Happy release day to Karl Blau and The World of Dust! Today, their joint effort Blue Herons sees the light of day on Tiny Room Records. On this 7″ split record, the experimental lo-fi indie rockers from both sides of the world provide new recordings about their former and present hometowns. A limited edition of 200 vinyl copies is available in our webshop.
The World of Dust made a video for his song The Life of Gods, which is about moving with his family from Hoograven, Utrecht to the nearby village Bilthoven, in the Netherlands. Find it on licensing partner Hidden Shoal’s YouTube channel:
We are very happy to announce that Combo Qazam’s debut album Flight Music is released today on Tiny Room Records!
The ten songs shift from math rock guitars to kraut rhythms, while maintaining a dense and intense mid-fi indie sound that fans of experimental rock such as Wire, Battles, Beak>, Pinback and Tortoise will enjoy.
Empty shells. Photoshopped audiences. The appearance of importance. Logorrhea deals with the shallow sides of social media today. Embrace the emptiness, lock yourself in the eerie grooves of the song, and stay true to yourself.
You can also preorder the LP Flight Music now on our Bandcamp webshop:
Glad to finally announce this: we are putting out a split 7″ record of The World of Dust with Karl Blau! How amazing is that… The joint effort is called Blue Herons, will come out on June 5, 2020 and both artists contributed with songs about the places they live or lived. There are only 200 copies available. Pre-orders are up now in our Bandcamp store.
Karl’s side of the wax is a cover of Pounding Serfs (an 80s K Records band), which became the theme song for Anacortes, Washington State, USA. The lovely, seaside village of Anacortes was Blau’s home for 25 years, until his recent move to Philadelphia.
In The Life of Gods, Stefan from The World of Dust describes the move his family made four years ago from Hoograven, Utrecht, The Netherlands to the nearby village Bilthoven.
Last month, we put out Combo Qazam’s new single Owls. It has a repetitive groove for the first 39 seconds. Then, the vocals kick in at 0:58. Although we hardly define this as experimental, the composition doesn’t seem to fit this modern era. The Spotify skip rate is too high to have success on the platform. We submitted the song through SubmitHub and the bloggers and playlist editors declined to share the song for the following reasons:
There are some cool kraut tendencies in the song’s propulsive mood; I think that for me the song might have taken 20 seconds too long to really kick on…it’s hard to wait for a minute for something to drop in when someone stops by a site focused on singles…usually research shows they just click on after 30 seconds…
personally I found the track’s intro felt a bit too lengthy and repetitive in comparison to the track as a whole for my liking
Thanks for submitting. Sweet song. the intro is a bit too long.
thanks a lot for the song. we have to decline here because for our taste the intro is too long.
The seeming polyrhythms here I thought were cool. But felt like the build was a bit long and didn’t quite take me somewhere.
Combo Qazam didn’t think about the attention span of the listener when they made the song. They didn’t even call it an ‘intro’. The word ‘intro’ is used to define the part of the song before the lyrics start. But in some cases, especially in experimental music, krautrock, indie music etc., lyrics and vocals aren’t more important than the rest of the music. As is the case with Combo Qazam. It’s about the mood, the energy, the vibe and the concept. You got to adjust your heartbeat to the pace of the song first. You got to have the chance to be sucked in.
And why do these blogs have names containing words like ‘DIY’ and ‘indie’, if they care so much about Spotify algorithms? The whole idea about indie music is that you can (and have to) create what you want, apart from what the industry demands. Right?
So where do these comments come from? Well, research shows that these are the skip rates on Spotify:
24.14 percent likelihood of skipping to the next song in the first 5 seconds.
28.97 percent in the first 10 seconds
35.05 percent in the first 30 seconds
48.6 percent skip before the song finishes
So what should we do? We don’t know. This is merely an observation. Is the 30-second-user-attention-span causing the end of experimental music? Or did we never stand a chance to make it in the digital realms, with even a modestly weird choice: a minute-long ‘intro’? How can you like krautrock, but think that 39 seconds of repetitiveness is boring? Do these bloggers, playlist editors and music consumers enjoy foreplay when having sex, or skip right to the intercourse?
In the meantime, Spotify makes sure you won’t get any money if you experiment with song structures. You only get paid from Spotify if someone listens to your song for 30 seconds or more. If 35% of the people skips the first 30 seconds, you won’t get any income from those plays. Also, for users who are not logged in on their Spotify account, the embedded player (for instance on your artist website) only plays a 30-second long audio preview of each song. Not enough, right? Apart from money, it won’t count as a ‘stream’ in your data as well. Which won’t help with your algorithmic venture into fame. It will tell promoters, journalists etc. that you suck, basically.
If you want your indie music to be featured in blogs, if you want plays on Spotify, if you want the $0,006 revenue per stream, and if you want the attention of today’s music listener, you better kill your ‘intro’ and bring your catchy choruses up front. But at Tiny Room Records we care about the music, creative freedom and artistic vision too much, so we will try to find other ways to get our music to be heard out there. There has got to be another way, right?
Written by Stefan Breuer, founder of Tiny Room Records With help from Gino Miniutti, guitar player of Combo Qazam
The debut album by Dutch post-punk band Combo Qazam is called ‘Flight Music’ and will be released by Tiny Room Records on May 20, 2020. The ten songs shift from math rock guitars to kraut rhythms, while maintaining a dense and intense mid-fi indie sound that fans of experimental rock such as Wire, Battles, Beak>, Pinback and Tortoise will enjoy.
All tour dates before summer have been postponed because of the coronavirus situation, but we still wanted to get this album out there on the planned release date. We worked hard on it and are proud of it. A lot of bands are postponing their releases, but we figured you people need more weird guitar rock to flee from reality. ‘Flight Music’ provides this escape. Stay tuned for pre-orders. In the meantime, listen to the singles Ions and Owls on Spotify. The amazing cover art was made by James O’Malley from Cleveland, Ohio.
Combo Qazam‘s second single Owls is a fast-paced race through the concrete jungle of Western life. Shattered dreams are lying on the pavement, while you’re being laughed at by wise creatures – which might be the owls, or the clownlike guitars in the chorus. The song shows no mercy and no way back, just the possibility to keep up with the rhythm section and hope for the best. And the best is probably just to try to keep standing.
Microplaza released their second album ‘We’ll Never Fit In This Poem Together’ yesterday! Get your copy here. There was supposed to be a release show, but of course we had to come up with something digital (and had a lovely party on Facebook with this semi-live video).
‘We’ll never fit in this poem together’ is the follow-up to Microplaza’s self-titled debut, which was praised for its combination of accessibility and alienation. The duo returns with six flawless indie miniatures: more consistent, darker and more intense than the debut, but just as inventive and surprising.
Microplaza is the indie pop duo of multi-instrumentalist Arno Breuer (Combo Qazam, Lost Bear) and singer Benjamin van Vliet (Microwolf, Moi, le voisin), formed after a call from Arno on Facebook to make music together. Arno writes the music, Benjamin completes the songs with his lyrics and music.
‘We’ll never fit in this poem together’ is a mini album that says a lot in a short time and remains accessible at the same time. An album that invites without temptation and has wisdom without giving answers. Benjamin and Arno have found each other again, in a musical landscape somewhere between Sparklehorse, Thom Yorke, WHY? and Thee More Shallows.
Microplaza will perform their new mini-album ‘We’ll Never Fit In This Poem Together’ this Saturday, 15:00, on the Tiny Room Records Facebook timeline. This semi-live quarantine video is the substitute to the live show that was originally planned in Dig It! Recordstore, Utrecht. Since meeting physically is not possible at the moment, we do what we can. So we offer this specially prepared ‘semi-live’ performance with live versions of the songs on the record, recorded remotely.
Stay at home, stay healthy. Watch and celebrate this 10-minute performance with us, and afterwards have a drink and talk in a Zoom session! After that, the remaining records (limited edition of 30 7″ records) will be for sale in the Tiny Room webshop.
Update on the corona situation from the Tiny Room Records HQ. At this point it feels a bit strange to continue work as planned. In some cases, continuation is also impossible because of closed facilities and the fact that we stay at home as much as possible. Tiny Room is a non-profit organization, and luckily we won’t loose a lot of money. Some of our bands have cancelled shows, which always sucks but is not the most important thing right now. We feel for the artists who made this their jobs. Hang in there!
Although putting out records is not our main income, it is one of the main reasons we live and enjoy life: making and sharing art and music. Being homebound, we expect more new stuff very soon. Probably from the musicians without kids, because after a week with two kids (age 3 and 6) in the Tiny Room HQ, we didn’t see a lot of recording happening 😉
We also have planned releases that we want to keep sharing. There is some upcoming vinyl and upcoming tours, and we’ll see what the best options are with every release. What do YOU want? Should we keep releasing things digitally? Should we keep promoting new music? Putting out and sending out new records? Is there still a demand for that? Is this a time when people have more time to listen to new music, or do they have other things on their mind?
For now, these are the upcoming releases with the current status:
April 11 – Microplaza – We’ll Never Fit In This Poem Together Digital release will go live on April 11. We are still awaiting the 7″ vinyl records. There is a release show planned on April 12 in Dig It! Recordstore in Utrecht, but when we have to postpone it, we’ll celebrate the physical release at a later point. We will still send out packages as long as the postal offices stay open.
May 20 – Combo Qazam – Flight Music Same story: digital release will go live, promotion will proceed. If we don’t have the vinyl or have to cancel the release tour (May 20-23) we’ll celebrate and sell this beautiful slab of vinyl later this year.
Another cool release was almost finished, a split 7″ between The World of Dust and Karl Blau. It was set for April 7, but we can’t finish the sleeves at the moment and we are postponing this release until we can do right to this release.
Hang in there, stay at home, stay positive, listen/share music, ideas, thoughts and look out for each other in this strange times.