At first glance, South Florida seems like a musical wasteland, victimized by a sprawling suburbia and neglected by the music industry. But take a closer look. You’ll find that there are talented acts that just need a cohesive movement to get attention. In an attempt to stir the musical melting pot, Matthew Sabatella founded Slipstreampresents.com in September of 1999. The local singer-songwriter’s mission for the Internet-based music company is to work with a select group of independent local artists, providing a platform similar to a traditional record label, but without the contractual restrictions that strangle so many musicians. Visitors can listen to music clips, and if anything catches their fancy, they can purchase CDs, cassettes, T-shirts and other merchandise. Slipstream has found a niche, somewhere between the mammoth corporate sites such as mp3.com and IUMA.com and the individual band sites.
Sabatella has released several compilations, the latest of which, 18 Great Songs, truly lives up to its name. For the insanely cheap price of $2 (it’s free with any purchase from the Web site), listeners get a glimpse of what the local scene has to offer. Among the highlights are Amanda Green, who echoes the child-like wavering voice of indie-queen folkie Victoria Williams. Many other treats can be found, including the beautifully subtle “Garden Boat” by A Kite is a Victim. The bouncing, sugar-sweet melody of “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” by the Avenging Lawnmowers of Justice would make fans of Del Amitri happy. Jim Wurster & the Atomic Cowboys’ “Sand Castles” carries on the tradition of Tom Petty-esque roots rock.
Every Thursday night in July, Slipstreampresents.com has hosted a showcase of its “Resident Artists” at the Underground Coffeeworks in West Palm Beach, and plans are set to continue every first Thursday of the coming months.