It's not often that a single song gets three different posts on this website, so I guess I must like "Share" from Renee & Jeremy. First was a link to a demo version of the song, next was the duo singing from a lovely couch, and now we have this, a fun, animated video from Jon Izen and Josh Hart. There aren't many videos that could feature a unicorn, even briefly, and still please me, but this one accomplishes just that. Well played, all. Renee & Jeremy - "Share" [YouTube]
Here are a few nuggets to put in your virtual Advent calendar as you await Christmas. (There's even a Hanukkah ditty for those of you celebrating this week.) And I'm gonna update this post as more stuff floats in like a happy little snowflake. Renee and Jeremy have offered up their sweet take on "Little Drummer Boy" on iTunes (you can download it here). No drums, but it's pretty much a perfect fit for R&J's hypnotic approach. And check out the awesome album art there. There needs to be a Christmas card, pronto. Lucky Diaz increases his recorded family music output by releasing "Under the Tree," a slightly wistful but very tuneful track. Download it here; proceeds benefit the Pablove Foundation, which provides support to kids with cancer.
LA's Renee & Jeremy go back to their first album It's a Big World for this, their latest video for "Night Mantra." I applaud the mother in the simple but nicely done video for having more patience with her slow-to-sleep child than I might have. The video reminds me just how much I love the way it takes forever for the song to fade away. "Sleep now in your room," indeed. Renee & Jeremy - "Night Mantra" [YouTube]
I think the first time I became aware of the Topspin media widget was a couple years ago when David Bryne and Brian Eno promoted their new album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today using it. As someone who writes a website, the content-filled nature of the widget appealed to me, but it appealed to me as a fan as well. Sure, from a listener perspective, it's just a way to give an e-mail address to get an mp3, but it did it in such an elegant and well-designed way that it typically was the only type of widget that I'd actually respond to. In time I realized that kids musicians were starting to use the widget, too. At this point enough of them are using the platform that I thought it'd be worth asking the users what they thought of it and its good (and bad) points. Among the artists who responded were Debbie Cavalier, Jeremy Toback, and Kevin Salem from Little Monster Records, along with one of his artists, Key Wilde. I also talked some with Mike King from Berkleemusic -- if you need an overview of Topspin, you could do far worse than checking out the videos King made with Topspin CEO Ian Rogers. What made you interested in working with Topspin? Most artists came to Topspin via some personal connection -- Debbie Cavalier first heard about Topspin nearly two years ago when, as the Dean of Continuing Education at Berklee, they started to plan the development of the “Marketing Music with Topsin” course. Jeremy Tobck knew Topspin cofounder Shamal Ranasinghe when he was developing the idea for Topspin, and was "super intrigued" by his idea of deepening the direct relationship between artists and fans. Toback says that Ranasinghe, dug Renee & Jeremy, wanted then to be beta users, and "helped convince us that we had built enough on our own to benefit" from the platform. As for Kevin Salem, he says that Robert Schneider’s manager told him about it, though he "was slow to respond." (Robert Schneider is another Topspin artist, both for the Apples in Stereo as well as his Little Monster Robbert Bobbert project.) But the Topspin representative was an "old acquaintance" from Salem's time as a solo artist after giving him a quick tutorial, Salem thought it could "help plug the considerable holes in [his] physical distribution network." He also says he thought it could help create "unique products" for the fans and "shift the ratio of physical-to-digital sales in our genre." [I'd note that at Kindiefest, Salem noted that the next Little Monster release, a compilation, will be entirely digitally distributed.]
I know that Renee and Jeremy aren't the first family musicians to do the "music lessons via YouTube" thing (hi, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer!), but their instruction on the oh-so-sweet "Night Mantra" is short and to the point. (Need lyrics or to hear the tune? Go here.) Wonder if that translates to the ukulele? Renee & Jeremy - "Night Mantra (How To)" [YouTube]
Different house, different couch, and different song than last time, but the end result is still the same -- if Renee & Jeremy sang one of the drier parts of your air conditioning unit's installation manual, I'd still listen. Luckily, I'm a long-time fan of the song. (And a new fan of that couch.) Renee & Jeremy - "Share" [YouTube]