Sunday, November 30, 2014

“100 Lanterns” by YOU – A Song Review

Contributor: Karen M.
     Admittedly, while healing from a recent broken leg, I'm drawn towards moody ethereal music as I lay on my couch watching fluffy clouds pass. "100 Lanterns" by the London-based Baroque popsters YOU is the perfect recipe - combining heaping measures of the haunting ethereal voice of Anna Waldmann layered atop keyboard, minimalist guitars and drums.
Quoting the email submission from YOU:
     "'100 Lanterns' is a personal lament to mark the passing of Anna's mom last year.  The track is a precursor to the bands second single ‘Anaesthetic’ due in Feb 2015.
      '100 Lanterns' is about how letting go of a struggle can be very beautiful. It was written about a memorial service that I made for my mum. It went really wrong at first and we set fire to some trees, dodged fireworks, and got covered in her ashes! At the end though we had one last lantern that we set off and it went really high in the sky.”
     As I watch the clouds pass, I'm able to envision lanterns rising, lights flickering in the sky, then wafting away.

     The members of YOU are Anna Waldmann, Sam Campbell, Harrison Bal and Massimo Alessio Zeppetelli.
     “100 Lanterns” by YOU - The track is available for free download for a limited time. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The Black Friday Entries – Part III

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Indie Obsessive is joining the tradition of passing on great deals on the day after Thanksgiving. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of new releases.  The end of the offer might be based upon reaching a maximum number of downloads or the expiration of some period of time.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
     The focus of this third Black Friday FL&R post is on tracks that were recently featured by the KEXP site as being a “Song of the Day.” Out of respect for KEXP, we will identify the page of the featured song, rather than providing a direct link to the download. That requires an extra step, but KEPX has some useful information about the bands, so it's worthwhile.


     Dan Mangan + Blacksmith offers “Vessel” through KEXP.

     A bonus: The song “Post-War Blues” is older, but is offered as a direct download from Soundcloud.


     Dream Police is a side project of Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi, the guitarists and singers of the band The Men. The debut single is "Hypnotized." On Decemeber 6, 2014, Dream Police will visit San Francisco. They will perform at the Brick & Mortar.


     “Somewhere Else To Be” by Wormburner. The free download is at the KEPX page http://blog.kexp.org/2014/10/27/song-of-the-day-wormburner-somewhere-else-to-be/


Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The Black Friday Entries – Part II

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Indie Obsessive is joining the tradition of passing on great deals on the day after Thanksgiving. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of new releases.  The end of the offer might be based upon reaching a maximum number of downloads or the expiration of some period of time.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.

      Le Very is an Electronic Pop band for Berlin, Germany. They just released the EP “Playground,” but the song “The Dive” is still available as a free download.  


     The Bombay Bicycle Club songs we enjoy the most are “Shuffle” and “Lights Out, Words Gone.” If someone had asked if we would enjoy hearing a song that combines the best qualities of the two songs, the response would have been an enthusiastic “Yes!” Well, no one asked, but the combination is available – “Chase You Down” by Joelpeter from Brighton, UK.
      “Chase You Down” by Joelpeter is currently available as a free download in a WAV format.


     Here comes one from Moscow. It’s the duo of Kate Logacheva and Ilya Dmitriev, but the performance name is Celebrine & Alien Delon.
     "Cellar Door" by  Celebrine & Alien Delon is currently a free download.

Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The Black Friday Entries – Part I

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Indie Obsessive is joining the tradition of passing on great deals on the day after Thanksgiving. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of new releases.  The end of an offer might be based upon reaching a maximum number of downloads or the expiration of some period of time.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
     This is just one of the FL&R posts for Black Friday. The focus of this post is on opportunities from the site that has introduced us to many Australian bands. Triple J Unearthed (http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/music/) is our “go to” site for Indie in Australia. Below are three recent offers from Triple J. For each, there is a redundancy:
(1.) The Soundcloud version is included because it is the mode preferred by many.
(2.) The Triple J player is included because we want to properly acknowledge the site.
(3.) A link to the Triple J jukebox is included because that is where you will find the free download icon. 

     Cypher is a teenager (16, unless she’s had a recent birthday) from Brisbane. She identifies her real name as “Faith T.” The song that we particularly enjoy is “Child.” It has a sound similar to “Home” by Daughter.


The free download is available at the jukebox here - https://www.triplejunearthed.com/jukebox/play/track/3629051

     Australia’s answer to the breakup of LCD Soundsystem is “Human Animal” by Total Giovanni. Admittedly, it took a number of listens before we really appreciated the song. Now, we cannot listen too often. Total Giovanni is a quintet based in Melbourne by way of Milan. They identify the members as Spike Punch, Vincenzo Del Negro, Shidi Amin (aka “Sideboard Ford”), Cavallo Nero (aka “Hornelle Equinox”) and Shattered Guru (aka “Jingle Bello”).


The free download is available at the jukebox here - https://www.triplejunearthed.com/jukebox/play/track/3655031


     The third song is “Coyote Choir” by Pepa Knight. In the 1970s, the sitar was used often enough that it lost its ability to grab the attention of a listener. Now, it is used so rarely that it is again attention grabbing, particularly in songs in which it is incorporated so seamlessly. In “Coyote Choir,” the sitar has found a comfortable home.


The free download is available at the jukebox here -https://www.triplejunearthed.com/jukebox/play/track/3618021

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving – Stephen Kellogg

     The song “Thanksgiving” was released by Stephen Kellogg in mid-2013. It will never become a traditional song for the November holiday of the same name, since the message is not about being thankful for what you have; it’s a message of don’t regret your past mistakes and don’t give up.  

     “Thanksgiving” begins and ends with a church choir that bookends Kellogg’s story. The story can be divided into three segments. The first segment is a reflection upon the childhood of the person, and his appreciation for Thanksgiving. What follows is a tale of adulthood, which started with promise, but didn’t turn out well. The final segment takes the approach of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The conclusion – Don’t feel sorry for me, I don’t: I don’t give up.

      Currently, Stephen Kellogg s allowing free downloads.

The Lyrics of “Thanksgiving:”
The Choir:
Oh Thanksgiving, the harvest draws to a close
Pride of man will swallow him, for he reaps what he sows
Oh living, it’s harder every day
Only in the darkness can you see you’ve lost your way

Stephen Kellogg:
I recollect the Rose of Sharon had come back again
The trees were blowing in the breeze all high above my head
When a cavalcade of memories appeared to me in words I wished I’d said.

From that point on a song stayed in my thoughts most of the time
But when I tried to sing it out loud it would always leave my mind
Like the things you know are true, but never can explain when you get asked.

A melody, floating just within your grasp, it goes…

When I was a child, I always remember
The way I would feel, 4th Thursday November
My uncles would play, there would be music
And I was taking it in.

Only much later, I noticed the drinking
The feeling my family was growing and sinking
St. Petersburg Palace stain glass in sun
They were well on their way I had only begun.

So boy meets a girl, Venus and Adonis
Friendship on fire, adulthood upon us
They teach you to fly, then spend all of their time
Standing over you, clipping your wings.

Where there was a me, there could be an us
I dreamt about money, she talked about trust
She is my axis, death is by foxes
And we were well on our way.

In America, this is home
Stories, everybody’s got one
This is mine, you will have your own
Nothing like the real thing, nothing like it.

Cleaner than Christmas or our wedding day
I knew her father was pissed, though he wouldn’t say it
I would be too and someday I will be
No kid could be good enough.

Taking on Sunday, taking on owls
Catching a glimpse of the wolf as it howls
Got a lot of nice things, got a really nice house
Done is so beautiful.

On Father’s Day, I’m thinking of mothers
I can only suppose they’re thinking of others
Insurance is up, it came in the mail
Yeah it kills me what they’re charging for little white pills.

I blow through the years like a mother defending its own
And I fear, I’m driving on spare tires
Seems like I’ll never get home, like I’ll never get home
Like I’m getting threadbare.

I can’t find my way, she showed me the map
I still can’t believe I acted like that
Just follow your heart up past most of the brain
If you get lost at reason, move down past pain.

I’ll see you in court, bring your raincoat
I’m keeping the kids, I’m keeping the house
It takes minutes to make us a baby
And years to remember what that was about.

America, this is home
Stories, everybody’s got one
When we die what will we have done?
Nothing like the real thing, nothing like it.

It’s snowing in April, something’s changing in me
That’s the sound of a heart getting clean, baby
I traded in booze for loads of caffeine
And my friends they traded in me.

Another Thanksgiving and I’m all alone
My favorite holiday and nobody’s home
No shame in the past, no pride in the future
I know, believe me I know.

Those years we spent talking, learning to agree
The truth is I’m just thankful you tolerated me
There’s so many thorns, not enough roses
My girls as they sleep, the eye as it closes.

This year for Thanksgiving I’m keeping my list short
No one gets married, no one gets divorced
Can you imagine?
What if the world could stand still for even a day?

If there was no crime, no rape and no killing
Addictions suspended, no cutting or drilling
If everyone took the day off and hung out with their friends
Their favorite friends.

I know what you’re saying, it’s not realistic
I’ve heard it my whole life, look at the statistics
But lucky for us, I’m not a guy that gives up
I never give up, ‘cause I go…

The Choir:
Oh Thanksgiving, the harvest draws to a close
Redemption is a bugle humility composed
Sweet forgiveness, thawing across frozen ground
Casting light eternally, carrying its sound.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“Linin' Up” by Matt Millz – A Song Review

     “Power of the Written Word” is a book that dates back to 1945 (we had to look it up). This post is about the power of the sung syllable. The first time we heard “Linin’ Up” by Matt Millz, we weren’t paying close attention, but did appreciate the quality of his voice and the gentle guitar play. Then, all “oo” broke loose.
     Our best guess is that “Linin’ Up” is a song about a failed relationship. The “sugar house” represents the relationship. But the powerful hook that pulls a listener into the song is the chorus, although it’s simple enough – a repeating pattern that uses only the syllable “oo” (in sets of five). For us, the power of that syllable is twofold – it caused us to give full attention to the song and, when we considered joining the singing, it caused us to immediately recognize that some people are vastly more skilled when it comes to singing. There’s a purity in the vocals of “Linin’ Up” that we can’t approach.

     Matt Millz is from Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. According to some sources, he is now based in Vancouver.
     “Linin' Up” by Matt Millz


Lyrics of “Linin’ Up”
The sugar house is burnin’ down
Fire runnin’ all about
A moment to go, I need to slow down
Bodies layin’ on the ground
No one can know, I needed to go

Oh how you lay, oh how you lay

Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo

The sugar house is fallin’ down
And you’re the only one around
With nothing to show, I needed to know

Oh how you lay, I needed to know, oh how you lay

Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
Oooooooooh

Oh how you lay, oh how you lay

Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo
My love was dressed in white again
I know I’ll be linin’ up, I know I’ll be linin’ up

And I know I’ll be linin’ up

Released: November 24, 2014
Written and Recorded by: Matt Millz and Nygel Asselin
Produced, Engineered and Mixed by: Nygel Asselin
Mastered By: Jeff Dalziel

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Young Tongue in San Francisco – A Concert Review

      The song “Heavy Metal Thunder” changed my life! Ok, not in the same way that finding a new love interest or starting a new job changes the life of a person. But it isn’t Internet hyperbole to state that the song had a positive effect on my life.
     If not for the song “Heavy Metal Thunder,” we would have spent last night watching another Monday Night Football game. Instead, we took advantage of the opportunity to see the song performed at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. So, the song by Young Tongue got us out of the living room and into a setting that was more interesting and rewarding. While we’re not ready to argue that the song was life-altering in a macro sense, it was in the one-evening micro sense.
     There was some concern that Young Tongue couldn’t replicate the vocal layering of the final thirty seconds in “Heavy Metal Thunder.” Even without those thirty seconds, the song is a “keeper.” But it’s that half minute that sets it apart from others we enjoy. Young Tongue delivered the layering. In fact, the mixing of the vocals of the husband-and-wife members (Stuart and Liz Baker) was better than in the recorded version, since Liz’s lyrics were less muffled (the lyrics are included below).
    Another feature of “Heavy Metal Thunder” that was well executed last night was the cooperative arrangement of the bass (Nathan Ribner) and the two guitars (Travis Larrew and Stuart Baker). And we loved the changes in the rhythmic flow of syllables – as an example, listen to the slow pronunciation of “The hour glass is,” followed by the quick paced “reminding me she should try it again.” And the band often had multiple members contributing to the percussion (led by Darryl Schomberg II) – with the favorite percussion instrument being the beer keg that was at center stage.

Lyrics of “Heavy Metal Thunder”
The consequences are telling me not to say anything
Or she’ll be holding this in all her life.
The hour glass is reminding me she should try it again
Or she’ll be holding this back all her life.
Under the water the past slowly falls behind her.
                                       
Could she swallow it, or fall asleep instead?
Are the consequences running through her head?

The hour glass is reminding me I should try it again,
Or I’ll be holding this in all my life.
Under the water the past slowly falls behind me.

Could you swallow it, or fall asleep instead?
Are the consequences running through your head?

(The end of the world and everything after, 
I want to see this, I want to see this
We talk about the future too 
quite there’ heavy metal thunder inside it.)

The gifted mind
The balm of time
The words I heard through ancient skies
The lion’s eyes
The bitter wine
The truth ain’t always hard to find.
The recently released CD - "Death Rattle" (thanks to Clark)

Monday, November 24, 2014

“WeSee” by W.A.F. Collective – A Song Review

     We’re fans of anthems. So, the attention is immediately grabbed by lyrics that begin, "We're out of touch with our culture; I guess we better get our own." And we’re fans of Indie in all media. So, the attention is locked in when a band introduces itself with the statement, “W.A.F is a Swedish collective consisting of a band, illustrators and writers working together on a multiplatform project…”
     The song is “WeSee.” It has been compared to the sound of the now-disbanded WU LYF, and it’s a fair comparison. But Indie Obsessive predicts a brighter future for W.A.F. Collective than WU LYF has as its past (and we liked WU LYF!).

       “WeSee” by W.A.F. Collective

       “Spirit Walk” by W.A.F. Collective - Currently a free download.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

“Never Know Love” by Lora McHugh – A Song Review

     Lora McHugh is a singer/songwriter who originally claimed the San Francisco Bay Area as her home. However, she is now living in the Los Angeles area. Her most recent release is “Never Know Love,” and you can count Indie Obsessive as a fan.
     “Never Know Love” is a song about a lost love from the perspective of a person who was prepared for a meaningful relationship with someone who, as it turned out, was not ready. As a result, both are left with emotional experiences and relationship possibilities that they will “never know.” In the video, the periodic glimpses of the slowly setting sun represent the end of any hope the relationship may have had.
     The song shows that a strength of Lora McHugh is her ability to maintain pitch and vocal power while stretching a syllable across multiple beats. That ability is used effectively with the impassioned lyrics of “Never Know Love.”


Saturday, November 22, 2014

“Heart Melter” by Alma Elste – A Song Review

Contributor: Karen M.

     It's that time of year, when (if you live in the U.S.) many of us are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Our thoughts turn towards remembering to practice gratitude.  Today, among many things, I'm grateful the song "Heart Melter," by the 22-year-old Parisian, Alma Elste, is filling my apartment with buttery soulful pop electronica. Alma's pure vocals, mixed with playful light electronica, blend well with the slight rainfall and sounds of car wheels traversing slick streets in the distance. The sound of an owl-like "hoo hoo" that is peppered through the song helps elevate this song to varying heights, but the steady electronica keeps you grounded, while propelling you forward. 
      The email submission we received stated: "'Heart Melter' is about the mellow moment when you know something could be possible with someone you have a crush on, the moment you want to go on a life time holiday with that person and leave it all behind."  Perhaps this is why the lyrics towards the end are light, repeating "Heart Melter," mimicking the loss of words one may encounter when your heart is racing, as you are magnetized, pulled forth towards pursuing attraction. I'm crushing hard.

           “Heart Melter” by Alma Elste

Smallpools, Magic Man and Panama Wedding – A Concert Review

      The below concert review was contributed by Clark G., who joined us at The Independent in San Francisco for the first of a two-night visit by Smallpools, Magic Man and Panama Wedding.  

     Some concerts feature bands that play songs with carefully crafted lyrics about love, war, or politics; they seek to make a statement. I usually leave these performances feeling enlightened. 
Smallpools at The Independent
    Other concerts feature bands that play songs with beautiful melodies; they are more concerned with instruments than with lyrics. I usually leave these performances feeling I need to practice harder on my guitar. 
Smallpools - Sean Scanlon
     Yet other concerts feature bands that say “Screw that, let's party, dance and have a good time.” Last night we saw three bands that embodied this latter group. My two favorites were Magic Man and Smallpools. Both bands played high-energy danceable music with lots of flashing lights. Magic Man featured an engaging front man with all the dance moves, and a very skilled lead guitarist. Smallpools front man was very good at engaging the audience and the drummer performed a now-rare drum solo. In addition, Smallpools threw out a giant inflatable killer whale (long story, but note the "Killer Whales" song below and the video at the bottom of this post) for the audience to bounce around. I left this performance feeling like I'd been to a party.
Smallpools - Beau Kuther
Smallpools - Mike Kamerman



Magic Man - Alex Caplow
Magic Man - Justine Bowe



Panama Wedding - Peter Kirk, Kenny Bernard (drums)
Panama Wedding - Jared McCarthy

Website: http://parallelplay.panama-wedding.com/

THE TWO VIDEOS WERE POSTED BY OTHER ATTENDEES