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Going indie

This year's GRAMMY nominations did not include any surprises except the nod for Scissor Sisters' "Comfortably Numb" in the Best Dance category (up against Kylie and Britney). I was surprised the band was nominated for the song, because I don't remember this track was released as a single in North America. A quick check at Amazon indeed shows that the single CD can only be purchased as an import.

Scissor Sisters' nomination is a welcome compliment from the GRAMMY snobs who usually award mediocrity or chart success, and often suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to recognizing new talent.

Take for example Casey Stratton who released his debut "Standing At The Edge" on Sony's Odyssey label this year. In the vein of Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan, the album is an impressive slice of emo-filled piano pop. The CD was overlooked in the meanstream media, but could potentially have done well on adult-contemporary radio.

I've been reading Casey's blog and it is interesting to get a personal take on his dealings with Sony, and his opinions about ClearChannel and others who bring new music to the masses.

Good news is that Stratton has decided to take matters in his own hands. He writes me in an email that he asked Sony to be let out of his deal with them early, and they obliged. "I just don't think major labels are good for singer/songwriters anymore and I was tired of being treated like shit all the time and being bossed around.  It is MY music after all," he writes.

Fans of Stratton will be pleased to learn that the crooner is working on a new album that he will put out independently. The CD will be titled "Divide" to reflect the current political situation in the U.S. and his split with Sony.

Musically, his sound expands on what he presented on his debut. "There are a lot more vocals and such. Also, on this one I am using more rhythms," he writes. There is a bit more focus on the drums than before. In fact, many of the songs began as nothing more than a drum loop that I liked and decided to write chords on top of."

Stratton expects to release "Divide" early 2005.

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