Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

     We know what you’re thinking – “Wow a music blog with a Halloween theme; wonder why no one has done that before.” Well, that’s what you’re thinking if this is the first time you’ve ever read a music blog at the end of October. Still, ours is different, although we are not sure how or why.
     Here are three songs and two videos. There are plenty of choices, even if the possibilities were limited to those with  the band names and song titles that included either "ghost" or "vampire." Thus, a long list of songs was certainty an option. This post instead went with selecting songs of bands we would like to see get some additional exposure.
Francis International Airport in a Halloween-like glow
      Francis International Airport is based in Vienna, Austria. The members of the band are Markus Zahradnicek, David Zahradnicek, Georg Tran, Christian Hölzel and Manuel Riegler. The song is "Monsters."


     NONONO is a trio based Stockholm, Sweden. Stina Wäppling is the female member. The two male members are Tobias Jimson and Michel Rocwell, who usually use their production team name - Astma & Rocwell.  The Halloween-appropriate song is “Pumpin Blood.” It's Indie Pop, but with transitions that keep the song interesting.

     The third song is from New Yorker Sterling Fox, who brings us “Ghost” as a cross between Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith).


Thomas Halloween 2013, Awolnation Sail, Halloween Light Show

Just for fun - The Ellen Show Haunted House: Andy and Amy travel to the Haunted House

American Authors and The Royal Concept – A San Francisco Concert Opportunity

     If you enjoy Indie Pop, there is a concert opportunity in San Francisco on December 9, 2013. American Authors, The Royal Concept, and Misterwives will visit The Independent.
     Sports fans following the World Series have heard the music of American Authors, since the song “Best Day of My Life” is featured on the “Man Cave” commercial that is shown at least once each game. In fact, the band is in the Man Cave commercial and the same song is included in a number of other commercials or trailers.

American Authors performed the full song on the September 6, 2013 episode of Jay Leno.

     American Authors is based in Brooklyn, New York, but the band has a Boston origin. The members are Zachary Barnett (lead vocals, guitar), James Adam Shelley (guitar, banjo), Matt Sanchez (drums), and Dave Rublin (bass).
"Believer" by American Authors

     The Royal Concept is from Stockholm, Sweden. They were first introduced to Indie Obsessive when the comparison was made between the song “Gimme Twice” and the band Phoenix. But it is common for a band to have some song that seems to be channeling some other band. To help make that point, we note there are a number of similarities (particularly the selection of the initial guitar sound and the vocals) between American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life” and the Imagine Dragons song “It’s Time."
     The members of The Royal Concept are David Larson (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard/synthesizer), Filip Bekic (guitar, vocals), Robert Magnus (bass, vocals), and Frans Povel (drums, vocals).
     "Gimme Twice" by The Royal Concept, which is currently being offered by the band as a free download, CLICK HERE.
     "On Our Way" by The Royal Concept

     Misterwives is a six-member band from New York, NY. The members are Mandy Lee (vocals), William Hehir (bass), Etienne Bowler (drums), Marc Campbell (guitar), Dr. Blum (keys/trumpet/accordion) and Murph Dawg (sax).
     “Kings & Queens” by Misterwives - currently a free download.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

“Pushkin Around” by Cloud Lantern – A Song Review

     A friend of ours was making a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico and was interested in seeing some live music. He asked if we had any recommendations regarding a local band. “Well Larry, if we had a chance to see a live performance of ‘Pushkin Around,’ we wouldn't let the opportunity slip away.” The song is from the EP “Songs for Eluard” by Albuquerque’s Cloud Lantern.
     “Pushkin Around” surfaced in July 2012. But with the “Indie Ocean” being such an expansive body of water, there are many songs that surface without the attention they deserve. The feature that makes the song blogworthy is the guitar work, which employs progressions worthy of the classic “Green Grass and High Tides” by The Outlaws. The Outlaws released their song in the 1975 and, in our less than humble opinion, it is the best guitar song available. Sure, it starts as would a normal Southern Rock song and is “only” good for the typical duration of a song. Then, at the 5:26 mark of “Green Grass and High Tides,” the guitars stage a coup and the vocals are never heard from again. Both songs are embedded below.
     Cloud Lantern started in 2009, but has undergone some personnel changes since its start. The current members of Cloud Lantern are Allen Hrynick, Jordan Bodhaine, Danny Crouch, and Ty-San Ryder.

     "Pushkin Around" by Cloud Lantern - Currently a free download.

     "Green Grass and High Tides" by The Outlaws

Monday, October 28, 2013

Three for Free - An October Version

     The plot of the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" involved using pods to grow aliens to be indistinguishable from humans, so that each pod-grown alien could take the place of its duplicated human. Two people in the San Francisco Bay Area discovered the alien takeover.
     Well, we have a suggestion for a 2013 version, and there is enough evidence to make this version credible. According to our version, two bloggers from the San Francisco Bay Area discover that pods are used in Portland to grow skilled musicians, who then take the place of the Portland citizenry having only normal musical ability. This would explain the quantity of high quality music emerging from a city of about 600,000, or even a metropolitan area of only about 2,280,000. There can’t be any other explanation, right?
     Our latest music discovery from Portland is The Cabin Project. The three members are Katie Sawicki, Adam Sweeney, and Zanny Geffel (pictured above). Their self-description seems appropriate, so we will paste it.
 The Cabin Project is an orchestral indie pop band from the Portland whose sound stems from anthemic choruses, three-part harmonies, loop pedals, and string sections. The songs are musically expansive, yet retain an intimacy similar to that of The National, Bon Iver, Feist, and Mates of State.
     “The Lining” is being offered as a free download (at least for a while). Features to enjoy include the energy swells, the use of horns and percussion, and the harmony.

     If there is a better fusion of an acoustic guitar with shoegaze guitar, we haven’t heard it. Hey, then throw in a cello and we are intrigued. Cancellieri is from Columbia, South Carolina. Technically, Ryan Hutchens is Cancellieri, but he is helped by Patrick O’Neill (cello) and Alex McCollum (electric guitar). So, in the song “Storyteller, it’s Hutchens who provides the vocals and the acoustic guitar during the first two minutes of the song and it’s McCollum who shoegazes his way in after the 2:06 mark. And in “Tribal Glory,” that is O’Neill on the cello.

     “Storyteller” by Cancellieri - available as a free download (at least today)

     “Tribal Glory” by Cancellieri - a bonus with this "Three for Free" post

     If a band has a connection to Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit, Indie Obsessive is interested. Edinburgh-based Dante has worked with Andy Monghan (guitarist of Frightened Rabbit) for a couple of years in the release of its debut album. The members are Seán McLaughlin, Stephen Thom, Vicky Gray, Ruaridh Kidd, and Stuart Hosking.
     "No Original Art" by Dante - available as a free download

“Father of Indie” – Lou Reed

     In music, it is common to anoint major contributors to a genre with a title. Within the Soul genre alone, there’s a “Father” (Ray Charles or Sam Cooke), a “Godfather” (James Brown), and a “Queen” (Aretha Franklin). Indie is not a genre, it’s an economic condition. But a title has been assigned. Lou Reed is considered the “Father of Indie.” Yesterday, Indie said goodbye to its father.
     Lou Reed first surfaced in the 1960s as a member of The Velvet Underground. The band’s self-titled album only sold 30,000 copies during the time the band was together, but the sales figure did not reflect its influence. In fact, in order to make that point, in 1982 Brian Eno stated, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”
     Earlier this year, Reed canceled his scheduled appearances at Coachella and a number of venues in the San Francisco area. No reason was made public. In May, Reed underwent kidney transplant surgery. His death is attributed to complications from the surgery. He was 71.

"Sweet Jane" by The Velvet Undergroud - 1970

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quick Updates – Bear’s Den and Typhoon

     Bear’s Den made another single available to Soundcloud users. “Writing on the Wall” hit Soundcloud earlier this month. The band continues to generate songs that are consistent with its sound, but without staying within a well-defined mold.
     We won’t compare this release to their last one. “Sahara” is one of our favorites of 2013, so a comparison of almost any song to “Sahara” is likely to be misleading.
     “Writing on the Wall” - Things to like:
1. The crisp guitar work at the start.
2. The use of the horns, particularly near the end of the song.
3. The energy uptick that occurs when the drums step forward around the 3:03 mark.

Other Indie Obsessive posts regarding Bear’s Den:
In concert – CLICK HERE
“Sahara” - CLICK HERE
“Pompeii” - CLICK HERE

     Indie Obsessive is not the only site that is obsessed wiht the band Typhoon. NPR (National Public Radio) streamed the latest album of this Portland band and has now featured the eleven-member (sometimes twelve) band in its series "Tiny Desk Concerts." Typhoon performed three songs for NPR, including our favorite, “Dreams of Cannibalism. The performance is embedded below, but we recommend that you visit the NPR site for more information about the band (NPR-CLICK HERE). 

Other Indie Obsessive posts about Typhoon:
In concert – CLICK HERE
Our breakdown of “Dreams of Cannibalism” – CLICK HERE
“Young Fathers” - CLICK HERE

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Folks We Oughta Know – The October Version

     We haven’t posted a “Folks We Oughta Know” blog entry since August. Since there is a World Series game today, we are going with the excuse of “The sun got in our eyes.” Well, the sun is becoming less of a problem as the winter months approach, so let’s get this entry going.

     Pocket Panda is a six member band in Seattle, Washington. The members are Eric Herbig (Guitar, Banjo, Keys, Vocals), Mike Waller (Keys, Glockenspiel, Harmonica, Accordion), Jordan Cunningham (Mandolin, Banjo, Vocals), Chris Allen (Bass, Vocals), Hazel Scher (Drums) and David Cho (Violin). Yes - banjos, glockenspiel, harmonica, accordion, violin and mandolin.  
     Pocket Panda describes its music as “rustic, orchestral-tinged folk.” We are partial to the song “City,” which includes an attractive cooperation of male and female vocals and a strong finish.
     "City" by Pocket Panda


     Staying in the northwestern United States, we introduce Hollow Wood to the blogsite. Hollow Wood is based in Boise, Idaho. The members are Adam Stip, Hayden Jensen, Lyndsay Wright, Jeff Bull Jr, Danika McClure, Katelynne Jones, and Eric Steiger.
     Hollow Wood has been producing music since at least 2010, so the temptation to assert that their sound is greatly influenced by the 2012 success of the Lumineers should be resisted. However, it is fair to say that if you enjoy the Lumineers, it would be in your best interest to pay attention to Hollow Wood. And if you don’t agree with our comparison between the two bands, but you share our appreciation for songs that have energy surges, you still have a good reason to pay attention to Hollow Wood.
      We are embedding two songs by Hollow Wood, since we fluctuate in our assessment of which song we like more. The song “Little Bird” was released in September 2012. The song is a little subdued at its start, but we love the band chats toward the end. Don't make the mistake of judging the song before it begins its surges. In addition to the comparison with the Lumineers, there is a little Jake Bugg starting at the 6:00 mark. 
     "Little Bird" by Hollow Wood - Currently available as a free download at CLICK HERE

     "Memento Mori" by Hollow Wood - Available for the price of an email address at CLICK HERE

     Depending upon which song is playing, good arguments can be made for Ha Ha Tonka being eligible and ineligible for a post directed to the Indie Folk genre. In fact, two songs are embedded below, with “Rewrite Our Lives” being evidence of eligibility and “Lessons” showing ineligibility.
     Ha Ha Tonka is a Chicago band, but originated in West Plains, Missouri. The members are Brett Anderson (keyboard, guitar, and vocals), Lennon Bone (drums and vocals), Lucas Long (bass and vocals), Brian Roberts (guitar and vocals).
     "Rewrite Our Lives" by Ha Ha Tonka - currently a free download

     "Lessons" by Ha Ha Tonka - currently a free download. Typically, we are not in favor of repeative lyrics, but "I can't keep learning the same lessons over again" seems appropriate for the theme of this song.


     Bradenton, Florida gives us the band Have Gun, Will Travel.  
"Standing at the End of the World" by Have Gun, Will Travel

Thursday, October 24, 2013

“All Your Love Is Gone” by Boxed In – A Song Review

     We didn’t appreciate the offerings of LCD Soundsystem until late in the game. It was only after good friends (Bob and Nancy) invited us to join them in attending an Arcade Fire concert. LCD Soundsystem opened for Arcade Fire and opened that music-acceptance portion of our minds to their sounds. All too soon afterward, LCD Soundsystem was no more.

     Maybe being Johnny-come-latelies (Johnnys-come-lately???) to the party brings a greater appreciation for songs that remind us of LCD Soundsystem. 
     And that finally brings us to the first release of Boxed In (it's the first if you exclude remixes, as we do). The song “All Your Love Is Gone” uses a repetitive pattern of only a few piano keys to very effectively establish and maintain a cadence. Yes, other instruments play a critical role in keeping the listener’s attention and providing a motivation to return to song. But the repetitive pattern is the salient feature of the song. This is the same description we would use for LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” Both songs are embedded below.

     "All Your Love Is Gone" by Boxed In

     "All My Friends" by LCD Soundsystem - this is the background music to the below video.

     Boxed In is Oli Bayston, who hales from London. According to the Facebook page of Boxed In, joining Bayston in the song “All Your Love Is Gone” were Liam Hutton (drums) and Mark Nicholls (bass). Unfortunately, there is no website for Boxed In, so it is difficult to obtain much information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

“Girl” by The Little Kicks - A Song Review

    First, some background description and a data point:
     1. If a blog site had animal-like features, it would be accurate to state that a reference to a band being a “great live show” perks the ears of Indie Obsessive.
     2. Even if we like song “A” better than song “B,” listening to a good performance of “B” is far better than listening to a digital or vinyl recording of “A.”
     3. Even if we prefer the genre of song “X” over the genre of song “Y,” it is our preference to see song “Y” in concert over listening to a digital or vinyl recording of song “X.”
     4. It is not uncommon for us to see a band with the attitude of “If they ‘nail’ [insert song tiltle here], everything else is a bonus.”
     5. It is 5,022 miles from San Francisco to Aberdeen, Scotland.

     Despite the distance between our base city (San Francisco) and the base city of The Little Kicks (Aberdeen), we received word that an opportunity to see this quartet should not be allowed to escape. The word is spread by the various sites of the band, but is not strictly from those sites.
      The members of The Little Kicks are Steven Milne, Andrew Corse, Lewis Porter and Scott Kelman. The song that fits within the above point “4” is “Girl.” That is, if we are fortunate enough to see The Little Kicks in concert, and they “nail” the performance of the song “Girl,” anything else is a bonus beyond the price of the concert ticket.
     "Girl" by The Little Kicks

     The official video of "Girl" by The Little Kicks

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poliça Is Making a Generous Offer

     In an interesting move, Poliça is offering its two 2013 singles as a free download (technically, it’s at the cost of an email address). The offer is via Bandcamp and does not indicate whether there is a time limit on the offer. Our best guess is that the opportunity has a short fuse.
     Poliça experienced a good amount of traction in 2012. The band received a number of positive reviews for its performances at SXSW in March. Poliça then hit the festival tour. Unfortunately, the tour did not include one of the five members. Ryan Olson declined the tour, so that live performances were without a guitar (if you buy into the nomenclature in which a bass is not a guitar). It was odd to see a singer, two drummers and a bass player, whose names are Channy Leaneagh, Ben Ivascu, Drew Christopherson, and Chris Bierden.
     Despite the unusual arrangement of instruments, it worked. Reasons for the attractiveness of the live performances included the original sound of the band as a consequence of the style and processing of the Channy Leaneagh’s vocals and the distinctive all-body-but-still-low-energy dance style of Leaneagh.
     Because the Soundcloud versions of the songs are more easily managed than the NoiseTrade versions, we are embedding the Soundcloud streams before we embed the Noisetrade offer (also, if the offer expires, this post will still include the opportunity to stream the songs). 

     “Chain My Name” by Poliça

     “Lay Your Cards Out” by Poliça

Embedded below is the NoiseTrade offer by Poliça. Click on the arrow to view and sample the songs.

Turner Hall
Milwaukee, WI
Mod Club
Toronto, Canada
Paradise Rock Club
Boston, MA
Union Transfer
Philadelphia, PA
9:30 Club
Washington, DC
Webster Hall
New York, NY
Mercy Lounge
Nashville, TN
Terminal West
Atlanta, GA
Fitzgerald's (Upstairs)
Houston, TX
Austin, TX
Dallas, TX
Crescent Ballroom
Phoenix, AZ
The Fonda Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
The Fillmore
San Francisco, CA
Wonder Ballroom
Portland, OR
Showbox at the Market
Seattle, WA
Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO
Waiting Room
Omaha, NE
Mill City Nights
Minneapolis, MN
Mill City Nights
Minneapolis, MN
Chicago, IL
Magic Stick Lounge
Detroit, MI
Barrymore Theatre
Madison, WI
Stockholm, Sweden
Oslo, Norway
Copenhagen, Denmark
Uebel & Gefährlich
Hamburg, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Cologne, Germany
Brussels, Belgium
Gaité Lyrique
Paris, France
Lausanne, Switzerland
One Of A Million Fest
Baden, Switzerland
Amsterdam, Netherlands
O2 Academy
Bristol, United Kingdom
Glasgow, United Kingdom
The Ritz
Manchester, United Kingdom
All Saint's Church
Brighton, United Kingdom
The Troxy
London, United Kingdom