Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coming Soon! The Indie Rock Collection

Sorry that my blog posts have fallen way behind the schedule that I wanted to keep. However, I've been busy with few new things for Modern Material that promise to be way better than reading about my thoughts on music and style!

Over the last 2 months I have found 30 amazing indie rock bands and singer/songwriters to collaborate on a Gift With $10 Purchase from Modern Material. All sales of $10 or more will receive a download card or code for all 30 songs absolutely FREE! I am really excited to be able to offer this promotion, because I know how excited I get any time I get even 1 song for free! A few months ago I bought tickets to see No Doubt for almost $100 per ticket! That's the most I have ever paid for a show, but to have the chance to see Gwen so close was worth it. But what really made my day was when I got an email with a code to download No Doubt's entire catalog for free! 84 songs total! Several of my ND CDs skipped on every song, so it was a great benefit for me! Anyway, I decided it was finally time to see what I might be able to pull together for a promotion.

I used to dedicate much of my free time to several artist street teams in the past. I love to promote indie bands, and be current on music before they become rock stars. It only seemed obvious to me that I tied together my rock inspired brand with rock music. Unsure how to tackle this project, I found help from a few friends in the industry and then started contacting bands, managers, or indie labels about the promotion. I received so many positive responses that things moved so much faster than I anticipated. It has also been a lot of work on top of getting a booth ready for a big weekend festival in a few weeks.

Things are finally wrapping up, and I plan on having everything ready to launch by June 15th. The website will feature artist profiles and preview clips of each song. Discover great independent music coming from L.A. to N.Y.C, many states in between, and even Canada.

Get ready to Shop. Rock & roll.

- a n n i e -

Sunday, April 19, 2009


There is something new in the world of rock and roll, created by an old favorite from the 90's. I'm talking about rocker Chris Cornell and his new album Scream, produced by hip hop master, Timberland.

It certainly is a departure from the sound of Cornell's bands, Soundgarden and Audioslave. Long time fans seem to have rather mixed reviews about the new album. Many seem to love the new sound, and others seem to think he "sold out", giving into the powers of the record label industry. I myself think the new album is rather brilliant. I bought a ticket months ago to Cornell's Cleveland House of Blues show. It was going to be my 3rd show (counting one Audioslave concert and one solo gig). From nearly 2 decades of his music, Audioslave produced several songs that will forever stand the test of time in my opinion. I really liked his last solo album, Carry On, but I never seemed to connect to it for some reason. My friend Jamie was truly the hard core Cornell fan, always anxious to catch a show. When the Scream tour was announced, I was certainly excited to go, but it wasn't reaching the top of my must see shows. I knew a new album was coming out, and truthfully that worried me. With only a month between the release and the show, I didn't think I would have enough time to ever get acquainted with the music, let alone have it resonate with me. But after getting a code for a free download of the entire album for purchasing a concert ticket, all of that changed.

I was a little confused when I first started playing the music. It wasn't anything even close to what I was expecting. The electronic sounds started pumping through my iMac speakers and until I heard the deep vocals of Chris Cornell, I wasn't sure what was playing. It was so different and I was instantly drawn to it. My first reaction was that it sounded more like Kanye West and reminiscent of Justin Timberlake. Quickly I started hearing the Timbaland influence and looked up the album to confirm the collaboration. I'm really not a huge fan of hip hop, but there are certainly many songs that are especially enjoyable for a night of dancing that rock and roll just can't offer. Scream just makes you want to get up and dance, have a great time, and step away from the darker and depressing sounds of rock and roll. I started listening to this album, over and over for days at work and in the car. Suddenly, the concert couldn't come soon enough.

Last Monday I left work early to make the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Cleveland in the pouring down rain. Our plan was to grab a quick dinner at the House of Blues and then be granted early entrance for the show. The bartender said the line had already formed so she boxed up our dinner to eat in line. By the time we got our food, there were already a few dozen fans waiting in the crusty back entrance. An hour later we entered the theater, and were able to find a place about 4 rows back from the stage. The crowd quickly filled in, making for a rather uncomfortable space, with people bumping, shoving and pushing, and it was still hours until Chris Cornell would even take the stage. Jamie and I started talking to several people around us, getting into long discussions about our favorite show, LOST, or having debates on who was the bigger Cornell, Pearl Jam, or Gavin Rossdale fan. Long live the 90's grunge bands. The Outernational opened the show. They were pretty good, and I need to remember to look them up on myspace. Then finally the erie electronic voice started to introduce Chris Cornell the way it does on Scream. I think a lot of people were afraid that the new sound would dominate the show. In a way I was hoping it would. I expected to hear several favorite Soundgarden and Audioslave songs as well. The night rocked on until the next day began. 31 songs graced the set list, giving a full range of music from the past and present. Classics such as Hunger Strike from Cornell & Eddie Vedder's Temple of the Dog, acoustic sets of Like a Stone, Fell on Black Days, and Doesn't Remind me. One of my favorite songs from Scream, Never Far Away, had me screaming at the top of my head. And the 90's anthem from my high school years, Black Hole Sun, closed out the show and ended with a bizarre elevator music style outro set to Black Hole Sun. The only song missing was my personal all time favorite song, Be Yourself, which is the song that wakes me up every single morning on my Blackberry.

The crowd was feeling every single song. Packed like sardines, we were a little weary of a few random drunk guys wanting to start a mosh pit. Fortunately most of the people surrounding us were cool enough to prevent the crazies from pushing everyone. We became protective of our space and nobody would allow newcomers to weasel their way in front. There was one obnoxious guy who kept pushing my foot around trying to find a pic thrown into the crowd. He's lucky I didn't break his finger with my heel which was in severe pain from the 6 hours spent standing. He found a pic only to somehow lose it a few minutes later and continue to bitch about it for an hour. Why he spent more time whining about the pic rather than watching the show, I do not understand. I already had a pic from the last show, so it seemed pointless to me to waste my time looking for one on the ground. A few rows up in front, 3 young boys around 10 years old caught Cornell's attention and one of them scored his black leather jacket which he tossed into the crowd. He was very interactive with the crowd, even accepting a request from a girl in front of us who wrote Loud Love on a piece of paper and passed it up on stage. And at some point he invited another girl up on stage to sing Happy Birthday to her friend. I managed to get a few decent pictures, but not too many since the lighting was low and the crowd was pushy. During the encore break, Jamie and I decided to leave our spots up front to make our way to the back. The feeling was completely different, and I'm glad we endured the noisy crowded group up front because it's not the same to rock out with the mellow fans in the back. And like Cornell mentioned during the show, you just have to stand up and kick it at a rock concert. Then just like Cinderella at the ball, the clock struck midnight and it was time for us to scurry back to our carriage which meant another hour standing and waiting for the Valet to retrieve the car.

SET LIST (Cleveland, OH 4.13.09):
Part of Me
No Such Thing
You Know My Name
Burden In My Hand
Pretty Noose
Hunger Strike
Preaching The End of the World
Loud Love (By Request)
Show Me How to Live
Ground Zero
Never Far Away
Billy Jean
What You Are
Rusty Cage
Heavens Dead

I Am the Highway
Can't Change Me
Seasons (with entire band)
Fell on Black Days
Like A Stone
Doesn't Remind Me

Cochise (with strobe lights)
Watch Out
Let Me Drown
Spoonman -Good Times Bad Times- Spoonman

The Day I Tried to Live
Black Hole Sun

With only 2 hours of sleep, a large Redbull, and my iPod playing Scream, I powered my way through another day designing accessories. It took several days to recover from the fatigue, but it was worth every minute. I hope everyone gets the chance to listen to this album. The last I checked, it was still available on iTune's for $7.99. The album is also designed to listen to as a whole. Each song has an intro and outro that flows into each other. Certain songs are a little choppy at the beginning or end if listening out of order. This is my only negative comment regarding the album because I often like to make playlists to mix it up.

Fans of Chris Cornell should also follow him on Twitter. He has been making dozens of tweets each day, reminding you that he is just a normal guy taking photos of himself in the mirror or stuck at the airport trying to find a cup of coffee.


My Concert Count: 151
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I chose to write my first post on a band who is on the top of my list for the moment. There may be posts where I decide to feature a more well known band, simply because I want to. Even though some of these bands have signed major record deals, they still are hidden gems in the American music industry in comparison to music tycoons like U2 or high rising artists like The Fray, who were once my undiscovered indie gem years ago.

British Rock is the most influential music genre for Modern Material. One band I just can't stop listening to is The Kooks. It's feel good music that will brighten up my day or help wake me up on my long commute to work every morning. A few years ago my friend Jamie had me listen to a few songs off the 2006 album, Inside In / Inside Out. But it wasn't until she took me to a show at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH, this past fall. I thought I would enjoy the show, but expected to only know the few songs I heard on CD101. Somehow I thought I knew almost every song they played that night, but I really just think the music was so uplifting it had a familiar feel. I remember being disappointed when I pulled out my camera and realized I forgot to put a memory card in it. As a designer and music fanatic, I crave the perfect photograph as a memento from each show. So the ones on my Black Berry just didn't cut it.

Jamie and I were having her husband drive by and pick us up at the Newport, so she told me it was time to go before the show was over. Normally I refuse to leave a show until the lights come on. We thought we'd just miss the encore song, but as we stood outside in the cold, with no ride in sight, I could hear the happy sounds from the inside seeping out the doors. I felt like a kid in a candy store, crying for more candy. And then it was over. The crowd filled the street, and we realized we would have to hike a few blocks to catch our ride. The following day I bought both albums on iTunes, Inside In/Inside Out and Konk. I have this rule where I won't buy an entire album on iTunes because I would rather have the physical CD and packaging to admire. But I didn't feel like driving a few miles down the road to find a music store. I wanted the damn candy.

The Kooks are composed of singer/guitarist Luke Pritchard, lead guitarist Hugh Harris, bassist Max Rafferty and drummer Paul Garred. This UK rock band has made waves from across the pond. With songs like She Moves In Her Own Way and Mr. Maker, the Kooks resemble a modern day version of The Beatles. The steady upbeat beats and vocals could make way for a new British Invasion. The quieter, more mellow songs like Seaside, One Last Time, Shine On and Sway still have this undeniable power to make you move along to the rhythm, tap your foot, drum on your steering wheel or mouse, and sing along.

Quoted from The Kooks website..."If it doesn't make you feel good, then what's the point?" says Luke. "There's too much drab shoe-gazing sh*t around. I hate all that cack. You've to push through it. That's where you get great songs."

There are currently no tour dates in the US. Check out their website for updates.
The Kooks Official Web Site
The Kooks MySpace

With each new post or review, I intend to include my fashion set list, which is a collection of clothing, accessories, and beauty products that along with the music review, inspire me as I look for the next great design for Modern Material. This week is titled European Rock Royalty, likely to be a regular category featured in this blog. Dominated by black & white with blush accents, ornate chain link details, and floral elements, this set is classy and elegant yet says rocker chick without screaming it.

THE KOOKS - European Rock Royalty
THE KOOKS - European Rock Royalty - by Modern Material on

- a n n i e -

Shop, Rock & Roll

I decided it was finally time to create a weekly blog to feature new music material from up and coming musicians. I would consider myself a bit of an indie music junkie, anxious to discover new music and support the indie community. With attendance at over 150 concert performances and past dedication to musician street teams, I decided it was time to incorporate my passion for music with my commitment to develop her own product line.

I hope to turn Modern Material into a weekly online destination for shopping, music & fashion for the indie lifestyle. The weekly music & style review is designed to connect shoppers to hot new music and bring music fans to a trendy little place to find rocker influenced apparel and accessories.

Featured artists will most likely be from genres including Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, British Rock, Acoustic Rock and Signer/Songwriters. However, there are always exceptions when music moves you.

My plan each week is to choose a song or album to review and stream music from the blog. I will be searching for new artists to interview and share their music and fashion style. Relevant information such as album releases and tour dates will be noted. Photos and links to their MySpace page or web site will be accessible to encourage new fans to to join their communities. A fashion “set list” inspired by their music will also be created. These fashion sets will not be limited to the Modern Material brand. They will be reminiscent of style guides found in every fashion magazine, to inspire a new look.

If you are a musician or manager interested in having your music featured on Modern Material, please see my contact information on If selected, you will be notified of the date your blog feature will be slated to appear. A banner with your band will appear on the home page of the week of your highlight. The only request is that you share a reciprocal link or banner to the Modern Material home page with your fans.

I am also open to suggestions to check out your favorite indie musician. I spend all day listening to indie radio stations online, and have a long list of my favorite new artists. I love to catch shows at intimate venues as frequently as possible. The excitement of seeing and hearing one of your favorite bands up close and personal is amazing. And leaving a show with a new CD from an awesome opening act is even better.

Click over to the web store and find some rock and roll flair to wear to you next concert.

MODERN MATERIAL web boutique
Shop, Rock & Roll.

- a n n i e -


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones