Boston’s Hidden Musical Talents

Perry Eaton is a co-founder of Allston Pudding, a Boston music website that won Best Music Blog at the 2011 Boston Music Awards, has been nominated again for the same title for 2012 and Eaton has a standing relationship with The Bowery Presents, all at the age of 23. After growing up in Boston and attending local Boston shows all his life, it is a perfect job for him. Because who knows Boston music better than a kid who has been surrounded by it all his life?

But writing was never his first choice. “I always wanted to be in a really good band,” Eaton said, but it never happened due to a “lack of exerting myself and not finding the right people. So I decided to just write about music instead.” But he has certainly made a name for himself in Boston as a music writer. Besides his website, Allston Pudding, his pieces are featured in the popular Boston magazine, The Phoenix.

Allston Pudding is mainly a local Boston-based music website created by Perry and two of his friends from Boston University. Eaton, Daniel Schiffer and Jarrett Carr decided to move in together while they were undergraduates together at BU and “it was just a situation where we were halfway through school, I didn’t have a major and weren’t involved in anything,” Eaton said. “All we liked doing was going to shows on weekends.” Eaton calls himself the “journey man” when referring to his undergrad days at BU. He said, “I had like six different majors.” So, to combat their feelings of disorientation, they decided to start Allston Pudding.

With such a diverse and talented group of three men, they didn’t need any start up money. “It worked out well,” Perry said. “The three of us have different skills: I was the writer, Carr did the graphic design and he built website, Schiffer is the marketer and he takes a PR/ marketing angle to kind of get it to people.” They combined skills and only had to use a little money from their own pockets, Eaton said, and in the end they saved a ton of money from not having to pay to attend shows anymore because they are now considered press.

“I had a blog before,” Eaton recalled. “In high school not enough of my friends were into music,” so “when I was 15 I did a stupid blog called Perry’s Picks.” As a result, he said, his “friends started listening to the music and it was awesome.” The free shows and interviews were the biggest perks for Eaton, who added, “It was a lot easier than I had imagined.”

But it’s not only the free stuff they care about. It’s easy to tell Eaton is also really proud of helping out local bands. “It’s good,” he said, “because were giving a lot of bands publicity who wouldn’t get publicity otherwise.” One of the goals for Allston Pudding is to actually see how they can get Boston bands out of Boston, which they think they can help with by expanding their website to national coverage. “The three of us have always talked about expanding to other cities,” said Carr. “Two years ago that seemed quite farfetched, but with the end of school coming up for me, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic.”

Having connections with The Bowery Presents is also incredibly helpful for accomplishing this. Eaton was lucky enough to intern with the company that runs music venues their first year in Boston. “The Bowery is helping us out in various ways,” Eaton said. Among other things, the company helps eaton, Carr and Schiffer get into shows by cutting out the red tape, which means Allston Pudding contributors can go to more shows.

Eaton expressed a somewhat reciprocal relationship between Allston Pudding and The Bowery Presents saying Allston Pudding helps The Bowery with booking and promoting shows, while Allston Pudding receives some advertising money in return. Eaton admits it’s only a small amount but expresses nothing but gratitude for everything The Bowery Presents has done for them as a growing music website.

Carr also expresses how much they owe to social media. “I’ll be one of the first to admit that Allston Pudding probably wouldn’t exist without the online community that sites like Facebook and Twitter have helped garner,” said Carr. “It’s great because social media has developed businesses into communities in which the user is now able to contribute to.” Eaton, who controls the Facebook page, said they mostly just repost the things they post on the website, but the information is easier to share on Facebook where they have accumulated 2,123 likes.

Allston Pudding is also on Twitter, with 1,597 followers, Instagram and Tumblr, but Schiffer controls all of those according to Eaton. “Up until recently, social media marketing is the only outward marketing we’ve done,” said Schiffer, “now we’re doing outreach to student groups, throwing events, and working with other organizations but I suspect that social media will remain one of our main marketing focuses for a while.” Schiffer also contributes their online success to their demographic, which they happen to be part of as well.

While national expansion may be in Allston Pudding’s future, for right now they are going through a big redesign which Carr, “the design extraordinaire” as Eaton called him, is working on. “Since I developed the site from scratch there are always little things to change here and there,” said Carr. He also works on all of the website design for Allston Pudding, created their logo, and the design that’s featured on the Allston Pudding sweatshirts. Surprisingly, the sweatshirts they sell on Allstonpudding.com bring in a good percentage of the money they earn from the website, but it isn’t much Eaton said.

They each hold a side job on top of running Allston Pudding. Eaton works at the YMCA in Newtown helping underprivileged teens, Schiffer has a part-time marketing job and Carr is still in school at North Carolina State for one more year.

Despite their other responsibilities, it seems they will continue to dabble in many things in order to expand the website further. “We’ve recently been into throwing shows, which have been a lot of fun and seem to have a pretty immediate effect on the community,” said Carr. According to Eaton, they are also working on putting together a New Year’s show.

Berklee American Roots Music Program SlideshowCafe 939

Fans Disliked That MIA was…M.I.A.

The persuasive abilities of fans astounds me! After being bombarded on twitter, MIA, the artist who gave everyone the middle finger at the Super Bowl last year, sent out a new song via e-mail. Now here is an incentive to bother every musician out there for new music! This is also incentive to become a fan of every artist you want to hear new music from! Maybe you could be the next fan who receives an exclusive track by email.

But this spawns an entire new way for musicians to interact with their fans. If all fans need to do is harass their idols on twitter for new material, the people who are actually paid to do that by agencies could potentially be entirely cut out of the picture…maybe? Or maybe this will encourage artists to produce more work. In any case, its pretty revolutionary to have an artist emailing fans new music before it’s even leaked on the website. But then again, MIA isn’t the most conventional.

Dream of Music…Literally.

Tablet put together a sort of well curated list of hotels for music lovers, so I had to share! Not that I agree with all of them, but here they are…

Nhow Berlin, in well…Berlin, Germany, boasts two recording studios on the premises. Personally, I think this is pretty cool! Berlin has turned into a pretty hip, artistic city from what I’ve gathered so it’s also a brilliant marketing strategy! Inside, it’s incredibly colorful and uniquely modern, thanks to design pro Karim Rashid. The only picture I found to be different than this design aesthetic is this one, and my personal favorite:

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Located in West Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, the Sunset Marquis Hotel has been newly renovated and is apparently very private. Its bar, uniquely named Bar 1200, is reported so strict with admission it only accepts the rich and famous. The more I read about this hotel, the more I think pretentious, and so not rock & roll, but it’s on the list probably because it appeals to mainstream artists and music industry buffs.

As for The Clarence in Dublin, Ireland, well, it happens to be owned by Bono and the Edge of U2. If that doesn’t make it pretty awesome, I don’t know what else does. But again, this seems to appeal more to the music industry people and actors rather than the common folk, with a grand piano located in the penthouse suite. However, as Tablet points out, “The owners have never been much for hedonistic rock star excess…” [this is] more of the sort of place you’d chat with your writer friends than dance on tabletops.”

The Setai in Miami, Florida is an eight-story art deco building located on the beach and surrounded by palm trees. Inside, the only word I can think of using is zen, with its muted, dark colors. Apparently the rooms are so over the top, they top most of the other Miami Beach hotels. Again, I find myself wondering why this hotel is on this list, but it is!

The Alexis Hotel Seattle in Seattle, Washington is a boutique hotel, which is surprisingly not boutique-y! But, it’s apparently the specialty suites that are the most incredible, probably because each is inspired by Seattle’s art community. My personal favorite would most likely be the Experience Music Project suite, which features blown-up black and white concert photos and album covers all over the walls. Pretty sweet!!

Can you see Jamaica without Reggae? Exactly. No. So, the Geejam in Port Antonio, Jamaica is a beautiful fit. Beginning as a recording studio, it hasn’t grown too much since with only seven units. It’s location is incredibly low-key: it’s closer to the beaches than the nightlife of Port Antonio.

Located in one of the epicenters of indie-rock, Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas, also boasts a vinyl library. (Instantly making this another place I must stay.) The place seems to be nothing but hip on the inside. And I think this can express its awesomeness more so than my words:

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The Ellington Hotel also in Berlin, Germany, is named after Duke Ellington the Jazz great. ‘nough said. It’s “golden-age elegance” spans 285 rooms, and the local Jazz station sets up shop by the bar each night for guests listening pleasure.

The Hotel Opera in Madrid, Spain is conveniently located right across the street from the Royal Opera, but besides that and the singing waiters, its not much of a musically inclined hotel.

And finally, the Ace Hotel New York in, yours truly’s beloved city, New York, NY. I’m sold on this one with the vintage turntables and the library adorned with vinyl alone. But this is THE hotel to go to if you’re simply “rock & roll”. It features vintage, refurbished furniture and you can’t go wrong with the lobby bar, which has definitely made a name for itself amongst the hipsters.

Pictures and referenced article courtesy of Tablet Hotels

My Inner Skeptic is Chirping in My Head

I can’t say twitter was much of an asset to me since I had to create my own twitter about a day ago. I understand how it could be an asset to news or sports organizations who can sum up their important, breaking news in one or two sentences, but for me, I can’t see it yet. The only thing twitters regarding music seem to provide me with are new downloads, but considering I am on my cell phone looking at these tweets it makes it difficult to listen to the demos, or download them. I find it much easier to go to the music blogs I enjoy reading when I have time to sit there and listen to demos and download them if I wish.  As for fashion twitters, all they seem to give me are links. Maybe it’s useful during fashion week to instantly post looks as they go down the runway, but even so, I would rather look at the articles and pictures on my own time. Also, the sponsored posts are so incredibly obvious, they are worse than advertisements flashing on a web page.

@nytimesfashion and @harpersbazaarus seems to post headlines, followed by links, while @refinery29 is a little better and adds some enthusiasm to their empty posts also followed by a link, and worst of all @bazaarUK didn’t even write sentences majority of the time, but only hash tags and links. In their defense, it is hard to write a headline with substance for a fashion story because it is a topic that must be shown, or described, which are two things twitter is not good for. @Glamour_fashion was probably the best fashion twitter out of them all.  They summed up what I needed to know about designer collections and trends in a few sentences, of course followed by links but I didn’t feel the desire to have to look at them because they did a great job explaining. Also, @victoriabeckham actually told me something about an exhibit I did not know was occurring at the Met in New York, even though it was not about fashion, but about art. And @thezoereport (a fashion site run by Rachel Zoe) actually told me a little something about music, even though I was on my phone and couldn’t find out whether it was actually good music or not, but the fact they posted “tunes” in a tweet impressed me! @Dazedmagazine shared many potentially good pieces of new music, but again, I was on my phone all day without the time to listen. @RollingStone also provided potentially good and free downloads of music, but yet again, I frustratingly could not do a thing about it. And as for the Sirius Radio sites (@SXMoctane, @siriusoctane, @altnation, and @siriusfaction) only @siriusoctane and @siriusfaction posted tweets about what they were playing at that moment, which again could be good music but if I’m not on my computer, its entirely invaluable to me.

Overall, I cannot say I am enjoying my twitter experience and look forward to being rid of it, until I am actually being paid to deal with it. But you never know! Maybe it will grow on me!

Sharing is Caring!

With so many amazing blogs with various different perspectives focused on the same topics I am choosing to write about, I figure I should pick their brains.

DazedDigital.com has been a favorite of mine for the past few years. It focuses on not only music and fashion, but also on arts & culture, photography and video. This website is incredible because not only do they have multiple collaborators and contributors, but their entire team is allowed to post their own insight and blog posts. I highly recommend checking out Lucy Morris’ posts, as they follow the same theme I will be! While their fashion image galleries are less than stellar compared to other websites and blogs, Dazed Digital is highly descriptive when discussing collections, they inspire curiosity in the reader forcing readers to go to google, or the designers websites for a peak. Their music section is much more elaborate features profiles of artists and music events, as well as album critiques, new artists to check out and downloadable playlists created by Dazed Digital. However, be warned, the music airs on the extreme indie side.

Refinery29.com is definitely more of a mainstream and pop culture website compared to Dazed Digital’s indie perspective. Fashion lovers everywhere probably agree their composition and categorization of street style and home decor photo’s are incredible.  From what to wear to certain restaurants, to “back to school” style shots, to wardrobe essentials for the season; if it involves fashion, this site has it. While they do not feature a specific music section, but (disappointingly) bunch it under the term “entertainment”, they do feature downloadable playlists and new artists to check out.

Obscuresound.com is amazing for record reviews and interviews, and it has a huge collection of mp3 downloads so readers may sample music as they please. Brooklynvegan.com is great for tour dates and reviews, and includes comedy shows if you’re into them.

 

Photo (cc) by Ariellie Calderonie under a Creative Commons license

Finally, Fashionologie.com is, as is evident in the title, all about fashion. It features designer and model interviews, runway recaps and reviews and contains tons of photos ranging from runway, to street style as well as “best of” lists. This site is an absolute must for fashion lovers everywhere.

What is the “Dark Side”?

The unusual. The unique. Punk. Self expression. While these categories could encompass a wide variety of things, I will be focusing my blog on two topics that have always gone hand in hand under these categories for me: music and fashion. The world of fashion is always filled with music. Amazing music is found at runway shows, at every after-party and models are constantly transitioning to be DJ’s or artists. Music itself has always been a dominant influence in the fashion world as well. The music itself transformed punk, metal and rock into not just musical phenomenon’s, but clothing phenomenon’s.

While not every post will focus on how the two are joined at the hip, the overall theme will focus on the bouts of self-expression and variety that can be found within these two intertwining subjects and the ways in which they affect us as individuals and as a culture. Traditional blogs such as Fashionologie.com and obscuresound.com have remained loyal to their original topics of fashion or music. Websites such as Refinery29.com began featuring fashion and branched out to include music and other forms of entertainment, while blogs such as DazedDigital.com went the opposite way; starting with music and entertainment and branching out to include fashion.

It is the blogs and websites, such as those named above, that paved the way for the revolution of the music and fashion industries. New artists and designers have it easier now than ever before to get their product on the web, where it proceeds to be viewed or listened to by thousands of people. It is a beautiful world now that new musical talent can be discovered everyday, with a weeding out process of bands similar to Darwin’s survival of the fittest, and street style from around the world can be seen at any time of day, creating more of a world style than a regional one. With this widespread global sharing, people must appreciate everything others in this world have to offer, because even if it is on the dark side, people really do create beautiful things.