CD Baby was one of the first online aggregators of independent music. From its beginnings in a Woodstock, New York, garage in 1997, CD Baby has grown to be the home of more than 300,000 artists, and is – by some measures - the world’s biggest independent distributor, providing an estimated 17 per cent of iTunes current catalog. Artists like Macklemore, The Antlers, The National, and Bon Iver started off with CD Baby, and their catalog titles remain there. Other artists, like Ingrid Michaelson and Gregory Alan Isakov have maintained independent and highly successful careers even as they’ve continued their partnerships with CD Baby. Greg Brown and Grant Lee Phillips are among musicianswho’ve dropped the old label system and run their own indie careers with the help of CD Baby. But which CD Baby artists will be the next to reach household name status? The Iceberg Tip Sheet offers a quick round up of recent and upcoming releases distributed by CD Baby, showcasing breakthrough artists, as well as cult stars and up-and-comers.
04/01/2014 Dead Conspiracy, Abomination Underground
After 13 years away, it’s the welcome return of Portland’s first-ever death-metal band. Formed in 1986 before disbanding in 1990, Dead Conspiracy stood right at the forefront of the movement, and this vinyl release brings together the old – their original 1987 demo, long a collector’s item – and the brand new, with the 2013 Abomination Underground EP and the debut of “Rites Of The Ululatus,” which was premiered on Helheim Radio. Catharis PR is handling the press.
04/08/2014 Gordon Ashworth, S.T.L.A.
The Portland, Oregon, native returns under his own name after recording and performing under many different solo guises. With S.T.L.A. he goes in a different direction, his compositions blurring the lines between the soft melodies of folk and the abstractions of musique concrete, with everything heavily textured by the field recordings Ashworth made working as a cab driver. The music might be restrained but the sensibility runs free and wild here, especially on “Suite For Broken Se x.” The track “Desperate And Indebted” has been premiered by Pitchfork. Press is by Owen Ashworth at Orindal Records.
04/08/2014 Whalers, Submarine Sun
Building on the surf-pop and indie rock that characterized their first two EPs, the Whalers full-length debut showcases the band’s distinctive dual-guitar attack and the remarkable voice of singer Gus Smalley. Ranging from the psychedelic pop of “Bon Vivant” to the slow burning, post-apocalyptic ballad “Swiss Alp,” the interweaving guitar melodies capture attention as the powerful rhythm section keeps everything moving. The influences of the different members come together to create something familiar but unique. Rose Campbell at Us Vs Them is handling publicity.
04/15/2014 Spottiswoode and His Enemies, English Dream
The quintessential Englishman in New York, Spottiswoode takes a trip home with his sixth album. After a pair of Independent Music Awards for 2012’s Wild Goosechase Expedition, English Dream has all the flavors of Anglicana, a collection that runs from the pastoral to the scary, heralded up by upbeat first single “No Time For Love.” Compared to Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, with Spottiswoode himself called a “genius” by The New Yorker magazine, the band has been a New York institution of 15 years. Publicity is being handled by Jeff Kilgour at Tijuana Gift Shop.
05/06/2014 Mike Sempert, Mid Dream
After several years as the frontman for California band Birds & Batteries, Sempert moved to L.A., married his longtime love and now he’s emerged with a new collection of songs and a fresh direction. With a very ‘70s feel to the production, there’s an intimacy to the music that can swell to the epic on occasion while still retaining the feel of a conversation with a friend. His former bandmates form the rhythm section, and guests fill out the instrumentation, but there’s no doubt this is Sempert’s album, soulful and personal. Press is by Leslie Cuc at Tell All Your Friends.