25 years of Indies Records

I had the opportunity to attend the 25th anniversary festival of Indies Records last month. Indies Records, founded 25 years ago and later split to Indies Scope, Indies MG and Indies Happy Trails, has always been a great music label supporting Czech high quality alternative and non-commercial music. They did a lot of hard work to support good music one can listen to. Most Czech music I buy comes from Indies or from artists related to the label; Indies was also one of the first Czech labels selling non-DRM music on-line.

The party was great. I could enjoy my favorite bands as well as music previously unknown to me. Good music is about freedom and sharing, sharing emotions, something fine and our love for music. Good music provides variety one can choose from, without artificial barriers we often meet in our everyday lives. And that was felt in the audience, consisting of both Indies musicians and Indies fans, during the party.

Thank you, Indies Records, and happy next years!

eMusic gone

I’ve been a satisfied eMusic customer for several years. Their interesting catalog providing unrestricted mp3 (even in the era of DRM madness) for reasonable subscription prices allowed me to find a lot of good music which I would have missed otherwise. About a month ago they notified me without further details that they no longer provide services in my area and that my subscription was cancelled. It was somewhat strange, but they were fair and refunded my whole year subscription.

Although I liked eMusic I don’t regret it much. Nowadays there are other alternatives available, offering good music for reasonable prices and with standard selling model instead of the subscription service. So it’s time to start spending money on music elsewhere. I’ll start with picking my favorites from Indies Records and I’m also going to look at Magnatune. Any other tips for nice music mp3 shops?

Autopilote

About once a year I manage to attend a live music show. This year I’ve chosen Autopilote (Fajt, Smeykal, Yumiko, Holý, Václavek). I watched them in Noc s Andělem on TV a few weeks ago and I liked the music, thinking it might be nice to listen to it live. This opportunity came yesterday and the concert was great, incomparable to what I could previously hear on TV. For me the music is catching and original, I’ve never heard something like this, it just evokes (not surprisingly) some Brno roots. Recommended.

Mike Oldfield — Incantations

Mike Oldfield’s Incantations is a nice piece of music to listen to during hot summer days. Like many Oldfield works, it may not sound that great on the first (maybe also second or third) listening (“huh, who would like to listen to all the long repetitions?”) but then, as aptly expressed by someone on the net, it falls on you. I’ve listened to this last of the initial great Oldfield’s works many times through the last years and it has never bored me. So if you can find opportunity to spend an hour and a quarter at a calm place without being disrupted, you can try to enjoy the repetitive patterns of Incantations.

Czech alternative music

There are many interesting artists in the area of Czech independent music. Some of them succeeded to get rather popular, Iva Bittová, Radůza, Psí vojáci, Už jsme doma, Tara Fuki are relatively well known today. Not that everyone here has ever heard about all of them, but probably none of them is unknown to anybody who watches Czech alternative a bit.

But there are still many less known artists and bands among them who make great music. Just a few tips here. Dagmar Andrtová-Voňková is an excellent guitarist and singer-songwriter. If you’d like to listen to great guitar performances quite different of what you can usually hear, don’t miss her works. Another very interesting person is Vladimír Václavek, all his music is very impressive, whether it comes from his solo works, from cooperation with Iva Bittová or from some of his (and other people) bands such as Rale. Whether you like Irish music or not, the band Dún an doras performs it in such an excellent way that you’d probably enjoyed it anyway. I’ve listened to them once live in a small pub and it was a great experience. Of course their recordings are excellent as well. And I’ve already mentioned Sestry Steinovy here some time ago.

BTW all the names mentioned above have something common – at least one album in the catalog of the Indies Records label and at least one of them available on eMusic. What Indies Records does is really great and all the great music is available thanks to them.

Sestry Steinovy

I’ve recently listened to the album Můj tanec by Sestry Steinovy several times. This album is one of those which may sound as somewhat simple first, but later you can find it’s very nice and interesting. Based on two voices, two guitars and often ironic but thoughtful lyrics, complemented with typical Jablkoň sound, it’s really a good piece of music. Recommended, as well as many other less known artists from the Indies Records label.