Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ambient, Ethereal, Churchy and Atmospheric

     Vancouver Sleep Clinic released an animated video for a song we hadn’t previously heard. Listening to “Lung” was a reminder of the beauty of the genre and vocalization style. Many designations have been attached to the approach, including ambient, ethereal, churchy, and atmospheric. Regardless, there are times when the genre/style is ideal.
     Vancouver Sleep Clinic is Tim Bettinson, a 19-year old from Brisbane, Australia. 

     From London, the sound is generated by Hanging Valleys, which is Thom Byles (singer/songwriter), Mike Philips (guitar, vocals), and Alexis Meridol (beats, sampler).
  “Endless Wave” by Hanging Valleys


     A third song and a third continent - Sault Ste Marie is based in Southern California. 
  “The House of Winshire”

Friday, August 26, 2016

“Heavenly Bodies” by Midnight Faces – An Album Review

     Today, the top shoegaze album of 2016 dropped. Yes, we know it’s only August. But from a top-to-bottom perspective, the nine-track album from Midnight Faces will not be surpassed. Midnight Faces is a trio in Los Angeles. 
     Typically, when we find it difficult to pick three songs to post from an album, the difficulty is based on finding three songs that are likely to attract first-time listeners of the music. For the “Heavenly Bodies” album, the difficultly is deciding which six songs not to include. We decided to embed four songs.
     The album leads with “Blue Haze.” It is the best wall-of-sound single of the nine songs. If you’re a fan of guitars and the genre, “Blue Haze” belongs in your library.

     Proving that Midnight Faces has flexibility, the second song is “Party Donna,” with its up-tempo drive. “Party Donna" is less shoegaze and more electronic than the lead track, particularly with respect to the percussion. If there’s a song that can make a treadmill enjoyable, this is it!

     Next on the album is “Sirens,” which is similarly up-tempo, but less aggressive. It travels well before an attraction factor explodes at 3:30 - the saxophone makes its first appearance. The saxophone has a 1980s feel that is supported by quick-twitch guitar.  

     Strong arguments are available to assert that “Germanium” will receive the most acclaim. The cooperation between the vocals and guitar brings to mind the best material from War on Drugs (and Roadkill Ghost Choir). Again, Midnight Faces saves the saxophone for the final portion of the song, providing an attention refresh.

     “Space Boy” has an abrupt but seamless transition at the 2:27 mark. Well executed guys!
    “Feeling Like a Stranger” is perhaps the best use of the saxophone on the “Heavenly Bodies” album.
    “Love Is All Around” is less than two minutes in length, but includes a crescendo and decrescendo sandwiching an almost gentle wall-of-sound.  
     “Heavenly Bodies” is the third album from Midnight Faces. The band is formed of Matthew Doty (guitar/bass/synth), Phil Stancil (vocals/guitar/bass), and Paul Doyle (drums). Other contributions to the album are:
  Recorded by Aaron Espinoza at The Ship Los Angeles, CA
  Mixed by Abe Seiferth at Transmitter Park Studio Brooklyn, NY
  Mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering Brooklyn, NY  

Social media and sites for purchasing the album: 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Folks We Oughta Know – The August Version II

     This month has been a particularly strong one for the discovery of music sitting in the Folk genre. So, having two “Folks We Oughta Know” is warranted.
     Louis Berry is a singer/songwriter from Liverpool. “Restless” is an up-tempo gem with attractive vocals and guitars that approach from a variety of directions. The acoustic guitar at the start is Folk, even though it’s accompanied by the background wane of an electric guitar. An electric guitar goes a little Country for a short time (1:25), but shows a Rock preference at other times (particularly the last 30 seconds). 
 "Restless" by Louis Berry

     Jasmine Rodgers is a Londoner who was introduced to Indie Obsessive in May. “Underwater” took over as our favorite song from Rodgers. The cello (by Danny Keane) and the addition of a male voice (Scott Matthews) enhance the emotional aura of “Underwater.”
Quoting the informative email submission for the song:
  About Jasmine Rodgers
Born into an artistic family – her mother a Japanese poet, her father the legendary vocalist Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, Queen) – Jasmine Rodgers knew her way around both keyboard and fretboard before she even enrolled at secondary school. But given her love for art and zoology (in which she has a degree), music was initially a passionate pastime rather than a full-time pursuit. This changed when her older brother Steve, on hearing the ethereal beauty of Jasmine’s voice, asked her to sing with him and they formed the group Boa.

     Stepping over to Germany, The Unknown Neighbour is the performance name of Sascha Zemke. 
     "You and Me" by The Unknown Neighbour

     “Out In the Dark” is from Melbourne, Australia. Alexander Biggs has been gaining traction in the blogosphere. The attention is well deserved.