Twitch: Entertainment Site for Gamers, eSports, and Musicians

Integration with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PC, laptops, and mobile iOS and Android platforms has as the site of choice for gamers. The site is a hub for live-streaming and video for primarily video games and eSports, but Twitch is expanding into areas that include music and community or special events. 

The largest part of this site is probably eSports, which can attribute its explosive growth in a great way to live streaming, of which Twitch has played an important part. eSports and Twitch have a mutually beneficial relationship; one that will continue now the site is part of Amazon. This backing has given Twitch the confidence and resources to expand from game presenting, live streaming from big gaming conventions, gaming talk shows, and video games in general into other areas like music, poker, and special events. 

Twitch Expands to Music 

Twitch is making expansions in music oriented content now as well. This began with the streamed performance of Video Games Live in July 2013 at the San Diego Comic-Con and the live performance broadcast of Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music DJ, from a nightclub in Ibiza in July of 2014. As of the beginning of 2015 an official category for music streams has been introduced on Twitch, also becoming the official live streaming partner of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Another music initiative is the Twitch Music Library that includes a library of songs that are pre-cleared for broadcasters to use live and with VODs (past broadcasts or highlights) on Twitch. The collection in the library includes at least 500 songs that broadcasters can actually use in their streams for free. This is a clear initiative to connect artists looking for exposure to their music with broadcasters seeking music to use in their video streams.

The music is provided by burgeoning and established labels and artists. Many of the early adopters of the Twitch music scene are fans of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), but Twitch is looking to adopt other genres like hip-hop, metal, and alternative. Slospeak, a label that represents the San Francisco based band known as Talkie falls into the latter genre. Though the music produced by the band defies some traditional labels, it seems to fall into the alternative rock category with influences of power pop and 90s alternative. Power pop has been characterized as a mixture of hard rock and melodic pop music, having distinctive harmony singing, strong melodic lines, unforgettable guitar riffs, and lyrics about girls and boys in love. Many people believe The Beatles were the source point musically for the characteristics present in the genre. Talkie has all the makings of a power pop band with a knack for writing heartfelt anthems about life, love, and loss, defying classifications for what a rock band should sound like, so perhaps it won’t be long before Twitch becomes a portal for this specific genre.

Twitch Expands to Poker 

Poker on Twitch is a gaming genre that is gaining momentum, in part due to players like Jason “JCarver” Somerville pushing live streaming of online poker games. As a result of the popularity he gained from using the platform, other players are now creating their own channels on Twitch as well. Mark Kennedy, an Australian poker professional, is just one of the many players who are now on Twitch. Kennedy recently became a Player Ambassador for the online poker giant Full Tilt Poker, with his own channel streaming on Twitch in addition to having his channel hosted on Twitch site Full Tilt Live on Saturday afternoons UK time. Kennedy in the role of intermediary between player/fan and Full Tilt Poker is an example of how a company can create a direct link to its consumer to create a better product. 

Twitch Expands to other Entertainment Possibilities 

In addition to these music offerings, Twitch has a promotional program for unique content events as well. They are reaching out to more and more people in the entertainment world, specifically the music and television industries, to find and provide new and exciting content experiences on the site. As mentioned earlier, Twitch has partnered with Ultra to stream live concerts from one of the biggest Electronic Music festivals in the world directly on Twitch.

They are also working with HBO and USA to broadcast shows called Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot from the respective television networks. The new promotion is called Twitch Specials and is expected to draw unique content events like show premiers and music festivals for Twitch viewers. In fact, the company hopes to encourage artists to not only produce tracks live for a dedicated Music category, but they also hope viewers and musicians will review the work of other artists on these streams.

Though Twitch is a currently a gamer oriented site, the non-gaming music activities and events are expected to fit seamlessly into the culture.


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Singles: Squeeze, Bill Lloyd, The School, Mia Milan, SA Reyners

The Video Jukebox
Here is a sampling of some new singles from Power Popaholic’s picks. Some artists are new and some are old, but they are highly recommended, and deserve to be heard!
Squeeze returns with “Happy Days” from the upcoming album “Cradle to the Grave”

Bill Lloyd “Yesterday” from the upcoming CD “Miracle Mile”

The School “Do I Love You” from their upcoming album “Wasting Away And Wondering”

Australian singer Mia Milan “I Won’t Cry”

New Zealand’s own SA Reyners “The Other Way”

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Travel Lanes and The Bazillions

The Bellfuries

Travel Lanes “Let’s Begin To Start Again”

Its been a while since the last Travel Lanes album, and Frank Brown (Flight of Mavis, Buzz Zeemer) channels power pop influences like Cheap Trick and Elvis Costello on the opener “Class Trip” with its hook filled chorus and rumbling guitar chords. The follow up “In The World” is a jangle rock song about memories of the prettiest girl (in the world.) “No Go” is like an early U2 song, but played with simple rhythm and rich layered instrumentation.

The infectious “100th I Told You” has a quick tempo and quirky lyric like a Squeeze song and then the solid alt country “The Year” follows it, and Brown is at his best “when the wheels fell apart” on his year. The next few songs channels Tom Petty’s style from the catchy “TA” to the slower “Death,” where he tries to trick the Grim Reaper at his door with a very memorable opening line. The fuzzy guitar on “Cream Soda” is another treat and every track is solid. Brown has upped his game here and you should not miss it. Highly Recommended.

CD Baby

The Bazillions

The Bazillions “On the Bright Side”

On a rare occasion I find a “kids” pop album that will appeal to parents even more than they may expect. “Super Hero Rock Band” imagines a group of comic book heroes jamming together as a way to unwind, and Batman sounds like Johnny Marr. The song reminds me of a slower, calmer version of Weezer. The power pop on “Use A Contraction” may sound basic, but the arrangement is tight and harmonies sparkle here.

The guitar lead melody “My Teacher’s An Alien” is another gem with some great uncommon chord progressions. Like the classic Schoolhouse Rock series, some songs really do teach concepts, as “Personification,” “Q and U”and “Water Cycle” are catchy and more intelligent than typical dumbed-down kid music (I’m looking at you, Wiggles). The earnest “Bad Haircut” is a well written ballad about your first trip to the barber. Overall a fun and memorable pop LP that you can share with your kids.


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The Bellfuries and The Anderson Council

The Bellfuries

Bellfuries “Workingman’s Bellfuries”

Austin, TX band The Bellfuries are back, and they go way back to the “roots” of power pop by incorporating ‘60s pop melodies with R&B rhythms and soul on their latest album Workingman’s Bellfuries. Vocalist and chief songwriter Joey Simeone chooses not to get hung up on genre categories, but fans of The Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins, or Richie Valens will surely love this music.

Wonderfully produced the band starts with “Loving Arms,” a danceable country shuffle with a sweet hook. The traditional songs like “Bad Seed Sown” benefit from Simeone’s strong vocal and dynamic phrasing. “Make The Mystery No More” has a Phil Spector-like arrangement, using the multi-tracking to deliver great harmonies. “Letter To My Maybe Baby” and “Beaumont Blues” are my favorites here; pure Everly inspired magic. It also includes a great cover of The Beatles “She’s A Woman.” Its no wonder that there are no weak points or filler in this entire album. Highly Recommended!


The Anderson Council

The Anderson Council “Listening Party” EP

Peter Horvath and team had a good idea with Listening Party, as it would feature each of its band members recording an original single and then a favorite cover song. Opening with Christopher Ryan’s “Questions About Animals” it sounds almost nothing like a Council song, and feels heavily influenced by Jason Falkner. More familiar styling is heard on “Almost Anything” and “Yeah,” and they are real good songs too.

As for the covers, they are deep cuts that are not immediately familiar save one. First is a dense, less psychedelic version of The Smoke’s “My Friend Jack” and then the obscure Peter Gabriel song “And Through The Wire.” A cover of Jellyfish’s “Joining A Fan Club” has plenty of raw power and enthusiasm, although Peter strains to sing those high notes. Fans will enjoy this one, so check it out. FYI: The Anderson Council will be a Power Popaholic Fest on September 12th

CD Baby

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Brandon Schott and One Like Son

Brandon Schott

Brandon Schott “Crayons & Angels”

Brandon Schott has always been an artist who knows better than most how to set the mood. After the great Verdugo Park EP, he’s expanded this into a full album with the help of Andrew Curry, Andy Reed and Jason Wormer. The childlike innocence of the instrumental “Dandelion” leads into the album’s biggest song “Henry,” a richly layered portrait of a boyhood optimism, complete with harmonies, horns and toy piano. “Cerulean Seas” is another like-minded song that sails along, as most compositions here are strongly influenced by Pet Sounds and Sir McCartney. Another gem is “Every Little Song,” a beautiful duet with Kelly Jones, where the melody twists with each key change.

Plenty of instrumental filler is found between many songs, tying the theme together but I suspect they are more snippets that didn’t fit elsewhere (“Sunglow”) and this make the albums middle a bit lightweight. However many strong compositions remain like “Seeing You In Stereo” and “Dear Daisy” is a catchy guitar led melody. The grand “Wisteria” is an exceptionally good atmospheric instrumental, and the wonderful “Dandelion Rain” is the best love song I’ve heard this year. Add to this the Elvis Costello cover “Riot Act” and you’ve got a winner. Highly Recommended.


 One Like Son

One Like Son “Classic”

While the novelty of a debut recorded on an iphone has passed, One Like Son (aka Stephen Poff) continues to pump out some great music from his Montgomery, AL studio. “As Seen on TV” has that big repeating riff, and a memorable melody. “Down To Hollywood” follows the Cheap Trick template, and the casual “Summer Days” reminded me of Extreme’s acoustic pop. Overall, the music seems more hard rock oriented than past releases.

“A Praise Song” is like a superhero theme from a Christian rock band, with its buzzsaw sound and an infectious bounce. Not everything flows as smoothly; some metal guitar indulgences are tiresome (“Borderline” and “It Knocks Me Out”) and the lack of any ballads makes this 13 track album a heavy lift. Stephen does sprinkle in some good songs, like the mid-tempo “Five Good Years” and energetic “Whispers” to end things. Give it a try, and you’ll find a favorite tune within.


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