Monday, October 31, 2016

“You Don’t Know Me” by The Cave Singers – A Song Review

     Admittedly, we don’t understand why most repetitive instruments quickly becomes tiresome, but there are rare exceptions in which the repetitiveness is one of the favorite features of the song. It has to be more than the sequence of notes. In “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem, the repetitive piano isn’t even a sequence; it’s the same chord played periodically. The song would not be nearly as interesting if the repetition were eliminated. Why does our short-attention-span listening tolerate this?
     Another entry to the short list of exceptions was made when we heard “You Don’t Know Me” by The Cave Singers. The guitar plays a simple, slow-tempo hook that is present for the entire song. It is as attractive at the end of the song as it was three minutes earlier. It’s one of our favorite features, but the song is not dependent upon the hook. The male vocals have a roughness that is ideal for “You Don’t Know Me” and contrast favorably with the purity of the female vocals entering just before the two-minute mark. The Cave Singers will play in San Francisco on November 3 (Thursday) and in Santa Cruz on November 4. The trio does not include a female, so the vocal contrast will be missing. But the other song features will travel with the band. [For tickets information about the San Francisco performance at Rickshaw Stop, CLICK HERE.]
     The Cave Singers are based in Seattle. The band members are vocalist/songwriter Pete Quirk, guitarist Derek Fudesco, and drummer Marty Lund (and sometimes Morgan Henderson).

     “You Don’t Know Me” by The Cave Singers

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Two Halloween-Relevant Song Titles - FOXKEEPER and Berlin Bar Hounds

     “Haunted Houses” arrives with guitar ablaze. The guitar soon takes a backseat to the vocals and percussion, but periodically reoccupies the drivers’ seat. The song arrangement and production are masterful in their design and manipulation of the elements of “Haunted Houses.”
     The song by FOXKEEPER will be one of five tracks on the upcoming EP, “The Beach Dream.” The EP is scheduled for release in December 2016. FOXKEEPER is the performance name of Andy Feller, who is based in Nashville after relocating from Tampa, Florida. 
     According to FOXKEEPER,
  "We all seem to go through dark times, but it can make such a big difference when you have someone shining a light. Sometimes it's hard to understand why we’re going through situations and it’s almost as if we have to fake our way through it, telling ourselves we’re fine, disregarding our own feelings just to not feel destroyed. We try like hell to get through it. In life at times we seem to be at battle with some type of evil, a haunting evil. But, more importantly -when we’re ready, we have the power to overcome it with a greater good."
      “Haunted Houses” by FOXKEEPER


     Berlin Bar Hounds is Bjorn Borg from Central Coast, Australia. His Halloween-appropriate song title is “Skeleton.”


Friday, October 28, 2016

Free Friday (“FL&R”) - October 28

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of their releases.  The end of an offer is usually based on 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. The hope is to post FL&R songs each Friday.
     Arro Jones is a singer/songwriter in Manchester, UK. He has visited California and his debut single, “Fever,” was inspired by late night drives during the visit. Jones describes the song as a homage to the neon-lit, late night travels around Los Angeles. Half-whispered vocals and a floating guitar carry “Fever,” until the guitar goes into a Rock mode at 2:46. 
     “Fever will be included in an upcoming debut EP, entitled “Middle of the Night.” The EP will drop in late November or early December. 

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

     Magnetic North is an Indie Rock band in Newark, Delaware. The members are Troy Hamill (vocals, guitar), Gabe Spadaccini (guitar), Jack Daqui (bass), and Patrick Heath (drums).
     “Something in the Water” by Magnetic North


      Lake South hails from Auckland, New Zealand.
     “Renters” by Lake South (available on a name-you-price basis)


Lyrics of “Renters”
been thinking how we gonna make ends meet?
I got nothing coming in this week
I been looking but I haven’t found nothing yet
How we ever gonna pay the rent?

And I wanna live in it.
In the town where I grew up
On this land that i love

We been spending all our money on these shitty flats
We ain’t ever gonna get it back

I know people that are marching on the streets for this
I don’t blame them it’s a bloody mess

Cos they wanna live in it.
In the town where I grew up
On this land that i love

I’m a fool you know i’ve fallen for the fallacy
Buy a house have a family.
I’m a lucky one you know I got my sweet heart
We’re gonna help each other out
We’re gonna lighten the load
In Tāmaki Makaurau

And I wanna live in it.
In the town where I grew up
On this land that i love

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"The American Dream" by The Federal Empire – A Song Review

     If you’re a fan of band vocals, anthems or affluenza, we highly recommend “The American Dream.” It’s a song from The Federal Empire, a trio in Los Angeles. According to the band, “’The American Dream’ is "a small commentary on instant gratification as human beings. We are all guilty of it. We want what we want and not what we need or what is good for us."

     The Federal Empire has an Indie Rock sound with Americana influences. The three members are Chad Wolf, Keith Varon, and McKay Stevens. "The American Dream" is the title track from their debut EP (released this week – October 28). 


Lyrics of “The American Dream” by The Federal Empire
I smoke weed in the city of a Netflix nation
Laying in bed all day, stay naked
Never gonna stop until I have it all
I want a burger with fries, supersize my bacon
Big apple pie, as much as I can take in
Never gonna stop until I have it all
Singing oh oh oh oh
Give me liberty or give me death
Oh oh oh oh
Ain't nothing else

I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
I want what I want, not what I need
The American dream
I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
What I want's just what I want
The American dream

I want a house on a hill and a couple of mansions
G4, a jet and a Lambo to crash in
Never gonna stop until I have it all
I want a Playboy Bunny in a schoolgirl outfit
Botox lips and the Silicon Valley
Never gonna stop until I have it all

Singing oh oh oh oh
Give me liberty or give me death
Oh oh oh oh
Ain't nothing else

I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
I want what I want, not what I need
The American dream
I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
What I want's just what I want
The American dream

I like it bigger, faster, stronger
Give it to me louder, harder
I like it bigger, faster, stronger
Give it to me louder, harder
I like it bigger, faster, stronger
Give it to me louder, harder
I like it bigger, faster, stronger
Give it to me louder, harder

I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
I want what I want, not what I need
The American dream
I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
What I want's just what I want
The American dream
What I want's just what I want
The American dream

I like it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

“Connected” by Side Saddle – A Song Review

     “Connected” takes three long strides through Indie Rock. A piano and acoustic guitar introduce the song. The first stride occurs when the percussion and vocals enter. The electric guitar includes Southern Rock elements during this first section of the song. The next stride occurs at 2:08, when the electric guitar pushes to the front and initiates a section in which the supporting Southern Rock elements are replaced by Shoegaze characteristics. Then, at 3:27, “Connected” transitions to full-fledged Rock. The guitar in this third section is reminiscent of the guitar work in Jeff Wayne's orchestral version of H.G. Wells’ book “The War of the Worlds.”

     “Connected” is a track on “Stunner,” which will be released by Side Saddle on October 28, 2016. Side Saddle is based in Astoria, New York. Its members are Ian McGuinness, TJ Dumser, Ryan Sniffen, Brendan Coughlan, Rich Bozek and Eric Tait Jr.


Lyrics of “Connected” by Side Saddle
I took a drive
To clear my head
One headlight out
And the other one half dead

I got the windows down
Turn the radio on
In an attempt to realize
I had to disappear from

Oh what is there inside me I've been searching all my life
Is everything connected in your mind?

If I could close my eyes
And let it drive itself
Then maybe I could breathe
Or help remind myself

I pulled over on the right side
To stare and sigh and lose my mind

I pulled over on the right side
To stargaze while I lost my mind
[You can let yourself escape from all of this]

What is there inside me I've been searching all my life?
Is everything connected in your mind?
And I've been scared to waste time where I'd rather not reside
But babe it gets so hard to leave each time
That I can't

What is there inside me I've been searching all my life?
[Repeat]

What is there inside me I've been searching all my life?
Is everything connected in your mind?
And I've been scared to waste time where I'd rather not reside
But babe it gets so hard to leave each time
That I can't

Monday, October 24, 2016

Goodblood and Little Children – Male/Female Vocalization

     Today’s post features two songs with a combination of male and female vocals. The two vocal contributions aren’t equal, but both are fundamental to the sound. The songs reflect opposite sides of a relationship. “Knockin’ At My Door” has a gentle optimism, as it reflects on the life changes arriving with the relationship. The song contrasts the hopelessness experienced before the meeting with the hopefulness afterward.
      “(we used to feel) Higher” is in a different space. The relationship is far from its peak. But it is not a lost cause. 

          Goodblood is a duo from Columbus, Ohio. They are Jason Turner and Tyler Earnest.
“Knockin’ At My Door” by Goodblood – The song is primarily acoustic, with a nonintrusive electric guitar making a presence. 

Website: http://www.goodbloodband.com/

     Little Children is Linus Lutti in Stockholm, Sweden – “(we used to feel) Higher.” Linus Lutti, Andreas Söderström, and Nanna Brickaman.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

“Silver” by Matthew and Me – A Song Review

     Each release from Matthew and Me reminds us of music from Yes during its heyday (1968-1978). Matthew and Me hasn’t taken the Yes sound, or even borrowed it. There are fundamental differences between the music of the two bands. Still, we are fans of both partially because we enjoy characteristics they share.
     In the track “Silver,” the vocal strength and range are among the “shared characteristics.” Instrumentally, it’s the guitar work beginning at 2:28 that bears the closest resemblance to Yes.
     At first, we thought the abrupt ending of “Silver” was odd, but soon realized the end of “Silver” is the start of the track “Figure.” When played consecutively, there is a seamless flow from one song into the next. Matthew and Me are based in Totnes, UK. The core members are Matthew Board (vocals) and Lucy Fawcett (drums). “Silver” and "Figure" will be the first two tracks on the EP "Startpoint," due for release on November 18th via Beatnik Creative.
     “Silver” by Matthew and Me

Saturday, October 22, 2016

“Haze” by Amber Run – A Song Review

     Normally, we steer clear of songs with Soundcloud waveforms resembling a cityscape with closely spaced skyscrapers. Too often, such waveforms represent highly processed Electronica that is too “fluffy.” Fortunately, we didn’t judge “Haze” by its appearance. The track has substance.
     Quoting an explanation of the song:
  “’Haze’ is about seeing the world through a veil of distrust and sadness. An apology for feeling that whatever you do, you’ll inevitably end up failing; that whoever you love will inevitably end up leaving, and that in whichever direction you walk, you’ll inevitably end up at the same place. It's a plea for someone or something to come along and get you back on your feet.”

     “Haze” by Amber Run




     “Haze” is a recent Soundcloud share, but was available for streaming on video sites since April 2016. In comparison, “Stranger” just hit Vevo. Quoting the press materials:
   "Today marks the return of Amber Run, who come back flexing their muscles with brand new song 'Stranger.” The UK four-piece are also readying to release their sophomore album, ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost,’ a 12-track chronicle of their interval between the last, packed with moments of expansive beauty & full-blooded raw emotion. They’re also announcing a February tour to coincide with the album’s launch.
  ''Stranger' is about being hopeful' explains the band, continuing 'about realising that sometimes you don’t get what you need but you’ll keep moving on regardless. At its root, 'Stranger' is about how it’s worth suffering for your art. It's about reconnecting with the thing you love most and remembering that nothing that's worth having comes easy.'
  Speaking about the album the band had to say 'We have always believed in evolution as a band. Not reinvention so much as taking what's already there and making it better. As students in Nottingham, we would sit and say 'We’ll be the band we want to be by the 4th album.' Somewhere along the way, we forgot that evolution takes time. We forgot that any new experience has a learning curve.'
  “The new album trims the fat from our previous music, and get down to the bare bones of the songs. We’re songwriters, and where ‘5AM’ was a collection of songs written in our youth, these new songs are, for us, a timely response to more recent experiences."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Free Friday (“FL&R”) - October 21

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of their releases.  The end of an offer is usually based on 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. The hope is to post FL&R songs each Friday.
[Today, Soundcloud and others (Twitter...) are victims of a cyber attack. So, we are just posting the Bandcamp recommendation.]

      KLEZ is a soulful singer/songwriter with ties to Chico, California. His everyday name  is John Klezmer. The song “Here Right Now” is being offered at Bandcamp on a name-your-own-price basis. The track seamlessly fuses a variety of vocal styles.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

“Relevance” by FAIRCHILD– A Song Review

     FAIRCHILD releases songs and we continue to be impressed. The six-member band is particularly skilled at texturing vocal-driven pieces with quick-twitch guitar play. The skill is on full display during the first minute of “Relevance.” But FAIRCHILD is not limited to one style, as evidenced by the demanding guitar starting at 2:35 of the track.

     Quoting lead vocalist Adam Lyons:
  “In the studio I remember thinking ‘how I sing on [“Relevance”] is much more important than the words coming out of my mouth.' The instrumental had no discernible chord changes in the verses and I knew my vocal needed to act as a linchpin to hold the track together. This wasn’t necessarily a question of lyrical subject matter or even melody, but performance. Those opening lines are all bluster and bravado but there’s honesty there too. Where one ends and the other begins isn’t really relevant.”

     FAIRCHILD is from Gold Coast, Australia, but has relocated to
Manchester, UK. The members are Adam Lyons (vocals), Nathan Lyons (keyboard), Tim Voeten (guitar), Patrick Huerto (guitar), Tommy Davies (bass), and James Alexander (drums).
     “Relevance” by FAIRCHILD

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“The Phantom” by decker. – A Song Review

     In a striking flow of dissimilar temperaments and tempos, “The Phantom” takes the listener along a six-minute journey through angst and petition.
     During the first few seconds of “The Phantom,” the guitar and percussion create a Johnny Cash-like atmosphere. But the vocalization tone and style enter from a different direction. The first portion of the song sets the stage for the indignation of the second portion, which begins at 1:08. That second portion is extremely effective in its use of an A-B-A format of vocals, instrumental, vocals. Then at 3:41, “The Phantom” heads downtempo into the pleading stage of the journey – “Your secret, so safe with me; please leave me here.”

     decker. is Brandon Decker in Sedona, Arizona. We don’t know if he will be accompanied by a band, but decker. has a number of concerts on his schedule. The dates are available at Concert Calendar and include a  November 18, 2016 stop at Amnesia in San Francisco. 
     “The Phantom” by decker.


  T-TOWN SESSIONS presents decker. - Recorded at Saint Cecilia Studios with Cloud Microphones, Tucson, Arizona.
  Brandon Decker (vocals, guitar), Amber Johnson (keyboards, backup vocals), Andrew Bates (bass), and Nick Ramirez (drums).

Monday, October 17, 2016

“Carry Us” by AFRAKITE – A Song Review

     Armed with introspective lyrics and an understanding of the effective arrangement and execution of harmonization, AFRAKITE presented “Carry Us.” AFRAKITE is the solo project of Mathieu LeGuerrier, who is a multi-instrumentalist in Montreal.

     “Carry Us” by AFRAKITE


Lyrics of “Carry Us” by AFRAKITE
I’m much too tired to meet a whole new face
I make a fuss and find a weak excuse
All these places, I avoid, I dread
But I know it’s no better for you, too

Come On!

On and on I said I will be there, life will carry on
On and on I said, bring it on, bring it all on me

Paintings of the decay
I blame myself when I go the wrong way
Ask me why I’m here, if I can’t clean my own mess
It’s because I know you better than you do

Come on!

On and on I said I will be there, life will carry on
On and on I said, bring it on, bring it all on me

Bring it all on top of me, where we leave enough
I will grow myself, and learn to live the life that you taught me

On and on I said I will be there, life will carry on
On and on I said, bring it on, bring it all on me

On and on I said I will be there, life will carry on
On and on I said, bring it on, bring it all on me

Sunday, October 16, 2016

“Now You’re Back” by Idle Frets – A Song Review

     This is another episode of “How Did This Song Escape Notice?” About a year ago, “Now You’re Back” was released by Idle Frets. We missed it. The song is vocally strong. The guitars transition seamlessly between a 1960s distortion-free approach and a more recent driving approach.
     Idle Frets are based in Chester, UK. The four members are Ben Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Hennessy (lead guitar), Luke Lewis (bass, backing vocals), and Erin Gibson (drums, backing vocals). 
     “Now You’re Back” by Idle Frets