I’ve held off entering the “review” world for a long time. It’s not that I don’t have opinions or something to say, it’s more that a true “reviewer” is probably willing to tell you what they think sucks, as well as what they think is worth your time. Also, I’ve given honest reviews in the past, that I thought were very accurate and constructive, that ended up with good friends feeling butt-hurt. I hate doing that, but if you don’t actually want my opinion, don’t freaking ask for it. I’ve never given a “review” that I’ve felt wasn’t useful feedback to an artist, and something they could use to improve their craft.
I’d consider what I do to be “recommendations”, more than “reviews”, because if I choose to write about you, it will be positive. There’s enough awesome music out there that I don’t have the need or desire to spend my time writing about music that doesn’t connect with me. I’d much rather let my audience know about artists that rock my world. So with that said, if you are an artist that fits the genres we promote, PLEASE let us know about you! Just like I don’t have time to give bad reviews, I also don’t have time to search out every band within these genres to promote. However, nothing gets my nut more that discovering a band I am not familiar with that just makes the hair on my neck stand up.
I want to make the submission guidelines as easy and straight-forward as possible. And keep in mind, even if we don’t post a public recommendation, it doesn’t mean we may not play you on our podcast. Making the recommendations page is WAY more difficult. But if you truly believe in what you’re doing, I encourage you to go for it! What do you have to lose!
Here are the minimum submission requirements:
*Bandcamp or Website URL where I can listen to (and possibly purchase) your music. If you do not have either of these, you are NOT ready to share your music with the world.
Provided you can fill out the rest of the required info on the submission form, this is really the only thing absolutely necessary. However, please read the list below of my “pet peeves”, and try to avoid those as well.
- Please be willing to include a bandcamp code, dropbox location, or some way I can download your music and take it offline. I have a specific listening environment set up, where I can give your music my full attention. When I am online, I am constantly getting emails, Facebook popups, IMs, etc. When doing a review, i want to give the music and artist the respect they deserve, and it’s just not conducive to do so when on my computer.
- Please make sure the production is listenable. If it sounds like it was recorded on a boom-box in your practice space, or so distorted that I can’t tell what each person is actually playing, I can’t recommend your submission.
- Please make sure the vocals aren’t mixed so hot that it sounds like karaoke. If the music is buried so far beneath the vocals, that it sounds like someone singing over a backing track, it is not ready to submit.
- If you bury the drums and bass so far back in the mix that it sounds like all guitar and vocal, you are not ready to submit.
- Please make sure your submission sounds “balanced”. What do I mean by that? Well, try not to submit a full album, if all you really had time to record was 2 tracks. I’ve heard too many releases where it was dead obvious that the band spent all their production time on 2 tracks, but put out a full length album of songs that mostly sound rushed or not well mixed. Believe me, if your time and/or budget only allows you to put maximum effort and production into 2 or 3 tracks, you are better off doing just that and nothing more.
So, exactly what is it I look for? I look for artists that sound “complete” and releases that sound “complete”. For a band to feel complete to me, every member has to feel/sound like it needs to be there, starting with the drums. So much is made about singers and guitarists, but if your drummer is weak, your whole band is weak. The best singer or guitarist in the world can’t save a band with a weak drummer. They just can’t be dropping beats, or sound like they have no idea how to tune their kit. This extrapolates out to the rest of the band. This doesn’t mean everybody in the band needs to be a virtuoso or anything. Your drummer doesn’t have to be Neil Peart; Your bass player doesn’t have to be Les Claypool or John Entwistle. A competent, straight-forward drummer who can carry a solid pocket, is far more valuable that a flashy drummer who can’t quite come out of a fill on time.
For an album/Ep to feel complete, it should have some dynamics and diversity. I’m not saying that every song should be so different from each other that it is impossible to get a feel for who the band is, or what genre they lean towards. But, if you are submitting an album that feels like a slight variation on a theme, and the tone, tempo, and structure is exactly the same from track to track, that will get old really fast. Nobody has ever tried to sell me on an album by saying “The great thing is that every song sounds the same, so if you like one, you’ll like them all”. Some nuance and variation within the music is not a bad thing : )