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2009-06-01

Artist Spotlight: Moonalice

I was drawn to today's featured artist in a rather unconventional fashion. Shortly before I started using Twitter, I read an article about a band that "Twittercasted" one of their concerts - in other words, they recorded their concert, and after each song was finished, the audio was encoded into an MP3 and uploaded to the Internet, at which time a link was posted on the band's Twitter feed. A pretty neat idea, I thought, but since I had no idea who this band was and I wasn't on Twitter at the time, I didn't think too much more of it at the time. A few weeks later I did join Twitter, though, so I decided that I should look this band up to see what they were all about.

After a bit of searching (in particular, I needed to come up with the word "Twittercast", after which the search was fairly trivial), I found that the band was called Moonalice. I began following their Twitter feed, and I also checked out their website to learn more about them. I immediately recognized one of the members of the band as G.E. Smith, who, among other things, is the former musical director of Saturday Night Live; I used to love the brief snippets of his playing that would be shown before and after the commercials on that show, so that gave me a really good feeling about Moonalice. My next stop was their music page, which lists an astounding amount of studio and live tracks to download, along with the following, extremely cool message:
The music you download from this page is free for your listening pleasure. If you like our music, pay it forward to your friends. Turn them on. It's about the music. If you feel so inclined, let us know who you are.

There are 4 studio tracks available for download. My favourites of these are "Blink of an Eye", which, with its laid back sound and female lead vocal, brings Fleetwood Mac to mind; and their cover of Steve Earle's "I Ain't Ever Satisfied", which is given a wonderful treatment - I love the way the song mellows out in the third verse and then slowly builds back up into the chorus. All 4 of these tracks are available as both 128k MP3 and lossless FLAC files. If you check out the band's iLike page (also available here for Facebook users), you can find a fifth track entitled "Listen to Those Eyes", which is a cool little rocker.

As cool as those studio tracks are, the live tracks are where things really get interesting. At the time of this writing, there are 17 complete concerts available for download, including the first 2 Twittercasts (called "Tweetcasts" here). Some of the concerts are very lengthy - I downloaded one that is more than 3 hours long - and contain a nice mix of original Moonalice songs and cover songs. Some of the covers I've heard are the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash", Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale", the blues standard "Eyesight to the Blind", Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", and the classic truck drivers' anthem "Six Days on the Road". The diversity in their selection of cover songs should give you a hint as to how diverse their own music can be. Another thing that is not apparent just from looking at the track lists of the concerts is that these guys like to jam - a LOT - with song lengths regularly approaching 10, 15, and even 20 minutes. One of the highlights of a few of the concerts I've listened to is "Tell Me It's Okay", which repeatedly builds up and drops back down, and features some beautiful guitar solos from Smith.

If you still ain't satisfied and want even more free Moonalice music, you would do well to check out their Twitter feed, where they are still doing Twittercasts. I have yet to catch a live Twittercast, but I have been able to llisten to a few "Zombie Twittercasts", in which they take a show from their archives and upload the MP3s via Twitter beginning at 4:20 in a selected time zone (some past start times have been on Greenwich Mean Time and Newfoundland time - the latter being based on a suggestion of my own), usually on Fridays. However you decide to check Moonalice out, I hope you enjoy their music. I also hope that Moonalice continue to be as cool, genuine, and accessible as they are now. Happy listening!

URLs:
http://twitter.com/Moonalice
http://moonaliceband.com/
http://moonaliceband.com/music/
http://ilike.com/artist/Moonalice
http://apps.facebook.com/ilike/artist/Moonalice?_fb_q=1

6 comments:

Chubby Wombat Moonalice said...

Thank you for the great post!!! We appreciate your support and look forward to meeting you and your readers at a future show.

Let us know what else we can do to make you happy!

Chubby Wombat Moonalice

Barb said...

Aloha
wish they had more videos.....my favorite guitar solos from "Tell me it's ok " are not GE -but the incredible Barry Sless-plays beautiful pedal steel also. If you like Moon Alice you will LOVE the David Nelson Band-Barry, Pete Sears and John Molo,all have been playing with DNB for years. they are a really tight jam band who know how to jam lose!
Malama Pono

David said...

Whoah! there's an unbelievable ammount of free music available on their site. This is going to take some time to explore! Excellent find.

Good to see a band using Twitter in an interesting way. Also good to see how quickly they picked up on your post. Clearly a band that is on the digital ball.

David Muir

Jeff said...

Barb: I will certainly check those guys out. Thanks for the recommendation!

David: yeah, I debated (only half-jokingly) whether to call this post an Artist Spotlight or a Free Music Resource - short of artists that offer their entire discographies for download, I don't think I've ever seen so much free music from a single band before.

Jeff said...

Oh, and Chubby Wombat Moonalice: please just keep cranking out awesome music and letting us listen to it! I'd love to see you guys live someday, but until that happens, the Twittercasts are a great substitute.

Barb said...

You're welcome Jeff-glad to spread the word
Mahalo nui loa to you for providing this site. I'm looking forward to checking out your recommendations.
Maluhia(peace) and malama pono(take care)
Barb