly impressive collection of work. 'Driving Force' has got to be my favourite song from this album. 
Their work is professional sounding, and or high quality musical artistry. The musical sound comes across as natural and flowing, instead of forced and manufactured artificially. 

It is a concept album, and you realize that right away lyrically. 

The lyrics and music keep a consistent emotional tone, keeping things well grounded in the message the album sends. 

"Too Much Is Not Enough" brings a beautiful, flowing feeling into the album. It starts it off on the right 'note', so to speak, and makes you pay attention to what the singer has to 'say'. 'Gift of Life' will suck you in from the very beginning, much like most of the rest of the songs on this album. 
'Eclipse' is incredible, especially the opening. Very different from what you'll hear from a lot of music, as the beginning is prepared with bells, woodwinds, and other instruments not typical of the rock genre. There's a very musical theater, whimsical yet malevolent feel to the opening of this song. 

Through the course of the album, you will feel as though you are on a journey. As I've listened twice now to the music of counterclockwise from the band's Sound Cloud page, I know I want to repeat that journey yet again. 'Play' button, here I come. 

You absolutely must check out this music today, at the following links:


And go buy their album from CDbaby