Blog of the Week
This week, we’re talking with Reba from Love Shack, Baby about local music, her “melodic aggro” side and the importance of links in your emails!
Love Shack, Baby | http://www.loveshackbaby.net
How long have you been blogging, and what made you start?
I was laid up with back surgery in the Spring of 2007 and made ALOT of internet friends! One, in particular, was a music lover of my persuasion and we chatted endlessly about old tunes we loved. That led me to a search of music blogs that featured The Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, you know, that sort of stuff. Along the way, I found a really cool circle of bloggers, mostly from the UK, a lot of them Scottish, who really supported one another and supported their local, new music, scene. I got hooked, and after endless discussions in their comments over what constituted good taste in music, they finally got sick of me and demanded I start my own music blog, in the summer of 2008.
What genres does the site tend to cover? Have you always covered this type of music?
I began reminiscing about old songs I loved but soon began covering new artists that came through Chicago. I grew up on Southern Rock and Metal and Blues music (with a healthy dose of hillbilly-country, bluegrass thrown in) and so this new “Indie” genre was hard for me to get used to. Gradually, I think I’ve become an Indie fan. But I don’t think I will ever feature Hip Hop or Rap, it’s just not what I listen to and don’t feel I have much to say about. There’s lots of good blogs out there for that! So, considering where I come from, Love Shack, Baby tends to cover Folk, Folk-rock, Rock, Indie, and to appease what one lover called my “melodic aggro” side, I venture into experimental-electronica and ambient noise territory every so often. If it’s weird, I tend to love it. That confuses people who try to pin me down as a folk music lover.
How do you find the music you blog about and what makes you pick something to post?
Chicago artists are always given priority. After that, anyone traveling through Chicago have a good chance. I must admit an affinity for Scottish music. I also love anyone who has an interesting voice but I don’t particularly listen to vocals/lyrics much. 96% of the music I blog comes in my inbox. The other 4% comes from a show I’ve been to; there’s been an awesome opening artist or a band I hadn’t heard before. Or, my good friend Drunk Country, of The Waiting Room radio show (out of Cardiff, Wales but serving the World!) will throw me some great stuff on a weekly basis. He’s got absolutely solid good taste and an ear for what’s new and interesting and will be making a splash in a year from now. Go listen to his show! I’d feature more of his finds if I had the time to dedicate to listening and finding more of what he’s got to offer. Seriously, one could make an amazing blog, just blogging about the artists he features!
When did you start using SoundCloud, and how has it helped you curate the music you post about?
I started using SoundCloud about a year ago, maybe a little longer. It’s an amazing tool for musicians to get their music to me, right in their email. I love getting a link from a band and being able to just click and hear it as I’m reading about them. I hate music videos, they’re so distracting! I don’t want to see what some videographer thought of your song and your band. I want to hear you and read what you think about yourself. PR companies make a big mistake by giving out so many videos and by spreading on the gloss so thick. Just let the band speak.
The other cool thing about SoundCloud is being able to embed the stream into a blog post and have my readers be able to just click and listen. It looks good on my site, it is easy to navigate, and it works in every browser out there. I’ve been having issues with other media players on Chrome and SoundCloud is just such a joy. I also get weekly updates from a certain, special PR company with their new uploads for the week, I can just click on their embedded link, right in their email - genius!
If someone’s interested in sending you some music to review, how do you prefer getting submissions? What are some “Do” and “Don’t”s for people to keep in mind?
Send it to me and send me an email a few weeks later to prompt me to go look again (just one!) I get swamped. I’m a one-writer blog here. A link inside your email is mandatory, no link is really just the kiss of death for music writers. And comparisons to other bands are really easy to make but often don’t do you any favors. Telling me your musical history and influences is a good thing, but who you’re trying to emulate will only limit my imagination when I listen to you, see? I nice press package is lovely: zip file of mp3s in high bit rate; decent photo, bio, and permission for which mp3 to post with link to a SoundCloud embed. It’s not hard to make one, but a lot of new bands have no idea what it is. Put all that in one folder and attach a link to it to your email to all bloggers, BCC’d :)
Oh, and don’t take our silence too harshly. Sometimes we’re just too busy, sometimes you’ve submitted your music to the wrong blog. I’ve gotten back to people six months later and loved their music. My timing sucks!
What are some songs that you’re currently playing non-stop?
Any last words?
I love musicians and am so grateful for what they do. I consider my job as a blogger to be a sort of champion of all the bands out there who aren’t yet known and who play gig after gig; hoping to make enough gas money to get to the next show. If you’re a fan of music, put these people up on your couch, buy them a meal or a beer. You never know where they’ll end up. And all of them do this because they love it, not for the fame or the money. The vast majority of artists, even those on ”big” indie labels, don’t break even until they reach a very, very, high level of notoriety and by then many of them are giving back to the industry so much and helping young musicians get ahead. Go to a local show of whatever genre of music you enjoy and buy a damn t-shirt! xoxo
Do you have a track you want to send over to Reba? Submit it to her dropbox below!