Sunday, July 31, 2016

“July Bones” by Richard Walters – A Song Review

     As the month of July 2016 steps away, it seems appropriate to post “July Bones,” a song by singer/songwriter Richard Walters. He is based in London, but his music has been featured on a number of U.S. television shows, including Grey’s Anatomy.  

     “July Bones” by Richard Walters

Saturday, July 30, 2016

“Place to Stay” by The Pylons – A Song Review

     The Pylons generate trumpet-infused, harmonization-adorned Indie music. Their sound is particularly inviting when the guitars saunter into the neighbor of Angels and Airwaves, as they do in the song “Place to Stay.”

     The Pylons are from Lincoln, UK. The members are Barnaby Alexander (vocals, guitar); Joey Walker (mandolin, percussion); Joe Davies (horns, backing vocals); Alex Dalton (guitar); and Phil Gale (bass).
     Lyrics of ““Place to Stay”

Lyrics of “Place to Stay”
I'm looking for a master plan
A place to land
A place where I can stand

There's got to be a place to stay
For all these days
Someone to show the way

Running round chasing
All that I wanna be
I've never felt so free

There's a light I know it's
Close to me
I just want to see
All you have for me

There's a piece I know it's
Hard to find
But I know in time
You'll see it's part of the puzzle

Running round chasing
All that I wanna be
I've never felt so free

     “Hold You” by The Pylons

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The July 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. When the downwardly directed arrows disappear from the Soundcloud streams, so do the legal downloads.

     Finding songs that can be legally downloaded is easy. The difficult task is to find legally downloadable music that we recommend. The theme of this post is controlled frenzy. The first song fits more comfortably within that theme, but there are reasons to assert that all three belong. 
     The controlled frenzy starts at the 2:40 mark of “Ramses The Evil Brother.” At that point, the song from The Holy has the feel of “Baba O'Riley” (1971) by The Who. The Holy is based in Helsinki. The members are Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitars, synth), Pyry Peltonen (guitars), Laura Kangasniemi (bass, synth), Samppa Kaartinen (drums), and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums).
     “Ramses The Evil Brother” by The Holy


     YISHAY is a Los Angeles area artist who has roots in North Dakota. “Living Out My Life” begins in a relaxed manner, but much of the song contains the quick-twitch guitar that first enters at 0:40. He identifies his genre as Traprock and will release a second EP,  Trinity Tapes II” on August 8.
     “Living Out My Life” by YISHAY

     Jack Ellis is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter from the southernmost point in South Wales.
     “The Storm” by Jack Ellis 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

“Alluria” by Dear Boy – A Song Review

     Some days call for a song with guitars that are passionate without being demanding, floating without being directionless, and light while having substance. On those days, “Alluria” should be toward the top of the playlist. The song belongs to Dear Boy, a four-member band based in Los Angeles.
     Lyrically, “Alluria” is about a relationship headed toward extinction: “Alluria, give me a reason to stay; just tell me something to change my mind, and a promise to get carried away.” Vocally, the song is praiseworthy – the vocalization is effective in conveying the sentiment behind the lyrics.
     Still, the guitars place “Alluria” ahead of other songs that are deservedly receiving attention in the Indie world. In listening to the guitar work, it’s clear that considerable care was taken in each stage, from the original composing, to the arranging, and through the mixing. The result is a composition in which the contributing elements are interesting, but individually cannot be used to explain the draw to “Alluria.” At times, a simple strum is maintained through a verse, while the vocals and percussion are featured. At other times, there are short bursts in which the guitars are isolated. The attractiveness of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – synergy.

     The members of Dear Boy are Ben Grey (lead vocals, guitar), Keith Cooper (drums, vocals), Austin Hayman (guitar, vocals), and Nils Bue (bass, vocals). 
     “Alluria” by Dear Boy

     “Blond Bones” by Dear Boy

Video Release of “Water on Mars” by Fauna Twin

     Yesterday, we were social-media nudged by a member of Fauna Twin, the European duo formed of Claire Jacquemard and Owain Ginsberg. They released the video for a song praised by Indie Obsessive in June (CLICK HERE, if interested).  “Water on Mars” is a promising debut track, so we’re honored to be asked to help spread the word about Fauna Twin.

Quoting the message from Fauna Twin:
Hello Guys!
How are you doing? Today our first video for our debut single: « Water on Mars » is being released!! This is a good moment for us and we just wanted to share it with you guys. Here are the links:

I really hope you’ll like it. Thank you again for your support ❤ 
Have a good day,
Claire/Fauna Twin

Directed by Vincent Salice
Editor: Vincent Salice
Director of photography: Valentin Tierny
Editor & motion design: Susie Oosting
Lighting director: Florian Huet
Studio Manager: Floréal Filippi
Choreographer: Ari de B
Photographer: Alexandre Resende
Produced by: Crammed Discs
Line producer: Claire Jacquemard
Handyman & walkie-talkie-boy: Valentin Jacquemard
Hair & Make-up supervisor: Charlotte Chellé 
A massive thanks to Christophe Gauchy and his brother to have kindly helped us by letting us use their amazing place « Carrière du Clocher » 
And thanks to the super-extras: Marie, Valentin et Mélanie Jacquemard, Michèle Balum, Ari de B, Charlotte Gallard, Nicolas Caux, Rodolphe Muny, Mélanie Da Silva, Marion Deconinque, Léa et Hugo Doucet, Rémi Bailly, Charlotte Chellé, Floréal Filippi et Indien.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“Even the Dark Don’t Hide It” by Magnolia Electric Co. - A Song Review

  Everyone was shocked by the news of the death of Magnolia Electric Co. frontman, Jason Molina, in 2013. However, this song, originally released on his 2005 live album “Trials & Errors,” is testimony enough to the legacy this fantastic musician has left the world of Indie Rock. The studio version of the track also made an appearance on “What Comes After the Blues,” which was released later that year.

  The song itself is a perfect recipe. The rolling mid-tempo guitar riffs and haunting lyrics make for a classic anthem, beautifully accented with climatic choruses. His obvious Country influence and the strong southern twang in his voice makes this song powerfully reminiscent of music icon, Neil Young.
  If you aren’t familiar with Young’s work, there's an excellent documentary entitled "Heart of Gold," which is available on U.S. Netflix. For those watching from overseas you can find information on how to gain access by visiting:

  Lyrically, Molina has always outdone himself. He's quick to spin metaphors while still retaining his simple, colloquial style. Traditionally exploring the darker corners of our world, "Even the Dark Don't Hide It" successfully follows suite, hinting at betrayals, suffering and the struggles of being human. Wonderfully humorous at points, deeply distressing at others, lyrically this song is an emotional masterpiece. Combined with the classic Molina musical style, it makes for an epic finished product, which is bound to ensure his legacy isn’t forgotten just yet.
To shop Jason Molina’s full discography visit:

     About the Author: Caroline is a music blogger for Culture Coverage. She loves rock music of all kinds—from alternative and indie to classic and heavy metal. She's always on the lookout for great new artists.

Plants and Animals with Basement East’s Mixtape - Noisetrade Tuesday

     This week’s Noisetrade recommendation rolls two offers into the post. A previous post featured “No Worries Gonna Find Us” by Plants and Animals, a Montreal trio comprising Warren Spicer (guitar, vocals), Matthew Woodley (drums, vocals), and Nicolas Basque (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals). The song is one of five tracks on a sampler.


     The Basement East provides Noisetrade offers on a semi-regular basis. The latest is a 6-track mixtape of “New Faces.” The first three are keepers for fans of the Pop/Rock genre.

Monday, July 25, 2016

“Tourist” by French Leave – A Song Review

     The start of “Tourist” reminds us of “My Number” by Foals. The quick-twitch guitar hooks the attention of the listener. Then, it’s up to the vocals and song structure to maintain that attentiveness. Both songs succeed, but from different structural directions.  

     “Tourist” is the handiwork of French Leave. The band is based in Leicester, UK. The members are Chris Reid (vocals, guitar), Steve Jordan (guitar), Ben Phipps (bass), and Oliver Martin (drums).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

“Little White Lies” by Echotape – A Song Review

     Indie is a designation of an economic condition. Or at least indirectly, since it is used to identify a band (or movie, app, …) that is independent of major corporation influence in the practice of its art. That independence comes at the sacrifice of an influx of funding from a corporate entity (either because it’s not offered or because it’s refused).
     With the limited budgets, Indie music tends to lack the instrumental richness of well-funded bands. Bringing extra musicians into the studio may be affordable, but Indie bands need tour revenue to survive and it’s risky to have a lowered-production sound during live performances or to fill-in the sound by synchronizing the on-stage musicians with a recording of the other instruments. The same reasoning applies to the vocals that are typical of Indie music. Most Indie bands aren’t in a position to increase the number of people who receive a share of revenue, even if the quality of the vocals is noticeably improved.

     There are exceptions to the observation that Indie music lacks the richness of the music from the well-established artists. Which brings us (finally!?) to the most recent release of Echotape. “Little White Lies” begins simply enough, with a single vocalist accompanied by an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a touch of percussion. Later, a second voice is included and the electric guitar captures more of the sound of a slide. Still, it’s not until after the 3:30 mark that “Little White Lies” explodes from the typical restraints of the Indie world. The electric guitars head in different directions in their approaches. The harmonization and percussion make a stronger demand for spreading the attention of the listener. And is that a string section that can be heard in the final minute of "Little White Lies"?

    Echotape is a four-piece band based in Middle Wallop, UK. The members are Marc Burford (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Dan Bowman (guitar, vocals), Daniel Morriss (bass), Mike Burford (drums).
    “Little White Lies” by Echotape

     “We've Been Dreaming” by Echotape (One of our favorite videos.)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Best of 2016 – January Through June

     A little late, but here are our top 20 discoveries in the first half of 2016. 

    1. “Way Down We Go” by Kaleo (from the concert review of March 11, CLICK HERE if interested).

      2. “I & I” by LUH (from the post of January 27, CLICK HERE if interested).

     3. “Something for Nothing” by Rationale (from the post of January 18, CLICK HERE if interested).

     4. "We Are Infinite” by The Lighthouse and The Whaler (from the post of March 29 CLICK HERE if interested).

     5. “Fire” by Barns Courtney (from the post of May 15, CLICK HERE if interested).

     6. “She Burns” by Foy Vance (from the post of March 30 CLICK HERE if interested).

     7. "Blue Inside” by onDeadWaves (from the post of January 22, CLICK HERE if interested).

     8. "All Day All Night" by River Whyless (from the post of June 13, CLICK HERE if interested).

      9. “Golden Ticket” by Highasakite (from the post of April 13, CLICK HERE if interested).

     10. “Better Days” by Old Sea Brigade (from the post of April 6, CLICK HERE if interested).

     11. “Castles in Air” by Seawaves (from the post of January 24, CLICK HERE if interested).

     12. "Darkness” by Oliver Daldry (from the post of July 4 (but discovered in June), CLICK HERE if interested).

     13. “Let Go” by Bears with Guns (from the post of March 2, CLICK HERE if interested).

     14. “This Year” by Ine Hoem (from the post of May 22, CLICK HERE if interested).

     15. “Dead Century” by Wildlife (from the post of May 25, CLICK HERE if interested).

     16. “Call It Home” by Jillian Edwards (from the post of March 1 CLICK HERE if interested).

      17. “Inside Your Mind” by Gypsy & the Cat (from the post of February 21, CLICK HERE if interested).

     18. “Noisecreep” by Young and Heartless (from the post of April 8 CLICK HERE if interested).

      19. “Child” by Ninet (Ninet Tayeb) (from the post of March 3 CLICK HERE if interested).

     20. “Someone Who’ll Get It” by Highasakite (from the post of February 26 CLICK HERE if interested).

Friday, July 22, 2016

Outside Lands Festival – Early Starters

     If you’re like most of us heading to the San Francisco festival in fourteen days, you’re not as prepared as you’d like to be. Sure, you know most of the bands performing within the last few hours of each day – LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Lionel Richie, Lana Del Rey …. But what about the bands that have early start times?
     Here are some recommendations of bands with start times within the first three hours of each day. It's a good time to enjoy the festival atmosphere - the festival population is still low, the bands are entertaining, and there are choices to be made. 

     Friday at 1:30 on the Panhandle Stage – Moon Taxi.
If you’ve been watching the Tour de France television coverage, you have heard a song by Moon Taxi. “All Day All Night” in the music on a McDonald’s commercial. The connection to a fast food chain may not go over well in a city like San Francisco, but this is one of the best (or the best) Southern Rock bands in Indie. 

     Saturday at 12:00 on the Sutro Stage – Julien Baker
Maybe the noon start is from concern that her style isn’t well suited for a festival atmosphere. We don’t share that concern! We’ve seen her twice this year and will be as close as possible for this third opportunity. 

     Friday at 1:15 on the Sutro Stage – Caveman
This is not the first Outside Lands visit by Caveman. This time they arrive with a larger discography.  

     Friday at 2:05 on the Lands End Stage – Ra Ra Riot
It’s a little surprising that a band with this level of notoriety has such an early start. Their music isn’t within our list of favorite genres, but good music is good regardless of tastes.  

     Saturday at 2:35 on the Sutro Stage – Ibeyi
Ibeyi is a duo comprising twin sisters of French-Cuban descent. The sisters are Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz. 

     Saturday at 12:45 on the Lands End Stage - Lewis Del Mar
Lewis Del Mar appeared on the James Corden show and proved to be entertaining.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

“Luna” by ISLE – A Song Review

     Particularly at the start of “Luna,” it’s fair to conclude that the percussion drives the song. The vocals and synth play important roles, but removal of the percussion would have the largest negative impact on the enjoyment of “Luna.” Yes, as the song progresses, the “measure of negative impact” is reduced. During a middle segment (1:44 until 2:31), traditional percussion is often absent. Still, if you’re a fan of fast paced, mix-emphasized percussion, this song from ISLE is recommended.

     ISLE is a duo comprising producer Liam John Rutherford and drummer Ben Singer. The Facebook page of ISLE identifies Scottish Borders as their hometown and Glasgow as their current location. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Show Review: The Regrettes and Tacocat at The Echo (7/19/16)

     By Rebecca Gross; Twitter: @becsgross
     All photos in this post are attributed to Adam Thomas and are among the photos posted in the Facebook album of The Echo (Echo Facebook album).

     Last night, I made my way from The Valley to what feels like the mecca of Indie/Alternative music in Los Angeles – Echo Park. Echo Park has recently gotten a reputation for being the center of the music and art scene in LA, and upon returning back to this city after being in other cities around the country and the world, I can honestly say that reputation holds merit.
     The Echo and The Echoplex lay at the center of the neighborhood just blocks away from the park, surrounded by hip restaurants, book stores, and record stores. The borough in itself is a place to spend copious amounts of time in, if you are interested in the Indie/Alternative scene.

     But last night I was not just going down to Echo Park for the scene, I was going to see a couple of my favorite bands reigning over the current Indie/Beach/Garage Rock scene. Getting in line at The Echo, I stood eagerly anticipating the show ahead of me.
     I went to see Tacocat, one of my favorite bands from the Seattle music scene I’ve grown to know and love since I started college there. But upon arriving, I became excited to see The Regrettes name was on the ticket too.
     Opening for Tacocat, The Regrettes appeared on stage with their highly stylized fashion: Front woman Lydia Night wore all pink, including a large fuzzy jacket, a pink dress, and even her guitar; lead guitarist Genessa Gariano emerged in a two-piece sea foam green shirt and skirt also matching her guitar; and bassist Sage Nicole wore an all-black dress to match her bass too. At first glance, it was clear that this band did not lack any flair.
     But their music didn’t lack any flair either—which is surprising considering Night (who writes most of the songs) is only fifteen years old. The band immediately pulled out their Garage Rock and retro sound with a more polished tone to it, and later broke into their 90s girl-Punk sound with Night channeling Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill. Maxx Morando on drums showed off his talent with effortless solos and syncopation accentuating the brilliance in the rest of the band’s musical elegance.
      “A Living Human Girl” by The Regrettes

     It was pretty evident that The Regrettes stole the show last night, but the band I had originally made my pilgrimage to The Echo to see did not disappoint.
     Tacocat took the stage in none other than their sequined and lively garb complimenting their funky, brightly colored hair. Emily Nokes on lead vocals and tambourine bounced around the stage in her pink fringed shirt, while Lelah Maupin on drums, Eric Randall on guitar, and Bree McKenna on bass came out with full energy, epitomizing their reputation for short, punchy, beach-punk songs.
     Although Tacocat’s tour follows the release of their newest LP, “Lost Time,” which was released in April, the highlights of the band’s set were songs from their second studio album, “NVM,” which came out in 2014 on Hardly Art. Their song, “Psychedelic Quinceañera,” pulled from mariachi instrumentals and harsher vocals and stood out as having a more unique sound live than their other music. “Crimson Wave,” my favorite track off “NVM,” sounded better than it did recorded on the album. The mostly 20-something audience seemed to think so too—I didn’t see one person standing still in the crowd. When the members of the band weren’t singing, dancing, and playing their feminist inspired, zestful music, they were wittily bantering along the stage with one another about the subjects of their songs and their nostalgic times together.
     If you’re looking for a tour highlighting two high-powered, girl-fronted, retro-inspired, young, and lively bands, make that spontaneous trip down to San Diego to see the band tonight (7/20) at The Soda Bar, or tomorrow (7/21) in Long Beach at Fingerprints Records - where Tacocat will put on a FREE show!

Sykoya and LOWES. – UK Trios

     We are hereby obsessed with recent offerings from two bands with much in common, but which stand separate and strong. They are both trios and are based in the UK. Both use piano to create the desired atmosphere. Most significantly, Sykoya and LOWES are fronted by female vocalists with breathtaking power and purity.   

     Sykoya is London-based. The members are Anna Marcella (lead vocals, synth). Joe Cross (bass, synth, backing vocals), and Curtis ElVidge (drums). The song “The Wolf” is on their EP, “Strange Night,” released in May 2016. In “The Wolf,” the vocals of Marcella often soar, which is a description we try to avoid because of its overuse. But the single-syllable frequency variations that often characterize the vocals are best defined as soars. As an example, starting at 1:27, a word ("lie") ascends through a range of frequencies before we hear "with me." 
      “The Wolf" by Sykoya

      “Awake at Night” is the Soundcloud debut of LOWES. The band name is from Lancaster and comprises Evie Plumb (lead vocals, keys), Jamie Walker (guitar, backing vocals), and Luke Paget (drums, backing vocals).
     “Awake at Night” by LOWES.

Lyrics of “Awake at Night” by LOWES.
Lights Off, eyes open,
Lie still, mind racing
Colors flash and fade
Night turns to day
I'm still, holding on to something,
thinking I can make you change
Who am I to be so wrong,
Thinking that you need me when I'm gone.

So I close my eyes,
I'll force you from my mind,
Awake at night,
You go round and round,
Feel so low,
And all I ever hear, is “just let go,”
But you go round and round and round.

A thousand hours spent,
Wondering what you meant,
Nothing matters no,
This numbness hurts somehow
I'm still, holding on to something,
Thinking I can make you change
Who am I to be so wrong,
Thinking that you need me when I'm gone.

[Repeat chorus]