Tuesday, February 28, 2017

“Worry” by MaJLo – A Song Review

     MaJLo designates his music as Pop, so we weren’t prepared during the initial sampling of his songs. Perhaps the genre designation carries a different message in Gdańsk, Poland. It’s difficult to nail down a definition of any genre, and Pop is particularly troublesome. But the genre label used by MaJLo doesn’t fit the gentle, subtle complexities of his recent release “Worry” or previous tracks, such as the “Apprehension” (with its protracted crescendo).

     MaJLo is the performance name of Maciej Milewski, a Polish music producer, composer instrumentalist, and vocalist. He studied Jazz guitar while at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk. The album “Over the Woods” is scheduled to drop on March 24, 2017. 
     “Worry” by MaJLo


Lyrics of “Worry” by MaJLo 
I don’t know how it felt to just be me
I feel I’m losing space
I saw us in a different kind of place
But we’re somewhere else

Accept me!
But worry
I can’t think straight
I feel the same
Worry
I can’t think straight

You teach me how to perfect blame myself
A fear I cannot stand
What if we had lost us far from here?
I dry another tear

Accept me!
Worry
I can’t think straight
I feel the same
Worry
I can’t think straight
[Repeat 2x]

     “Apprehension” by MaJLo

Monday, February 27, 2017

“Insincere” by Glaciers – A Song Review and EP Preview

     In music, the term “reinvented” is applied to a band or solo performer after a significant change in their characteristic sound or their musical direction. Most often, the term is reserved for approvals of the change. In 1965, Bob Dylan gravitated from an acoustic performer to the electric guitar. Positive reviews said that Dylan reinvented himself, while negative reviews used terms along the lines of “Judas” and “electrocution.” Thirty-five years later, Radiohead avoided predictability by reinventing itself with the release of “Kid A.”
      It’s not often that a band moving toward the release of its debut EP can be described as having reinvented itself. But based upon the single “Insincere,” applying the term to Glaciers is appropriate. Band member Brad Dorey proudly claims:
  “We finished recording our debut EP in late December. It’s a record that I think will help define us artistically, after a year of writing and developing our identity as a band and figuring out who we are.”

     “Insincere” is dynamic. The instrument that drives the song varies as the song progresses. After a five-second percussion intro, a guitar hook is layered atop an eerie synth to lay the foundation for the vocals. The shifts of the vocals through different ranges (including falsetto) become the centerpiece, until the instruments head to a lower-frequency bridge at the 1:16 mark. Later, “Insincere” jumps into and then out of classic Rock guitar.
     The energy level of “Insincere” is similarly dynamic, which is most evident during the final forty seconds of the song. Still, the best transition occurs at the 4:00 mark, as the texture of the single approaches its peak.

     Glaciers is a UK band comprised of Brad Dorey (vocals, guitars, synth), Ryan Wilson (guitars, keys), Ben Ysselmuiden (bass, keys, vocals), and Sam West (drums). Their EP is scheduled to drop in April. 
     “Insincere” by Glaciers


      Quoting information posted by Glaciers:
  "South-coast based art rock quartet to return with previously unreleased single ‘Insincere’ to kick off campaign to promote their forthcoming debut EP (coming this April).
  'Insincere' is an emotionally driven, atmospheric rock song that experiments with dramatic dynamic changes and soaring vocal melodies. It’ll introduce listeners to a side of the band they may not have heard before & channels influences such as Daughter & Radiohead, with a hint of Jeff Buckley. Sticking to their roots and their love for organic sounds, the self-produced track was recorded live and analogue last April, overdubbing just the vocals and auxiliary instruments."


Sunday, February 26, 2017

“Morning Tea” by Serafyn – A Song Review

     The Facebook list of band members of Serafyn and their abilities provides reasons to be optimistic that their music will be interesting. First, all five members are identified as contributing to the vocals. This gives Serafyn the ability to provide vocalization depth and layering that most bands can only achieve by using processing, such as overdubbing. Second, there are two members who play the cello, which is arguably the best instrument in portraying emotion.

     “Morning Tea” delivers on the promise. The vocals of the three female voices are featured (not those of the two brothers). The effect is powerful, even before the cellos step up. Serafyn is based in Basel, Switzerland. The five members are Anna Erhard (guitar, vocals), Alexandra Werner (cello, vocals), Anja Waldkircher (cello, vocals), Lucas Loew (double bass, vocals), J.J. Loew (percussion, vocals).


Lyrics of “Morning Tea” by Serafyn
Mixing single words and flashing light
At the best and the bad of time

Makes everything seem bigger
Makes everything seem bright
Makes everything seem bigger
Makes us be alright

Mixing someones deeds in morning tea
Drinking all the wild things that they did

Makes everything seem bigger
Makes everything seem bright
Makes everything seem bigger
Makes us be alright

Pointing my long finger while I sing
And now I know that we are all in
Pointing my long finger while I sing

Yeah, we are all in
We are all in, in we are

Mixing someones deeds in morning tea
Drinking all the wild things that they did

Makes everything seem bigger
Makes everything seem bright
Makes everything seem bigger
Makes us be alright

Pointing my long finger while i sing
And now I know that we are all in

We are all in, in we are

Friday, February 24, 2017

Free Friday (“FL&R”) – February 24

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of their releases.  The end of an offer may be based on the expiration of a set period of time or on a limited number of downloads.  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. Our plan is to post at least one FL&R song each Friday. 
     This week's picks have a San Francisco flavor, but their appeal extends much further.
     The Australian trio of Hannah Joy, Tim Fitz, and Harry Day is performing in San Francisco tonight. They are at the Rickshaw Stop. According to the venue, advanced tickets have been gone for some time, but a limited number of tickets will be sold at the door. Sounds risky, but….
      “Edge of Town” is freely downloadable by visiting either of two of our favorite sites for Indie music. The choices are KEXP (CLICK HERE) or Triple J (CLICK HERE). 


     The social sites of Caamp list two end-of-March performances in our area. But the calendars of the two venues haven’t been updated to provide confirmation. Regardless, “Misty” is a keeper. It is now available from Noisetrade for the price of an email address.
     The tour schedule of Caamp can be seen at http://www.caamptheband.com/tour/. It shows a March 25 visit to The Catalyst in Santa Cruz and a March 26 visit to Rickshaw Stop. Caamp is a Columbus, Ohio duo comprised of childhood friends Taylor Meier (guitar, lead vocals) and Evan Westfall (banjo, vocals). 


Website: http://www.caamptheband.com/music/

     It’s only the first few seconds after the guitar enters, but each time we play “What Is Said” by Known to Collapse, we think of Tom Petty’s classic “Here Comes My Girl.” The two songs quickly head in different directions and are deserving of repeated play for unrelated reasons.
      Known to Collapse is the performance name of Kevin Lehner and “a collective of musicians in the Bay Area.” Lehner was originally based in Alabama, but now resides in the SF Bay Area.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

“Who’s Gonna Save Us Now” by Crystal Cities – A Song Review

     A number of emotions come into play when a band you already follow releases a new single that is a step above their previous work. There’s an excitement about the possibility of finding a song that will take long-term residence on your go-to playlist. And a hopefulness that the fan base of the band will grow. And an anticipation of the upcoming releases from the band. In today’s case, the wait will be short, since Crystal Cities will drop a 6-track EP next week (March 3).

     “Who’s Gonna Save Us Now” is the title track of the EP. The song is riff-powered along a path of interconnected ear-pleasing features. The vocals are soft and questioning, yet determined. The guitar work is processed, particularly within some areas along the journey, but the sound remains “clean.” At 2:26, “Who’s Gonna Save Us Now” temporally descends into a dream state, which is consistent with Crystal Cities’ description of themselves as Dream Rockers.

     The members of Crystal Cites are Geoff Rana (vocals, guitars), Jared King (bass, backing vocals), and Daniel Conte (drums). “Who’s Gonna Save Us Now” can be streamed via Soundcloud, but won’t go live on Spotify and similar platforms until the EP drops on March 3. 


Quoting Crystal Cities Facebook page:
We spent a year in our mate's garage writing and recording some tracks. It got pretty dreamy (and sweaty)... and we're digging it... it's good to finally be out and giving you these tunes.

We'll be dropping our debut E.P. in March. It's called "Who's Gonna Save Us Now". This is also the title of the lead single (cause ya gotta have a single ya know...). Feels good to open the garage door and set these tracks free into the world and into ya ear holes.

Peace,
Crystal Cities


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Where Has The Fire In You Gone?" by VEYU – A Song Review

     We don’t want to be misunderstood – there are prominent differences between the songs and we enjoy them for fundamentally different reasons. But each time we replay our favorite track from VEYU, we think of Pat Benatar’s 1983 classic “Love Is a Battlefield.” In both the Benatar hit and "Where Has The Fire In You Gone?," the mixing accentuates no-frills yet invigorating drums. The VEYU track isn’t anthemic, but the emotion in the vocals has the feel of an anthem. The songs have very different melodies, but the notes bear similarities when the song titles are shouted by the respective vocalists (that is, the shout of "Where has the fire in you gone?" at the 2:26 mark of the song reminds us of Benatar’s shout “Love is a battlefield”).

     VEYU is based in Liverpool. The five members are Chris Beesley (vocals, guitar), Adam Bresnen (vocals, guitar), Ash Hopkins-(bass), Tom McCabe (drums), and Donovan Collins (synth, keys). "Where Has The Fire In You Gone?" is on the band’s six-track EP “Underbelly.”



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

“The Problem of Evil” by To Kill a King – A Song Review

     As the tombstone shows, we’re not scheduled to pass away until 2052. So, if no post is added for some period of time, we’ve been struck down as a direct consequence of our inability to resist the music of To Kill a King. “The Problem of Evil” is built around a preacher questioning his Lord regarding the presence of evil in the world.
     To Kill a King has always had a dark side, so this song shouldn’t be a surprise. At one time, we compared the band to the main character in the television series “Dexter.” Dexter is an extremely likable guy who is effective in taking mass murderers out of circulation – he kills them. Similarly, the music of To Kill a King is extremely likable, but it arrives in a vehicle that should be more troubling than we allow it to be. 

     To Kill a King is based in London and is comprised of Ralph Pelleymounter (vocals, guitar), James Ball (bass), Ben Jackson (synth, keys), Grant McNeill (guitar), and Josh Taffel (drums). 
     “The Problem of Evil"




Lyrics of “The Problem of Evil” by To Kill a King
Preacher said, “Fuck you God”
I'm coming for you
It's just one of those days when
You didn't come through
The warrior preaches love
Blessings, they're for all
This coffins way too small

Let me know [Repeat 5x]
Your plans, so men could understand the things you don't do

The preacher took off his coat
Dragged a dark collar from his throat,
Wrung his hands in despair,
Sparked his cigarette and smoked
Breathing fire, spitting fumes
On every word he choked
If upon this beach we walked
And you carried me when I was lost
And oh Lord let me be
'Cause I'm struggling to see
The plan in your majesty

Let me know [Repeat 5x]
Your plans, so men could understand the things you don't do

For doubt has grown in me
For doubt has grown in me


“Foreign Hands” by George Ogilvie – A Song Review

     From a distance of more than 5,000 miles, we’re not in a position to appreciate all the factors relevant to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of getting traction if you’re a singer/songwriter in England. Since the UK, and England in particular, has more than its fair share of successful singer/songwriters, it would seem the bar has been set at an Olympics-like height. But there may be factors that pave the way for additions, at least where the candidates are deserving. George Ogilvie is deserving.

     Ogilvie is from Canterbury. His Facebook page states that he 23 years old. His voice is his vehicle, and the vehicle should provide ample traction for a steep climb to recognition in the music industry.  
     “Foreign Hands” by George Ogilvie 

Website: http://www.george-ogilvie.com/

Lyrics of “Foreign Hands”
I always felt, that it was wrong
To lay my world in foreign hands
So why’d it take to long, to find
The strength to steal it back

All that I once had and
So much more, an open door
So I can finally breathe again

All this weight should lift
From every inch, that suffocates
The ways that I think
If somehow all becomes
Far from misfortuned destiny

That I’ve come to believe
It’s the only way, to pass each day
Confined to feeling so empty, until now

I see a way out, I can see the
Sun on the horizon, but it’s
Getting more and more distant, oh
Every time you turn and face away

I see a way out, I can hear an
Echo that begs to be followed
Lord only knows where it’s taking me
Lord only knows where it’s taking me

Not so long ago, I seemed to think
That I had the whole thing figured out
Only to find myself trapped
At the heart of someone else

But now I finally see, the other side
And just in time, before
I let it pull me in, again

I see a way out and I can see the
Sun on the horizon, but it’s
Getting more and more distant, oh
Every time you turn and face away

I see a way out and I can hear an
Echo that begs to be followed
Lord only knows where it’s taking me
Lord only knows where it’s taking me

And all new life must be
Born from the ashes but I’m
More than willing to start again, to start again

And all new life must be
Born from the ashes but I’m
More than willing to start again, start again, start again

I see a way out and I can see the
Sun on the horizon, but it’s
Getting more and more distant, oh
Every time you turn and face away

I see a way out and I can hear an
Echo that begs to be followed
Lord only knows where it’s taking me
Lord only knows where it’s taking me


Dine Alone Records Winter Sampler – Another Demonstration of Label Strength

     For the mere price of an email address, you’ll discover at least one song to add to your “go-to playlist.” The roster of Dine Alone Records extends across a wide range of genres, so there is something for nearly everyone. And the “somethings” are worthwhile.

     Dine Alone Records is offering a 28-song download. There are two options, Noisetrade and Bandcamp. Each requires a legitimate email address, but our experiences are that neither site distributes (sells) the addresses and both allow a person to easily unsubscribe.  Both offers are embedded below, in addition to two songs we recommend.




     “Evelyn” by Hannah Georgas

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

     “Sante Fe” by Wintersleep