Thursday, March 31, 2016

“Way Home” by Happy Hollows – A Song Review

     For reasons unrelated to music, we’ve followed Happy Hollows (there are lasting memories of experiences at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose). Many of the past songs from the band have been placed on playlists. But “Way Home” is the track that caused us to question why the band has not been praised in a blog post.
     In “Way Home,” Sarah Negahdari moves effortlessly and flawlessly between volumes, pitches and vocal effects. At times, her voice suddenly jumps to both a greater strength and a higher pitch. The vocal effects include note “twists” and even barks toward the end of the song. The guitars sound deceptively non-complex, until the focus is taken from the vocals and directed to the instruments. The synth is present, but never pushed to the front. “Way Home” is not a Synth Pop track.

     The members of Happy Hollows are Sarah Negahdari (vocals/guitar), Charlie Mahoney (bass, synth), and Matt Fry (guitar), and Dan Marcellus (drums). In an email submission from Sarah, she explained:
     "Happy Hollows is the unlikeliest of matches, founded by two polar opposites: Northern California native and free-spirited guitarist Sarah Negahdari and international relations professor and bassist Charles Mahoney. The two initially met at a Los Angeles strip mall where Sarah was reading tarot cards to pay the bills. Mahoney had just moved to Los Angeles from Washington D.C. to pursue his Ph.D. at UCLA. At the time, neither could imagine they would spend the next couple of years writing songs, becoming a staple of Los Angeles’ underground music scene, and touring throughout the United States in a blue Chevrolet mini-van with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. In the following years, the band became a four piece adding the support of Long Beach guitar genie Matthew Fry and Peabody Conservatory trained drummer Daniel Marcellus to the line-up."

      “Way Home” by Happy Hollows

Website: http://www.happyhollows.net/

Happy Hollows will be supporting Lucius on tour in May!
Catch the Happy Hollows live on tour with Lucius on the following dates:

May 13 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
May 14 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
May 16 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
May 17 - Des Moines, IA - Wooly's
May 18 - St. Louis, MO - The Ready Room
May 20 - Dallas, TX - Trees
May 21 - Austin, TX - Emo's East  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

“She Burns” by Foy Vance – A Song Review

     Foy Vance released a vocal showpiece for his upcoming release of an album entitled “The Wild Swan.” The album will drop on May 13. If other tracks are on par with “She Burns,” the blogosphere will be abuzz with praise for Foy Vance.
     The vocal skills of Foy Vance distinguish “She Burns” from other songs that deserve attention. But the backup vocals are almost as attractive. Add the periodic bass line (first heard at 1:32), and you have a song to get excited about.

     Foy Vance is an Irish singer/songwriter who currently lives in Aberfeldy, Scotland. 
     “She Burns” by Foy Vance


Lyrics of “She Burns” by Foy Vance
She is a little explosion of hope
Never turns the lights down low
She can go there if you wanna though

There are no markings on a country road
No signs that show the way back home
When you get there you won’t wanna go

I’ve frozen all my desire
Covered up in virgin snow
But when I stand beside her
She burns yeah, she burns
Like petrol soaked paper and fireworks
And I’m burning, yeah I’m burning
I’m burning so deep that just breathing hurts
I’m melting darling, and I can’t let go

She likes to lay under the covers though

Pretending everywhere’s our home
Keeps me warm, right to my very soul
We get so tangled up its hard to know
What is hers and what’s my own
Vines at the bottom of an olive grove

I’ve frozen all my desire
Covered up in virgin snow
But when I stand beside her
She burns yeah, she burns
Like petrol soaked paper and fireworks
And I’m burning, yeah I’m burning
I’m burning so deep that just breathing hurts
I’m melting darling, I can’t let go
I’m melting darling, I can’t let go
I’m melting darling, I can’t let go
[Repeat]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Compilation from Roll Call Records - Noisetrade Tuesday

     Until our library of Noisetrade recommendations is exhausted, most Tuesdays will feature a Noisetrade offer of songs available for the price of an email address.  
     This week, we strongly recommend the compilation of artists from Roll Call Records. By itself, the three minutes (and five seconds) of “We Are Infinite” justifies the effort, as well as including a tip. But there are other gems, such as “Icon Love” by On An On and songs by Geographer and Typhoon (one of our favorite Orchestral Rock bands).

      Grab this one before it is taken off "the shelf."

     “We Are Infinite” by The Lighthouse and The Whaler


     “Icon Love” by On An On

Deceptive Intros – Masking the Sophistication

     Is it fair to judge a song by the first few bars? With so many songs becoming available on a daily basis, it’s tempting to assume that it is. Here are two songs that refute the assumption.
     The intro of “Sinking Ships” by Venus Demilo is a repeating pattern of single syllable words, with no intent to form a sentence. Standing alone, the intro would lead to the conclusion that the song has a musical sophistication on the same level of Two Door Cinema Club’s “I Can Talk,” which employed the same approach to an intro. No disrespect to the earlier song, but “Sinking Ships” should not be compared to “I Can Talk.” The song of Venus Demilo is thoughtfully arranged to reinforce the message of the lyrics. Merely as one example, the entrance of the band vocals at 1:35 is effective in emphasizing the poetic, heartfelt message of “Sinking Ships.”

     Venus Demilo is a Liverpool-based band formed of Tom Anderson (vocals/rhythm guitar), Reuben Hobson (lead guitar), Christopher Connor (bass) and Ryan Williams (drums).
     “Sinking Ships” by Venus Demilo


     The simplicity at the start of “Wake Up (111th Dream)” masks the lyrical sophistication that follows. Another reviewer creatively compared the intro to Owl City’s style (“Shooting Star”?). Truthfully, sometimes the vocal delivery style masks the sophistication of the lyrics of the song by Magic Bronson. But quoting the press material of the band:
    “'Wake Up (111th Dream)' was written by Matthew Lieberman following a fresh break up with his girlfriend. After a wild weekend of partying to help ease his pain, and after weeks of listening to his old vinyl of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, Lieberman sat down at his keyboard and wrote the emotionally-charged lyrics that evoke love, heartache, redemption and longing. He then threw in a few pirate ships, a game of truth and dare, and the names of some of his key life-influences to layer the lyrics and add to their surreal, dream-like quality. Michael Nicastro ratcheted up the song a few notches by reworking the arrangement, adding a catchy synth melody and bringing in Edgar Sandoval to play violin; the strings lend the song an eerily-cinematic feel that builds and bursts as Nicastro implores himself to 'WAKE UP' from his dream. It’s a haunting and emotional ride from first note to last that becomes increasingly nuanced with each and every listen."

     “Wake Up (111th Dream)" by Magic Bronson

Monday, March 28, 2016

Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The March Version


     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. 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 a set period of time.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
     Finding songs that can be legally downloaded is easy. The difficult task is to find legally downloadable music that we recommend. Here are three.

     Kinder Than Wolves is a trio based in Orlando, Florida. The members are Paige Coley (vocals, guitar), Ryan Snow (guitar), and Grant Freeman (drums). The Facebook page of the band states that they generate “sad songs with a good beat.”
     On April 15, Kinder Than Wolves will release a five-track EP entitled "Mean Something."
     “Hover” by Kinder Than Wolves


     Rehearsed Living is a UK band (Sheffield) formed of Steven Jones, Simon Jones, and Ruth Davies.
     “Stitch in Time”


     The music of Year of Glad probably best fits in the Drone Folk genre. They operate from Montreal, Canada and comprise A.P. Bergeron “and his shifting band of cronies.” The shift includes Nick Laugher, Andre Bendahan, Patrick Cruvellier, James Goddard, and Aaron Johnstone.  
     “Blythe” by Year of Glad


BONUS TRACKS – Free, Legal and Recommended. 
     “Lights” by Ivory Tower


     “There’s Rain in Us All” by Sleight Orchestra


     “Miss Lionheart” by Katie Ellie

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SXSW 2016 – A Quick Recap

This is just a short pictorial recap of some of the SXSW experiences.

Best performance by a band - The Record Company with its Blues-infused Rock.


Best deliver by a band for which we already had high expectations – Run River North.


Best Hip Hop - Flo Rida 



Best Electronic – HÆLOS.


Best Southern Rock - Future Thieves.



Best performance in a church – L.E.J. from France.



Best performance by a singer/songwriter – Julien Baker.


Best performance by a person named Ninet.


Poorest attitude – White Lung at The Barracuda.

Kaleo
Saint Sister - with harp
Swimm
Wet Secrets in their band garb
Grizfolk

Saturday, March 26, 2016

“Kaleidoscope” by BROOKFIELD – A Song Review

     Songs that seamlessly blend almost contradictory qualities tend to have a staying power. If that holds true, “Kaleidoscope” will enjoy an extended stay on our main playlist. The song blends a gentle sensitivity with a forceful message. At the 2:52 mark of “Kaleidoscope,” a light and airy guitar is blended with a Rock-ready guitar sound.
     “Kaleidoscope” was released by Duncan Brookfield, who uses the performance name BROOKFIELD. He is a singer/songwriter based in London. The press material state that BROOKFIELD “has drawn comparisons from London Grammar to Tom Odell.” We would go with Dan Smith of Bastille, particularly for the voice inflections while turning the single syllable words “one” and “won” into two syllables.

     “Kaleidoscope” by BROOKFIELD

Website: http://www.iambrookfield.com/

Lyrics of “Kaleidoscope”
Have we become what we would hate to be?
Or have I just lost the vision of what you want to see?
It's hard to look beyond those fashioned lies
The world is a kaleidoscope and I'm not seeing right.

You're talking to me
But I don't hear a word
You're holding me
But I can't feel your hand upon my cheek
You're praying for me
But I've already burned
I'm lost in a dream
And I cannot return.

And I've started feeling helpless
This war cannot be won.
And I'm used to seeing colors
'Cause I thought you were the one.

And now I'm only restless
I've got a case of wanderlust
I just want to venture out into the darkness,
And see what I've become,
To see what I've become.

This life with you was not hte one I planned
But I keep going under, left in the sinking sand
The years go by but I’m not growing young
As I begin to gasp for air from this iron lung.

And I've started feeling helpless,
This war cannot be won.
And I'm used to seeing colors,
I thought you were the one.

And now I'm only restless,
I've got a case of wanderlust
I just want to venture out into the darkness,
And see what I've become
To see what I've become.

Friday, March 25, 2016

“Spools” by TUFT – A Song Review

     The predominant thought during the first few plays of “Spools” by TUFT was that the vocalization was exceptionally arranged and executed. Then, the thinking moved to a question – Can they do this in a concert setting? The answer is that TUFT can! A “Jam in the Van” performance of the song is embedded at the bottom of this post.
     In concert, the horns will be missing. In another track (“What I Am Doing”), TUFT is assisted by the Franklinton High School Jazz Ensemble. We assume the high school musicians also assisted in “Spools.” While the horns are appreciated in “Spools,” the vocalization is sufficient reason to catch a concert performance. TUFT will visit the El Rio in San Francisco on April 4 and Church House in Santa Cruz on April 5.
     The members of the Los Angeles band are Casey Trela (guitar), Roxy Radulescu (guitar), Kevin Manwarren (bass) and Chris Dunn (drums). TUFT was prevoulsly names Hi Ho Silver Oh.
     TUFT is scheduled to release its debut LP on April 8. The tracks on the “Look Look” LP will be:
1. "Constant"
2. "What I Am Doing"
3. "Sheep"
4. "Stills"
5. "Look Look"
6. "Spools"
7. "No Wonders"
8. "Lanyards"
9. "VCVC"
10. "Nothing"

     “Spools” by TUFT

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“Lost in Your Love” by The New Coast – A Song Review

     The New Coast steps into the release scene with a song featuring percussion. “Lost in Your Love” begins with light guitar and vocals, but the larger-scale drum sounds enter at 0:45.
     The New Coast is a duo from East London. The members are Nick Blyth and Chris Cheater.

     “Lost in Your Love” by The New Coast


Lyrics of “Lost in Your Love” (with some best guesses)
Sipping teardrops on an open beach
For your loving and your lust
But you’re way up my waiting here
This house is too small for the both of us

Tell me where I’m gonna see you there
‘Cause I’m lost in your love
Tell me how I’m gonna see you there
This house is too small for the both of us

Call me up,
Say my name, Honey
Call me up,
Say my name

I don’t know where you are
So honey come and save me
All I see in the dark
So honey won’t you come

I wanna know your lost lost love
I wanna know your lost love
I can see in the dark

Now I’m running on Paraga Beach
‘Cause I trust in your love
The sun is blaring out your eyes again
Can I redo what’s been undone?

Tell me when I’m gonna see you there
‘Cause I’m lost in your love
Tears falling off the skin again
An ocean full for the both of us

Call me up,
Say my name, Honey
Call me up,
Say my name

I don’t know where you are
So honey come and save me
All I see in the dark
So Honey won’t you come

I wanna know your lost lost love
I wanna know your lost love
I just see in the dark

I’m lost in your love
Tell me where I’m gonna see you there
I’m lost in your love
The house is too small for the both of us
Lost in your love
Lost in your love
Lost in your love

I don’t know where you are
So Honey come and save me
All I see in the dark
So Honey won’t you know

I wanna know you’re lost lost love
I wanna know you’re lost love
I just see in the dark
I just see in the dark
Lost in your love

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Songs from the Desktop – March 2016

     There are those times when songs are purchased, enjoyed for a number of weeks, and then undeservedly neglected. But sitting in an airplane for hours provides motivation to “click” desktop icons that were going unnoticed. Here are two songs that should have been posted nearly nine months ago.

     “Why Let It Go” successfully folds Blues/Funk into a Reggae rhythm. The bass line initially establishes the feel of the song, but the final minute is controlled by a horn section.
     The song belongs to Telegraph Canyon, a band based in Fort Worth, Texas. The members are Christopher Johnson, Bobby Zanzucchi, Austin Green, Chuck Brown, Olivia Bruce, Tamara Cauble Brown, and Erik Wolfe.
     “Why Let It Go” by Telegraph Canyon


     Mozaics is a band located in Jersey Channel Islands, UK. The members are Christian Silver, Chris Nutter, Craig Farrell, and Rich Oxley. “Rise” is a Pop/Rock track with an attractive cooperation of vocals and percussion.
     “Rise” by Mozaics


Francis - Noisetrade Tuesday

     Until our library of Noisetrade recommendations is exhausted, most Tuesdays will feature a Noisetrade offer of songs available for the price of an email address.  

    This week, the recommendation is the eleven-track album “Marathon” by Francis. Our favorite track is “Follow Me Home,” a song featured in a post of November 5, 2015. Francis is a quintet based in Falun, Sweden. The members are Petra Mases (vocals), Petter Nygårdh (drums), Jerker Krumlinde (guitar), Paulina Mellkvist (bass), and Oskar Bond (keyboard). 

Monday, March 21, 2016

“Anything But Yourself” by Tom Greenwood – A Song Review

     Like other blogs, the visit to Austin for SXSW has put us behind schedule in posting songs that deserve attention. It’s time to make the effort to get back on pace. Tom Greenwood is a good place to start.

    “Anything But Yourself” is blogworthy for its guitar, although the vocals are a treat. It’s uncommon to hear an emphasis on shoegaze after hitting “Play” for a song attributed to a person. That is, there isn’t an expectation of shoegaze guitar upon seeing the name Tom Greenwood. The expectation is more aligned with a singer/songwriter holding an acoustic guitar. But Greenwood surprises the listener.  
     “Anything But Yourself” by Tom Greenwood

Website: http://www.tomgreenwoodband.com/

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Southern Rock at SXSW

     The Southern Rock songs we would enjoy catching in Austin, Texas (SXSW) include songs from the UK and the US.

    The People The Poet - "Take"


     Motel Radio – “Gimme Your Love”


     The Wild Feathers – “The Ceiling”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Night Talks—They’re coming to The Mint!

By Rebecca Gross; Twitter: @becsgross


     Based in LA, Night Talks is the next up and coming band to watch. Although the group has been playing music together since they were 13, they are truly developing into a beautiful alt-rock sound we need more of in the synth pop revival era.
    Taking full advantage of classic rock instruments, the group is composed of Soraya Sebghati on vocals, Jacob Butler on guitar, Josh Arteaga on bass, and Cris Arteaga on drums. Unlike many groups that merely borrow from progressive rock and classic alt-rock, this group is female fronted, which partially explains the unique sound of Night Talks. Sebghati’s strong and powerful vocals, combined with well trained and detailed instrumentals, are what separate Night Talks from other bands in the same scene.
     Night Talks does not subscribe to one genre: You’ll find intonations of progressive rock mixed with more alternative, indie, and beach rock elements. This is exemplified in one song, “4X4,” in which the band begins with an Indie drumbeat, light guitar, and happy melodic singing. Before the end of the song, the band’s sound becomes much more chaotic, in a really positive way, as a result of intense vocals and darker lyrics.
     Although their sound is unlike any other, I would compare the group’s vibe to a sound reminiscent of The Strokes combined with The Arctic Monkeys and combined with Beach House.

     If you’d be interested in hearing this amalgamation of acoustics, then Night Talks is most definitely for you. So come out and see Night Talks on March 26th at The Mint in Los Angeles—you won’t regret what is bound to be an awesome night full of great music.


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

Monday, March 14, 2016

Three Recommendations - Swimm, Emily Wolfe and Close Talker

     Embedded below are three songs we strongly recommend and that we hope to see performed in Austin this week (SXSW).

"Belly" by Swimm


“Mechanical Hands” by Emily Wolfe


"For the Sun" by Close Talker