Thursday, April 30, 2015

“The Recluse” by Cursive - Remastered

      Twice in the last few months, we were listening to a satellite radio station (XMU channel 35) and heard the song “The Recluse” by Cursive. The playlist of this station has a focus on recently released music, so it’s uncommon for a song from 2003 to be in the rotation often enough for us to happen to hear it twice within three months. A little research gave us the reason – in November 2014, Cursive expanded and reissued their breakthrough album “The Ugly Organ.”
      It is also uncommon for us to enjoy a twelve year old song so much more than when it was first released. Maybe it’s partially a result of an increased appreciation for Modest Mouse music. There are similarities. Regardless of the reason, "The Recluse" is in our playlist of songs that we currently consider favorites.

     According to Wikipedia, the current members of this Omaha, Nebraska band are:
Tim Kasher – lead vocals, guitars, organ (1995–1998, 1999–present)
Matt Maginn – bass, backing vocals (1995–1998, 1999–present)
Ted Stevens – guitars, backing vocals (1999–present)
Cully Symington – drums, percussion (2009–present)
     “The Recluse” by Cursive

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“Traces” by The Radar Post

     “Traces” allows interesting considerations of emotion and pace. 
     For most of the song, there is an emotional detachment. The song starts with “You’re not what you used to be. You’re no good around me.” Surely, there has to be some emotion to those words, but the voice doesn’t reflect the emotion. A better example occurs a little later, when the voice has midsentence pauses in the seemingly emotional statement, “I hate how I’m always so… hopelessly drawn to… you. And the ways you mislead me.” The emotional detachment temporarily falls to the wayside at the 2:30 mark, when the difficulty of any relationship breakup is made clear. 
     The changes in pace reinforce the detachment (such as the midsentence pauses) and help the transitions between emotional detachment and emotional engagement (such as the near silence at the 3:51 mark, before the full detachment returns).
     The Radar Post is a solo project of Danish songwriter and producer Esben Svane.

     “Traces” by The Radar Post

Website: http://www.theradarpost.net/

     After the above post, we received the following email from The Radar Post:

Dear D & D

     My name is Esben Svane (The Radar Post) and I just wanted to thank you personally for sharing my song, Traces on Indie Obsessive!

     And also I wanted to let you know that I actually didn't write the song about a relationship to a lover or and ex. I know that it may sound that way, but actually the song is a goodbye-song to the bottle. Three years ago I was the drummer in a pretty commercial band in Denmark and I was drinking all the time. It got out of my hand with constant all-nighters, blackouts and I almost lost the love of my life... I joined the AA community and I won my girl back. At this point we're happily married and I got the drinking issue totally under control. And I'm more focused than ever on producing and writing music instead of wasting my time looking down bottles and smoking weed every day.

     I wrote the song in the Swiss Alps with a girl from Icelandic who also had been a part of AA for some time. I read her like an open book when I met her, and then we were put together in a room for three hours where we had to do a co-write (as a part of the Nordklang Festival). We wrote Traces about this mutual feeling.

     You should check her out. She's called Myrra Rôs and this song tore me apart. It is so beautiful!

     Thanks once again! I just thought I'd tell you the story behind the song.

All the best from Denmark,
Esben

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

“Be Yourself” by Harrison Storm – A Song Review

     It’s uncommon for a song arrangement to briefly flash a feature that justifies obsessive listening, and then hold it in reserve. The first time we heard “Be Yourself” by Harrison Storm, it played quietly in the background, until the 48 second mark. That’s when a female voice entered with four words – “Be yourself one day.” The male/female vocal blend brought full attention to the song. But as the song traveled on, there was doubt as to whether it actually occurred – like a UFO sighting, with ears. Wait, there it is again! At the 1:34 mark, the vocal blend reenters with “If you call it about, don’t be afraid.” Yes, we’re now fully engaged. 
     The male voice in the blend is Harrison Storm and the female voice belongs to Ruby Whiting. Other members of the band are Justin Lewis (guitar (and banjo on “The Words You Say”)) and Jack Davies (double bass). The song was produced and mixed by Hayden Calnin.
     Harrison Storm is based in Melbourne, Australia. A four-track digital album was released on March 31. The two songs that are embedded below can be streamed or freely downloaded from the Triple J site - https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/harrison-storm

      “Be Yourself” by Harrison Storm

     “The Words You Say” by Harrison Storm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harrisonstormmusic

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lyrical Directives – Three Songs

     We know, we know. This blog post is a stretch. Our excuse is that we like all three songs, so we’re just grabbing an opportunity to promote them.
     Sometimes lyrics will tell the listener the direction of a song. It dates back at least as far as 1965, when Herman’s Hermits released "I'm Henery VIII, I Am," which lyrically included the announcement, “Second verse, same as the first.”  

      DMA’s is a trio based in Newtown, Australia. The members are Tommy O'Dell, Matt Mason and Johnny Took. They will tour the U.S. in 2015, including the San Francisco music festival “Outside Lands.” Their song “Delete” uses lyrical layering during its second half, but it’s the introduction of the chorus that qualifies the song for this post. Twice, the statement “I'll find a chorus now” is followed by the chorus:
You know that I belong to be, reflections of myself
Let it all out, just let it all out
To fight the feeling

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMAsDMAs

     Sego is a duo from Mapleton, Utah, but they currently use Los Angeles as a base. The members are Spencer Petersen and Thomas Carroll. The genre of their song “20 Years Tall” can be described as babbling punk – it goes so far as to use the lyric “blah, blah, blah…” But the song qualifies for this post because it announces its completion with the directive, “Roll credits!

Website: http://www.segoband.com/

     Yes, this is the biggest stretch, since the lyric states, “And as the orchestra comes in,” (at 2:24) and the strings don’t enter on cue. Still, the song has an instrumental depth and vocal richness that justify the reference to an orchestra. “Leave the Door Wide Open” is a song by Black English, a band in Echo Park, California. Last year, the band changed its name from NO (less confusion). Black English will perform at the Bottlerock music festival in Napa Valley on Saturday May 30.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Mispers Are Visiting San Francisco

     Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco will host The Mispers on June 18, 2015. We immediately purchased the six-ticket maximum. According to the tickets, The Mispers were able to get Boots as the headliner for their performance. Well played guys (and Hannah)!

     UPDATE! Boots canceled. Ex Cops, which was scheduled to perform between The Mispers and Boots will headline, at least as of today (May 10). Hopefully, this will translate into more stage by The Mispers. Refunds are available, but we're not looking for one.

     We revisited one of our first posts about The Mispers (March 9, 2014). We continue to believe that the band is poised for a breakout. The reasoning:
   1. The Mispers have a track (“Brother”) that is strong enough to draw attention to the band. When a band has a "hit” song, attention expands to the other songs from the band.
   2. The Mispers are not a one-and-done band. The song “Trading Cards” has much going for it. And the tracks "Weekend," “Coasts” and "Emilie” are very solid.
   3. The lead vocals (Jack Balfour Scott) are distinctive enough to attract music lovers who are always looking for something fresh, but not so different to discourage individuals who prefer that their music fit neatly within a particular mold.
   4. The band includes a non-standard instrument, the violin of Hannah van den Brul, which sets the band apart from the norm. We particularly enjoy the violin intro in “Brother."
   5. Hannah also sings, so there is a male/female vocal blend that gives the music more depth.
   6. The guitar work (Diego Porto Belmonte and Joey Arnold Zapata) is quick and clean, such as the guitar that enters at the 0:15 mark in “Brother.” This is a band that forces difficult choices as to where to watch when there is the opportunity to see a live performance.
   7. The percussion (Jordan Gaetono Grispino) is allowed to regularly show itself in ways involving more than drumsticks against drumheads, such as the wood-to-metal sound of the drumstick against rim.
   8. The songs of The Mispers feature “energy shifts” that maintain the interest of the listener, such as the shifts within “Trading Cards.”
   
     We are running low on releases by The Mispers that we haven’t previously posted and praised. Embedded below is “Postman.”

     But our personal favorite is still “Brother.”


     Ticket information for the show at Rickshaw Stop is available at http://www.rickshawstop.com/event/814833-boots-san-francisco/
     Information about the three bands is in the below picture (click on the picture to enlarge).

Friday, April 24, 2015

NoiseTrade Free Downloads – Bonnaroo and Others

     Below are more than 50 free songs. NoiseTrade is a site used by bands and festivals to promote their music. The offers of free downloads help spread the word. Typically, the offers are limited to a set period of time or a set number of downloads, so don’t wait. A valid email address is required, but NoiseTrade does not use the address for reasons unrelated to music. Tips are appreciated.
      Embedded below are some recent NoiseTrade offers. By clicking on the arrow within an embedded offer, you can sample the tracks. Because Soundcloud versions of the songs are more easily manipulated, we also embedded the Soundcloud versions of the Indie Obsessive recommendations.


      The first offer is from the Bonnaroo Music Festival and it includes 38 songs from artists who will perform at the 2015 event. We are selecting just one to embed.
      “4th and Roebling” by The Districts



     If you are ta fan of Death Cab for Cutie, this download is for you.
     “Dialogue” by Valise



     We are fans of the “Experimental” sound of Little Moon & Fox Killer. This song is "Reconciled."



     Mew is from Copenhagen. They offer plugged and unplugged versions of two songs. One is “Satellites.”




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Folks We Oughta Know – The April Version

     This is the April post dedicated to the Indie Folk genre. We thought the March post was perhaps the best in the semi-regular series, but April’s is at least as strong. Either our tastes are changing or the genre is experiencing a surge.
     It’s not the first time this brother/sister duo has been in a “Folks We Oughta Know” post. Southern were introduced to Indie Obsessive in 2013, when they released the Rock/Folk track “Shout It.” Thom and Lucy Southern are also known as “this is…Southern,” probably because it’s expensive to purchase social media rights for their surname – Southern. The duo is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
     The most recent release from Southern is “Lone Driver.” The song is less Folk (more Rock and Blues) than other tracks from the duo, but it still qualifies for this post.

Website: http://thisissouthern.com/

     Sloes is a quintet based in London. Like Southern, the music of Sloes is much more of a genre fusion than it is Folk. Sloes’ sound is orchestral and a soft blend of electric and acoustic. Until last month, the band name was Amberland. The members are Jerome Clark (vocals, samples, drum machine), Paul William Hand (guitar, backing vocals, keys), Luke Coare (drums), and siblings Jo Milnes (bass, backing vocals, keys) and Katie Elizabeth Milnes (violin, backing vocals, keys).
      “Devil in Me” by Sloes


     Buddha in a Chocolate Box released “The Feast” more than a year ago. But it only shows 160 plays of the Soundcloud upload. Wait, another band with a name change! Yes, the Melbourne, Australia band is changing its name to The Settlement because:
   (a) religious connotations of the original name and 
   (b) the Cat Stevens attachment, 
   (c) the name no longer represents the band’s music and 
   (d) it was a “bloody mouthful.” 
The members are Adrian Calvano (pipes, guitar), Matty Pitman (violin), Shane Baker (bass), Gav Kelly (skins) and Jase Mulley (guitar).
     “The Feast” is anthemic – DON”T GIVE IN! It is also available as a free download.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“Illuminate” by TKSTDT (The Kite String Tangle/Dustin Tebbutt)

     triple j Unearthed generously offered 21 songs as a free download in late 2013. The offer was made as a celebration of Australian music during Ausmusic Month. The offer is still available at http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/unearthed/mixtape/13/default.htm.
     Among the 21 songs are “The Breach” by Dustin Tebbutt and “Given the Chance” by The Kite String Tangle (aka TKST). Both songs are embedded below. We would describe Tebbutt as the equivalent of Bon Iver after discovering the joys of caffeine. The Kite String Tangle is producer Danny Harley.
     Dustin Tebbutt and The Kite String Tangle have grown to appreciate the skills of each other and released a collaboration single entitled “Illuminate.” The track is digitally available now and will on a 10’’ vinyl available on June 5. The vinyl will also include cross covers, with TKST covering Tebbutt’s “The Breach” and Tebbutt covering TKST’s “Words.”

     “Illuminate” by TKSTDT (The Kite String Tangle/Dustin Tebbutt)


     “The Breach” by Dustin Tebbutt


     “Given the Chance” by The Kite String Tangle

Monday, April 20, 2015

“Smoke” by Osca – A Song Review

     Is it coincidence that a song entitled “Smoke” is released on 4/20? It doesn’t matter much, if the song has the strength to stand on its own. Today, Osca released another strong single. Osca is based in London and its members are Jack Kenworthy, Dom Potts, Sean Reilly, and  Alex Johnson.
      “Smoke” by Osca

Two Redirections – Samuel Ford and Secret Company

      There are many similarities between composing a song and writing a short story. One similarity is that length typically limits the composition to a single flow. A song may have a three-part structure of vocals, instrumental, and vocals, but the three parts are built around a single melody. There are exceptions. In the literary world, O. Henry was known for his short stories with surprise endings. In the musical world, there are songs that travel along smoothly before reaching a point that causes a listener to ask, “Where did that come from?” Here are two such songs.
     Samuel Ford is based in London, but his Facebook page states that he hails from Rye. His song “Ballet” travels along smoothly before reaching a didn’t-see-that-coming moment at the 2:50 mark.


      Secret Company is also from the U.K. The band claims Chelmsford as a hometown. The members are Scott Revell (vocals, guitar), James Patman (guitar), Kushal Gupta (bass) and Tim Reyland (drums). The song “Holding On” has a redirection that occurs in stages. The drums provide an introduction at about 2:25, a guitar steps it up a notch at 2:34, and the song is fully redirected with the second guitar taking over at 3:02. In “Holding On,” the song returns to its original “direction” at the 3:27 mark.

Friday, April 17, 2015

“Awake” by Folly & the Hunter – A Song Review

      We received an email invitation to revisit the sound of Folly & the Hunter. “Awake” is the title track of the band’s upcoming album (May 26 release). “Awake” has the warm vocals of the band’s 2013 releases. And like those on the previous album, the song takes advantage of having four members who are skilled with their instruments and possess appealing voices.
     On the other hand, a difference is that this first song from the upcoming album has a more upbeat pace and an arguably more positive lyrical feel. The final line of “Awake” is “I am staying right here” (the lyrics are in the above picture – click to enlarge). In comparison, the verses from the songs on the previous album were more likely to describe leaving the situation behind. The title track of the 2013 album, “Tragic Care,” began “I am stuck upon a ship; All the rowers lost their grips.” We’re looking forward to hearing the other ten songs from “Awake.”

     Folly & the Hunter are a Canadian band based in Montreal.The four members are Nick Vallee (lead vocals, guitar), Laurie Torres (vocals, drums, piano, guitar, synths, vibraphone, glockenspiel), Christopher Fox (vocals, bass, organs, piano, vibraphone, synths) and Phil Creamer (vocals, drums, piano, wurlitzer, guitar, vibraphone, glockenspiel, banjo). The violin and the cello that play important roles on “Awake” are contributed by Kate Maloney and Justin Wright, respectively.
     “Awake” by Folly & the Hunter




Thursday, April 16, 2015

“The House” by Le Volume Courbe – A Song Review

     Quoting George Peppard’s character in the 1980’s television program The A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.” The quote is appropriate because this plan involved persons who stepped forward during the ‘80s. The plan? Bring together musicians from different genres for a collaboration that benefits from elements of those genres.
     The song is “The House” by Le Volume Courbe. The collaborators were Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine fame (shoegaze) and John Parish (PJ Harvey). Martin Duffy of the Rock band Primal Scream was a part of the collaboration, but his involvement appears to be limited to the the song on the “AA Side,” namely “Monte Dans Mon Ambulance.”
     Le Volume Courbe is based in England, but is primarily French-born Charlotte Marionneau. The band name is French for “the volume curves,” which is a sculpture by friend of Marionneau. In addition to Marionneau and Kevin Shields (playing a toy gun, according to the band), musicians who contributed to “The House” are Melanie Draisey, Chris Mackin, Theodore Hall, Lascelle Gordon, and Barney Slater.

     “The House” by Le Volume Courbe

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Holy Holy – Revisiting the Band

     The Australian band Holy Holy released more music on Soundcloud and it has drawn our focus much of today. “Cincinnati” stands slightly above the other songs, because we don’t count “House of Cards,” which was in our Top 20 Songs of 2014.
     “Cincinnati” departs from the 1970’s Southern Rock sound that characterizes “House of Cards.” It has a taste of Southern Rock (with its clean guitar sound and emphasis on vocals), but it’s not a taste that dominates the holistic flavor.
     The core members of Holy Holy are singer/songwriter Timothy Carroll from Brisbane and guitarist/composer Oscar Dawson from Melbourne. Other contributors are Ryan Strathie (Hungry Kids of Hungary) on drums, Graham Ritchie (Emma Louise) on bass, and “special guest Matt Redlich.

     “Cincinnati” by Holy Holy

     “You Cannot Call for Love Like a Dog” by Holy Holy

     “House of Cards” by Holy Holy


“The Pacific” EP - Out 17th April

European Tour
Thur 14 May Brighton, UK The Great Escape (Komedia - Daytime)
Thur 14 May Brighton, UK The Great Escape (Spiegel Tent - Evening)
Sun 17 May Amsterland, NL London Calling Festival (Paradiso)
Mon 18 May Cologne, GER MTC Club
Tue 19 May Ghent, BE Café Video (Headline) FREE ENTRY
Wed 20 May Berlin, GER Comet Club
Fri 22 May Manchester, UK Dot to Dot Festival
Sat 23 May Liverpool, UK Liverpool Sound City (Daytime)
Sat 23 May Bristol, UK Dot to Dot Festival (Evening)
Sun 24 May Nottingham, UK Dot to Dot Festival
Tue 26 May London, UK Old Blue Last (Headline) FREE ENTRY

Tax Day – Bitter?

     Yes, we understand the justifications for paying taxes almost every day of the year. April 15 is the exception.
       “Taxman” by the Beatles
 “If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet”


“Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks
“The tax man's taken all my dough
And left me in this stately home
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
And I can't sail my yacht
He's taken everything I got
All I've got's this sunny afternoon
Save me, save me, save me from this squeeze


“Tear in My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots
“You fell asleep in my car I drove the whole time
But that's okay I'll just avoid the holes so you sleep fine
I'm driving here I sit
Cursing my government
For not using my taxes to fill holes with more cement

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Songs from the Desktop – April 2015

     It’s common for us to purchase a song or for bands to temporarily allow downloads from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Noisetrade or a particular website (Seattle’s great KEXP site being the best example). But at times, we will obtain the song and (unfortunately and inexplicably) forget about it within your clutter of icons. Then, when we clean up the desktop, we write a post about the rediscoveries.

     Blind Lake is the name of the Swedish duo formed by Lotta Wenglén (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals…) and Måns Wieslander (guitar, drums, bass, vocals…). The Facebook page of Blind Lake identifies the genre as “New wave Pop/Sci-fi Folk.” That may sound schizophrenic, but the music doesn’t have the personality disorder that’s characteristic of the human disease. In “Walk beside Me,” the song flows among different personalities, but it does so in a seamless, carefully considered manner.
     “Walk beside Me” by Blind Lake - This is the first single out from the forthcoming album "On earth." Album release June 9, 2015. (Currently, this is a free download CLICK HERE.)


     Little Suns is based in Montreal, Canada, but the band’s orchestral sound is influenced by the Romanian and Hungarian meanderings of members John Aaron Cockburn and Robin Meyer–MacLeod. The other members are Matt Smith, Liam Smith and Daniel Grewal.
      “Where Do People Go When They Go Away” by Little Suns

     “Kelly” by American Wrestlers is a song that will be appreciated by fans of the vocal skills of Thomas Mars, the lead singer of Phoenix. But American Wrestlers isn’t merely defined by the vocals. “Kelly” starts out low fidelity, but transitions to an increased fidelity at the one-minute mark. American Wrestlers is Gary McClure, a transplant to the U.S. from Scotland.
     “Kelly” by American Wrestlers – a song about a victim (Kelly Thomas) of police brutality, allegedly. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

ness – A Band Review

     We checked the blogger playground (Hype Machine) and didn’t find any songs from ness, despite passage of more than two months since the release of their EP “A Second to Think.” We still doubt our search skills. Is ness really beyond the atmosphere of the blogosphere? The duo is far more deserving than bands receiving regular attention.
     The Facebook page of ness identifies their origin as New York and Tel Aviv. It also states that ness is a self-taught songwriting and production duo that records on a laptop in a basement. They are Jesse Weisberg (20) and Ethan Peck (23).
 
     “Behind the Couch” by ness. The charming child laughter at the start grabs the listener’s attention and megaphone-like vocals don’t let it get away.  


     “No Worries” by ness. We like this song from its start. And then it gets better!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nessthebandofficial
Website: http://www.nesstheband.com/

“What I Saw” by Racing Glaciers – A Song Review

     The last time we posted a song from Racing Glaciers, it was with the comment that the song took over as our favorite from the band. Well, a moving “wall of sound” pushed previous songs aside and “What I Saw” is now firmly in place as our song of preference from Racing Glaciers.

     Racing Glaciers is a U.K. band formed of Tim Monaghan (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Danny Thorpe (guitar, backing vocals), Matt Scheepers (bass, trumpet, backing vocals), Simon Millest (guitar), and Matt Welch (drums).
     “What I Saw” by Racing Glaciers

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RacingGlaciers

“Cold Sweat” by Youth – A Song Review

     “Vacation posting” means that the ratio of music to our thoughts is high. We recognize that it’s the music that blog visitors are concerned about anyway.
     Youth is the performance name of Julian Dente, who is based in Nashville, Tennessee. His self-description is “I make music that reminds you of high school. In a good way, though.”
     "Cold Sweat"

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebandjulian
Website: http://youthmusic.us/

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dead Sara and Modest Mouse – Late Night Visits


     In the last two weeks, there has been a greater frequency of bloggable appearances by bands on late night talk shows in the U.S. Our two favorites were by Modest Mouse and Dead Sara.

    
Dead Sara is based in Los Angeles. The core members are Emily Armstrong (vocals, guitar), Siouxsie Medley (guitar), Sean Friday (drums) and Chris Null (bass).

    
     “Something Good” by Dead Sara

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deadsara
Website: http://www.deadsara.com/
 
     Modest Mouse hails from Issaquah, Washington. They are much more of a known quantity than Dead Sara. The band was formed in 1993.


Website: http://www.modestmouse.com/