It is always important for us, as music connoisseurs, to keep up with the current trends in music. So, here at Are You On, we decided to get on board with the current MySpace explosion and start opening our eyes and ears to all that has been made available through this convenient networking source. We will be scanning the pages of for anything musical that seems worthy of a few words. This is a source that gives us a chance to see an artist, as well as hear their music, by just clicking a few times. If you are an "old dog" and you want to learn the newest "trick," you can go to and see what all the rage is about. Or, better yet, you can just drop your eyes down below and we'll bring a few pages to you. Enjoy.
Scott "Dr. Music" Itter

Here's an artist that walks tall and carries his guitar like a battle axe.

Matt Beal is a guitar fanatic. As he says, "I love the way guitars sound. Nowadays, everyone tries to make guitars sound like everything but guitars." He also told me of his love for vintage guitars and guitar solos, and his appreciation of music "back when it had a message." With his debut disc, entitled "Contributions For An Atom Bomb," Beal has his guitar sound on display along with a few messages as well. Starting the disc with a recording of himself as a child, saying "I wanna sing it with my guitar," Beal rips into the title cut, and it quickly becomes obvious that his love for the instrument is something that has been thriving for many years. Listening to the classic rock guitar sound of "Guarantee" and the stylish sound he generates on "Things I Don't Need" is only the beginning of what Beal has accomplished here. The superb pop/rock zip of "Love's The Drug" is to die for, and the devastatingly heavy "Cuffyvitmitt" is an in-your-face, sock in the chops. Beal does quite a bit with his six-string assault weapon here, and he never leaves the realm of straight forward, good time rock and roll. I like that.

Besides being a fine musician, Matt Beal is also controlling his own destiny with an entrepreneurial venture. Corporate Anarchy Records is a label he founded with partner/musician Kori Lynn "out of the frustration of the limited thinking of the people we were meeting in the music industry." He says, "Part of why we founded Corporate Anarchy is to retain creative freedom and the right to say and do what we want as artists and musicians." Some of that creative freedom and bitterness toward the industry hounds can be heard on songs like "Get In," with lyrics as follows: First they tell you that they're on your team / But then you realize it ain't so / Everything may not be as it seems / Are you friend or are you foe / What you reap is what you sow / As above, so below. Let me just say that Beal has sown a rich crop here, and with his intelligent plan for Corporate Anarchy Records in full swing, harvest time is coming soon.


The "CS" in CS Audio Project stands for Curt Schatz, and it's really that simple. Curt Schatz has created five diverse tracks in which he plays guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals and, you guessed it, he produced, mixed, and engineered it too.

With his five song disc, "Cunning Visions," Curt Schatz exploits the marvels of recording technology while showing great dexterity of style. Schatz can be heard doing a Satriani-type guitar piece one minute ("Cunning Visions") and an 80's Brit-pop sound the next ("Now I Know"). The instrumentation and some of the sharp programming effects make "Cunning Visions" a very inviting listen. The real reason I chose to tell you about CS Audio Project was not only to praise "Cunning Visions," but to show all of you what Schatz has accomplished with some modern technology and a dream. He has constructed every note and spearheaded a complete package of songs with absolutely no outside help or influence. My thoughts of CS Audio Project always return to a photo that Schatz has on his MySpace profile. Just beside the darling picture of his twin daughters, he has an enhanced photo of himself sitting in a chair while there are four other visions of him playing all of the instruments that are heard on the disc. If any one picture could explain it all, this would be the one.

Schatz has truly defined "solo project," and has done it with the utmost in poise and modesty. Upon receipt of his "Cunning Visions" disc Schatz told me, "Honestly, I am just a musician who enjoys composing and recording original music. I do it for my own 'art,' if you will. If others hear it and they enjoy it, all the better." You just keep doing what you're doing for all the right reasons Curt, and rest assured, others will hear it and enjoy it.

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Here we go, another great prog band from America's Dairyland. I like to refer to these bands as the Wisconsin Prog Mob. Bands like Dimension X, Kopecky, and Battlestar Cadillactica have all been a part of a fertile soil of tremendous talent in the state of Wisconsin, particularly in the progressive rock and metal genres. With their own brand of hard rocking compositions, it's a difficult task trying to describe their sound. I like to think of it as King's X, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater hanging out at a King Crimson show. The band blends all of these influences into a delectable treat that is brimming with originality and expertise. The basic King Crimson dependability is the thread in which Strange Land has used to weave their canvas, and the King's X influence seems to be the primer for almost all of the tracks from their 2004 release, "Blaming Season." The heavy bass arrangements and the powerful upfront vocals are a driving force here; with guitar solos and complex drum charts that reflect the Dream Theater-type of partiality.

Listening to "Obliquity," the opening track from "Blaming Season," I am immediately reminded of King's X, but as the tune moves swiftly on I start to hear so many different reflections. Much the same can be said for the disc as a whole. From the wicked guitar solo that ends "In A Mind" and the abrupt time change that takes place in "Dear Helena," to the Queensryche-like conceptual spirit of "Below The After," Strange Land has become an original amalgamation of progressive wonderment.

Being just a few hours drive from many of these Wisconsin prog band gigs, I feel like I should fire up the vehicle on a nightly basis to delve deeper into this burgeoning scene. But, unfortunately, with a wife, a job, kids, and a sky rocketing gas market, I have yet to make my voyage into this progressive landscape. I can tell you one thing, though. With Strange Land playing gigs with talented acts like Kopecky and Dimension X on a consistent basis, it won't be long before Strange Land will be coming to me as part of a world tour.

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