Friday, June 23, 2017

“Missing the Mark” by Paris Youth Foundation – A Song Review

     Interestingly, elements of “Missing the Mark” show an increasing sophistication as the song progresses. Instrumentally, the song from Paris Youth Club begins unassumingly with percussion and guitar strums. That changes at 0:42, when the guitar temporarily goes “quick-pick,” similar to “Chocolate” by The 1975. A second transition occurs at 2:06, when the song fully embraces a Rock riff shortly after a percussion-driven surge. It was the impact from this Rock explosion that created the full appreciation for the song composition.
     Vocally, choppy articulations of syllables mark the beginning of “Missing the Mark.” In the first verse, each of the first three lines ends in a syllable (“…side,” “mind” and “bring”) that is carried by multiple distinct notes. By the end of the track, the greater emphasis on the backing voices smooths the vocals.

     The members of Paris Youth Foundation are Kevin Potter (vocals), Tom Morris Jones (guitar), Jamie Hive (guitar), Paul Bates (bass), and Jonny Alderton (drums). They are based in Liverpool (not Paris, so add this to the list of band names that are geographically misdescriptive).  
     “Missing the Mark” by Paris Youth Foundation


Lyrics of “Missing the Mark” by Paris Youth Foundation 
I don’t care that it’s dark outside
I only came here to change your mind
I couldn’t find any words to bring
Now, it’s the end of everything

Walk through the dark with your hand in mine
Let’s lose ourselves for one last time
I couldn’t find any word to bring
Now, it’s the end of everything

You’re breaking my heart
As you dance in the dark
I can save us somehow
Don’t give up on me now
[Repeat after instrumental bridge]

Quoting the SubmitHub content:
  "Fast rising Liverpudlian five-piece Paris Youth Foundation are set to win over hearts around the nation with their latest indie pop track 'Missing The Mark,' which is out now.
  Relaying back to their last track 'Lost Cause,' ‘Missing the Mark’ further explores the agonies of romantic relationships. The track is the latest release as part of the band’s love letters compilation, inspired by frontman Kevin Potter’s personal anecdotes. Potter’s melodic voice haunts the listener to fall into his charm, while rhythmic guitar and upbeat drums tower up to create an anthemic hook of a dreamy summer hit.
  Following their debut show at last year’s Reading Festival, which had gained them the respects of Huw Stephens, the band has gone on to play all the major new music festivals including Hit The North, Live At Leeds, The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. They have toured alongside Transgressive trio Blaenavon and Brighton’s indie rockers The Magic Gang, and will be joining hotly tipped grunge rockers INHEAVEN on their biggest UK tour to date.
  ‘Missing The Mark’ was produced by long-time collaborator, Al Groves, at Liverpool’s renowned Motor Museum studio - the same location which the Arctic Monkeys used during sessions their debut album, and where Oasis recorded their iconic breakthrough single ‘Supersonic.'"


Thursday, June 22, 2017

“Evermore” by Mike Stocksdale – A Song Review

     “Evermore” is a testimony of devotion set to a steady-pace acoustic guitar and an occasional harmonica. So, why it so effective? For us, it’s the poetic portrait of the decades of knowing that he is with the right person.

     Mike Stocksdale is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles. 


Lyrics of “Evermore” by Mike Stocksdale
You and I have been together
Ever since I can remember
In 7th grade I swear I knew

That you’d be mine without a doubt
Long before we’d ever made out
I must admit I always wanted to

Twenty years went by, and I turned a little grey
Somehow you, you just got better every day

Hey, I can’t shake this feeling
Woah, you have got me reeling
Hey, I said it all before
I will love you evermore

Up the coast and back again
San Francisco, and Ashland, Bend
We only need each other and a tent

Massachusetts, Colorado
Indiana, or El Dorado
It never really mattered where we went  

We been all over, we got hearts that like to roam
I’d want you just the same, if we stayed at home

Hey, I can’t shake this feeling
Woah, you have got me reeling
Hey, I said it all before
I will love you evermore

Now the day is starting new
Our little boy he looks like you
And I never been so happy or so scared

We’re flyin’ blind and pullin’ strings
Turns out love is many things
How did we get here from way back there?

I guess sometimes life it starts to come before you call
When I’m with you I feel like we can face it all

Hey, I can’t shake this feeling
Woah, you have got me reeling
Hey, I said it all before
I will love you evermore, evermore


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The "What” and “Why” of Fighting by The Federal Empire and Fast Romantics

     The Federal Empire have a 1970s-style protest song that includes a background chant, a pair of audio snippets, and a chorus that is destined to steal the show for any concert featuring the band. “What Are We Fighting For” even quotes Mohandas Gandhi’s non-retaliatory philosophy: “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.”

     The core members of The Federal Empire are Chad Wolf and McKay Stevens, with Keith Varon also playing an important role. They are based in Los Angeles. Quoting their content on SubmitHub:
  "This new single is very special to the band and comes at a time when it is needed most amidst the political conflict. The song asks the question 'What Are We Fighting For' and poses some possible answers to that question that seem relevant in the world today 'money, religion, or power.' It explores the negative impact of war with lyrics like 'an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.' But it also tells a story of those affected by war 'mothers are crying, watching their children die in vain.' There have been so many terror attacks and wars around the world and we are fighting for peace and hope through music that can bring Unity and Love. The One Love Manchester concert on Sunday was a perfect example. Chad and McKay sing with gang vocals in the chorus of the song to express unity and the belief that music can break down barriers and bring people together better than anything else. The goal is to share the anthem and have thousands singing along with them at live festivals this summer that they are playing."

     “What Are We Fighting For” by The Federal Empire


Lyrics of “What Are We Fighting For” by The Federal Empire
[Audio snippet]
This isn’t a game, yeah
When mothers are crying
Watching their children die in vain

I’m praying for peace now
I saw all the conflict
Somehow there’s got to be a change

No one wins when people die
Doesn’t matter which side
Love will never make it out alive

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
Money, religion, or power all the time
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no

The price of our freedom
Is blood in the water
We’re looking for hope, what will it take

We keep on repeating
The fate of our fathers
Somehow there’s got to be a change

No one wins when people die
Doesn’t matter which side
Love will never make it out alive

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
Money, religion, or power all the time
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no

[Audio snippet]

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no

What are we fighting for
I don't know why
Money, religion, or power all the time
What are we fighting for
I don’t know why, no
     “Why We Fight” is not a response to the above song. It’s a Bruce Springsteen-style, reality-based anthem to a relationship.  

     Fast Romantics are Matthew Angus (vocals), Jeffrey Lewis (bass), Kirty (vocals, acoustic guitar, synth), Kevin Black (guitars), Lisa Lorenz (keyboards) and Nick McKinlay (drums). 
      “Why We Fight” by Fast Romantics


Lyrics of “Why We Fight” by Fast Romantics
Although I couldn't afford it
I bought a beat up guitar
I worked ’til four in the mornin'
In a broken down bar

This is why we fight
This is why we fight

I know we're all out of money
Don't let the billionaires win
We ain't got much, but we're hungry
It's burning under our skin

This is why we fight
This is why we fight

Oh, come on darlin'
There's a war on our TV
But its alright!
In our bedrooms we are free
Deep in the guts of me
I love you violently
Until the dawn's early light

This is why we fight
This is why we fight

Come put your hand on my heartbeat
There is a marching band in me
It sings a national anthem
For an island in the sea
Where everybody's somebody
Where everybody’s gone free
This is why we fight

Now every morning when I wake up
I put another bullet in my coffee cup

Oh, come on darlin'
There's a war on our TV
But its alright!
In our bedrooms we are free
deep in the guts of me
I love you violently
Until the dawn's early light

This is why we fight
This is why we fight
This is why we fight
This is why we fight


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“If Before I Wake” by The Districts – A Song Review

     We had to listen to three different stream sources (Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube) to be convinced that the background melodic noises were indeed part of the song and were intentional. They are musical notes, but aren’t aligned with the main melody. The mixing is well conceived – the notes are apparent without being too distracting. And what is their source? The start sounds like a plucked violin, the middle like a music box, and the end like a piano.
     We’re curious, but would have quickly moved to the next song if not for the arrangement of vocals, the guitars, and the vocal conviction. These guys aren’t lacking confidence or a willingness to experiment. The switch in guitar effects and style (slide, we believe) that is first heard at 0:58 is adventuresome.

      There are opportunities to see The Districts in concert. For San Franciscans, the date is July 3, 2017, when the band will visit The Independent. For a full schedule, visit http://thedistrictsband.com/#shows. The tour is in promotion of their upcoming album. “Popular Manipulations,” which is scheduled to drop on August 11, 2017. 
     The District are from Philadelphia, PA. The member are Rob Grote (vocals, guitar), Pat Cassidy (guitar), Connor Jacobus (bass), and Braden Lawrence (drums).



Lyrics of “If Before I Wake” by The Districts
Thunder woke me up, it was storming in the city
I was suddenly wide awake.
Sitting in the darkness, but my eyes, they had adjusted
I was on my own, on my own.

I still find it scary, lightning sure could start a fire,
Brick and mortar might not survive.
Would you start to miss me, would you start to miss me?
Or am I all alone?
No, I'm just a narcissist

Too blessed to be depressed, thank Jesus
God I'm bending over, love me
I wish you'd take my sins out on me
I'll be your ever after, honey

Thunder woke me up, it was storming in the city
I was suddenly wide awake
Sitting in the darkness, but my eyes, they had adjusted
I was on my own, on my own

I still find it scary, lightning sure could start a fire,
Brick and mortar might not survive
Would you start to miss me, would you start to miss me?
Or am I all alone?
No, I'm just a narcissist
I'm just a narcissist


Monday, June 19, 2017

“Los Angeles” by Pole Siblings – A Song Review

     “Los Angeles” has a gentle beauty from the start, with the beauty having an elegance in the final minute of this gem from Pole Siblings. It is in the last minute that the male and female vocals separate from being lyrically alignment to having a side-by-side collaboration.

     “Los Angeles” stands on its own, but it’s fair to compare the track to “Myth” by Beach House. Each song is from a male-female duo, uses an almost delicate, sonic guitar and keyboards, and resides in the Dream Pop genre.

     Pole Siblings are a brother-sister pairing from Finland. Sofia and Johan Stolpe now live in Falun, Sweden. They released a debut EP, “It Might Grow,” on June 16 via Strangers Candy/AntiFragile Music. The four-track EP was recorded and produced by Petter Winnberg (Amason). 
     “Los Angeles” by Pole Siblings 


Below is interesting background information from the SubmitHub page:
  After living apart for nearly 10 years, Johan and Sofia Stolpe came together when both of them found love on the other side of the Baltic Sea and moved to Sweden almost simultaneously. They started a band together as an outlet for processing their mutual history as well as creating a necessary way to stay connected to their homeland. Love came and went, but both of them decided to stay in Sweden and they are now living just a block away from each other in the small town of Falun in the Dalarna region.

  After their father passed away in late 2015, Johan and Sofia decided to gather their emotional belongings and create a new chapter of their own. Heavily influenced by the personal setbacks of the last few years – separations from the partners that brought them to Sweden as well as various other facets of life – their music echoes their own personal connection:

  “Death is a very humbling experience. You realize you can’t hold on to certain things, cause there’s no one there to help you let go of your regrets, questions or pent up anger. Both of us are relational people, brought up having to find strength, and refuge, in each other. We had a strong need to go through our shared history of emotions and they couldn’t go anywhere else than into songs”, Sofia Stolpe says about the EP.

  After supporting Swedish band Amason on tour, the siblings met musician and producer Petter Winnberg and recordings of “It Might Grow” took place in a community cabin in the village of Gagnef, Sweden in June 2016.

  “It Might Grow” is 15 minutes music, spanning over a lifetime of a family’s most dark and beautiful moments. A collection of songs about making amends with the past as well as celebrating its impact on life paths.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Live 105 BFD – Favorite Pictures

     The annual Live 105 BFD occurred June 10, 2017. Here are some of the pictures from another successful BFD event. 
From the Local Stage:


Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness:



Milky Chance:


Cold War Kids:


Franz Ferdinand:


Phoenix (and their mirrors): 





“J-Boy” by Phoenix: 


Setlist of Phoenix:
Ti Amo
Countdown
Lasso
Entertainment
Lisztomania
J-Boy
Trying to Be Cool / Drakkar Noir
Girlfriend
Role Model
Love Like a Sunset Part I
Love Like a Sunset Part II
If I Ever Feel Better / Funky Squaredance
Armistice
1901

Setlist of Milky Chance:
Down By the River
Ego
Blossom
Cold Blue Rain
Flashed Junk Mind
Cocoon
Stolen Dance
Sweet Sun

Setlist of Franz Ferdinand:
The Dark of the Matinée
No You Girls
Paper Cages
Love Illumination
Michael
Huck & Jim
Do You Want To
Ulysses
Take Me Out
This Fire

Setlist of Cold War Kids:
All This Could Be Yours
Miracle Mile
Hang Me Up to Dry
Love Is Mystical
We Used to Vacation
Mexican Dogs
Love on the Brain (Rihanna cover)
First

Setlist of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness:
Fire Escape
Canyon Moon
High Dive
Island Radio
Dark Blue (Jack’s Mannequin cover)
So Close
Synesthesia
Cecilia and the Satellite