Monday, July 12, 2010

A Week of Independents

It's Independent Music Week here at Verbosity!

Monday through Friday I'll be celebrating the musical efforts of true independents - acts that have consciously foregone major label support/ClearChannel venues/payola and forged careers for themselves the hard way. I have a lot of admiration for all of these groups/individuals, and I hope you'll take a chance on some of them.

Today's spotlighted artist:

Common Rotation.

Let's get this out of the way: Yes, Adam Busch is the nerdy dude from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Warren, aka the guy who made Willow really, really sad. Yes, he's also the co-lead-singer for Common Rotation.

That doesn't matter, though.

What matters is that Common Rotation writes and performs sparkly little pop gems (historically) and largely-effective folk/bluegrass songs (recently). What matters is that they do this, and make something of a living from it, entirely because they've worked to build a devoted fanbase from the ground up. They're successful, not because they've convinced a bottled water company to license their songs, and not because they've got a management company that's paying radio stations to play their songs, but because they tour hard and communicate well with their fans.

Openly contemptuous of the established music industry and ClearChannel's monopolistic business practices Common Rotation established a "Living Room Tour" in 2004, eschewing ClearChannel-owned venues, middlemen, and corporate promotion and literally playing in the living rooms of their fans - an experience they documented with the film "How To Lose" (you can view the trailer here).

I admire the group's ethos, their humor, and their way with harmony and melody. I'm a bigger fan of their pop stuff than I am of their recent turn into bluegrass and folk, but I enjoy everything they've recorded. Here's a random assortment of their music for you to try.

A Sampling of Common Rotation:

Covering Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel"

"Sit Down"/"The First Time"

CR covers They Might Be Giants' "Don't Let Start"
"Offstage Lines"
Joining The Indigo Girls on "Closer to Fine"
Covering Outkast's "Rosa Parks" with Martin Starr

You can visit Common Rotation's website for tour dates, music and merchandise by clicking here.


  1. Rapping Martin Starr! I never thought I would see that.

    Offstage Lines was nice, especially that trumpet near the end.

  2. A rapping Martin Starr is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

    Offstage Lines may be my favorite song of theirs (that, or "Savior"). You can find it on the album "The Big Fear."