Inside The Ears of Bill

Billy says:

What I've been listening to-

Megadeth - Dystopia

The band released their 15th album this past January and is the first since 2004 and 2007 to not feature their longtime drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick. Interestingly enough, the two announced their departure last November and formed a new band altogether. Nonetheless, the album is a fiercely aggressive album with tons of riffs and some might say that it's a return to form by the band after their last album Super Collider. Boosted by killer tracks like Lying in State, The Threat Is Real and Fatal Illusion, the album hosts some atypical tracks you wouldn't normally associate with the band. Tracks like the sole instrumental track Conquer or Die! features plenty of acoustic guitars from new guitarist Kiko Loureiro then rips into a full-blown metal barrage. A very solid album by the band overall.

Dream Theater - The Astonishing

There's a lot of music to listen to with Dream Theater's 13th album The Astonishing; it may even be too much for one single play through all at once. With over a little two hours of material, the band's second concept album features a wide range of styles matched by masterful song writing by guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess with strong lead vocals by James LaBrie. Considering the storyline and the need for many different characters, LaBrie plowed through and delivered a great performance. Songs like Three Days, The Path That Divides and Moment of Betrayal are some of the standout tracks. It will definitely take a few more listens by me to get the full experience.

Trivium - Silence in the Snow

I'm not that big of a fan for screaming/harsh vocals so to hear that Trivium finally did an album without any harsh vocals certainly stirred my interest. Released in October 2015, this album is the band's seventh release. It seems like the band is trying to move away from their traditional niche sound and more towards a deliberate, "popular" sound that was usually devoid from their previous releases. The title track, Blind Leading the Blind and The Ghost That's Haunting You still have crunching riffs but at a more relaxed pace.

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

After five years from their last album, Iron Maiden released their 16th and first double album back in September. The original release date and subsequent tour were delayed so singer Bruce Dickinson can recuperate from a small battle of cancer but the band is currently on tour supporting the album. Not straying from the band's signature post-2000 sound, the album has plenty of songs that herald as "classic" Maiden including Speed of Light, the title track and The Red and the Black. The album's last track runs at slightly over 18 minutes and can be referred to as a cinematic powerhouse. Another standout track is Tears of a Clown, whom bassist Steve Harris wrote it about Robin Williams' depression and suicide in 2014. The album is great by Maiden's standards and I think it's amazing that Dickinson did his vocals before receiving his cancer treatment.

What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It

*AUDRA* says:

As a relatively young band we've encountered and created a substantial amount of success in the few years we've been together. Of course, we've made our share (and then some) of mistakes, but here are some items I would like to share about things we have done that have worked really well that I think you will appreciate. 

1.        We trust, love, and respect each other. I've been very lucky that I've been playing and creating music with my best friend and guitarist Pat since we have been 10. My bassist, since 18. My drummer and keyboardist have been with us for 2 years, and we're family. Trust, love, and respect are the foundations upon our success. It's special, and something we don't take for granted. Without these three items, we'd be unable to accomplish anything. It may sound trite, but we encounter so many bands that are seemingly thrown together, or share the goal of money. It never works. Unless you live 24x7 for your music, your band, your career, and have people alongside doing the same thing, it never works. 

2.        We've invested heavily in ourselves. We have invested substantial sums of our time and our own money into Chaser Eight. We practice every Tuesday and Friday for several hours. New songs, live set, recording (check out Pat's CD Baby blog on the topic at http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/08/5-tips-to-improve-your-home-recordings-right-away/). We're always doing something. On weeks we have a show, we practice on Thursday and do several run-throughs of the set we are going to play. We have self-recorded three EPs, and our fourth was a HUGE studio  production. We're always working on improvement. We just don't show up and play. It's a well-rehearsed performance.  

3.        We have people that believe in us. The first time I met someone outside of my immediate circle of family and friends that said he believed in me, my world changed. Here was someone who believed in me! And he invested in us. Many people have invested in us, and we're incredibly humbled by their support. Their belief in us helps propel us forward.

4.        We network. We're our own #1 fans. We have invested heavily in social media. I think that the days of someone buying a concept album like Dark Side of the Moon and getting a group of friends together and listening to, and more importantly, discuss, the album are gone. Today, we are competing with single tracks for $.99 and thousands of other things to do on a night than go see a live show. To embrace this reality, we have marketed to our fans directly: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, internet radio, blogs, and word of mouth. We've promoted posts and tweets with our own money. We've invested in a PR agency, which has produced tremendous dividends for us. We have engaged a manager to control everything but our music, so we can focus where we need to. Everyone we meet knows who we are, gets a band business card, and is incentivized to connect with us online (special free tracks, content, etc.). We have built our site out extensively, and have many new items in the works, too. 

5.        We say NO. Perhaps the most overlooked thought is to say NO. We adhere to a very specific gig schedule to accommodate many event locations and promoters with whom we speak. We want to leave our audience wanting more. We don't want to play three nights a week, not because we don't want to play, but because we can't draw and engage our audience. This way, we aren't over-exposed, and we are able to give our existing fans, our new fans, and people interested in us a great product.

These five items are just a few of what's worked well for us. I could tell you them all, but I want to leave you wanting more…