Category: Music Review

Once More With Feeling

 

One of the great things about music is the way it can generate emotions and trigger memories and feelings. I’m particularly drawn to songs that bring out feelings of melancholy. Although melancholy is usually defined as sadness, often with no obvious cause, I also consider the feeling as nostalgic, flooding back memories from days gone by. Do you have any songs you listen to that can bring you to tears? Or bring flashbacks from past experiences? If you really analyze a song that does that for you, is it the chords and notes played? the chord progression? the vocal style? the lyrics? I’ve included three songs I really enjoy that do this for me. Different styles, even different eras, but they wash over me like a river and do what music does best: bring out feelings and memories.

First a song from Kurt Vile, ‘Pretty Pimpin’, that has all the things I love, great finger picking chord progressions, lyrics that make you ponder about your day to day life and a nostalgic feeling of what is my life about and what could it be?

 

Next a song from Wolf Alice, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. Ever feel different, like an outcast? Personally I strove to be an ‘outcast’ in my younger years. I love the feeling of being part of something that most people don’t connect to. Being part of a tribe. Great shoegaze style guitar in the song. Also love the videos of the these songs. I think they do a great job of matching the visuals to the music.

 

Finally, a song by The Replacements, ‘Unsatisfied’. This song came out at a time my life was in turmoil and seemed to encapsulate everything I was feeling. If you’re not familiar with The Replacements and the album the song is on, ‘Let It Be’ I highly recommend taking a listen. The entire album is a gem. It was the soundtrack of my life for a few years. Listen to the lyrics and tell me you haven’t felt this way at some point in your life.

 

As a songwriter I live to compose songs that carry this kind of weight. Hope these songs strike a chord in you. Fell free to share any songs with us that do this for you.

 

The Record Company – Give It Back To You

Might be a little late for this train, BUT…

This is off their above-titled release, but I gotta say the whole CD is good listening. CD photography is cool and the design was done by the drummer Marc Cazorla and the mix was done by the bassist Alex Stiff. Hard work, good rewards. So on that note (see what I did there?)… you can laugh now. Turn it up, I dare you not to start bobbing your head- seriously.

More Kudos:
Segar – the pup and well, yeah because animals rock.
TRC Studios – Alex Stiff
Concord Music Group – Paul Blakemore

For Your Listening Pleasure

I had the pleasure of seeing The Steel Wheels at the Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem, PA on September 9th. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. The band is an amazing group of musicians playing riveting and fun Americana. I’ve always loved listening to a variety of different styles of music and have played and recorded a lot of different types over the years. Over the last couple of years Americana and bluegrass has exerted a pull on me the same way punk and post-punk did years ago. The Steel Wheels show had all the points I love in that style. The instrumentation’s sonic mix is wonderful. Each instrument has it’s own voice and blends together like a vocal choir. As a result, the instruments don’t step on each other and can each be heard clearly even when everyone’s playing at full throttle. Standup Bass, guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin is a great mix. No real need for percussion since the style played is so rhythmic. The band also had incredible vocals and harmonies. For someone who is in to recording and sonics I loved that all the vocals were done live on one mic. The sound mix is controlled by the musicians by where they stand in relation to the mic and how much volume they give to their part. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially live. The Steel Wheels nailed it and the result gave you chills in the best possible way.

I’ve added some photos from the show and a few links to videos below. If you ever have a chance to see the band live or buy a CD I highly recommend it.

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…and a live performance video…

 

Opossum Holler – Pine and Stone

Apparently, good things come in three’s… after discovering that Opossum Holler has a twitter account, which I promptly followed (too bad I don’t live in Kentucky, I’d love to see them play), I also discovered that they released some new stuff back in December (2015). Apparently the rock I live under is a rather limited resource for new music. Oh, and something about their description of their genre on ReverbNation touches my heart, kindred spirits of doom to say the least.

Have to mention this – my favorite lyric from Screamin’ Delta Demon:
I ain’t got no future honey but my Cadillac is clean…

I bought Feelings for the Living today, but may go back for the whole album. I loved their release of Screamin’ Delta Demon and Hex. They are on Bandcamp (saved the best for last) – GO CHECK THEM OUT. In the words of Arnold, “GO NOW!”.

Oppossum Holler Bandcamp

HateBeak – Number of the Beak

I found these guys through a friend at work.  I really wanted to review it because I think this is one of those situations where the genre may not be what your into per se, but you can appreciate what you are hearing.

Hatebeak, is out of Baltimore and their vocalist is an African Grey parrot.  Yes, you read that right – a parrot.  Not only is that unique, it’s certainly a testament to the idea that with music, just about anything goes – depending on how you do it.  In the song (link provided below) the drummer literally sounds like a beat machine (in a good way).  For all I know, there may be parts of this song that are. Either way, whoever did their editing and mixing knew what they were doing.

Just in case you are wondering, they don’t tour because it wouldn’t be optimal for Waldo (the parrot).  I am not sure it’s optimal for people either, but such is life.  Give ’em a listen and check out Reptilian Records other releases on SoundCloud.  Have a good Easter, be happy, fluffy bunnies, jelly beans, etc.

Reptilian Records

Hatebeak, Number of the Beak, Seven Perches

The Polyphonic Spree

Recently I discovered the Dallas-based band (yes I know they have been around a long time – the rock that I lived under didn’t have wi-fi), The Polyphonic Spree. So, I decided to put up a post about them and say that I apologize for being so lame with getting around to posting, but it has been a trying last 6 months or so. Things are starting to turn around now and I figured this would be a good segue to putting something up about the band and saying that I am looking forward to getting back into the schedule of posting with more frequency. Cheers!

Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson

OK, so I was gonna post this like 3 weeks ago and just never got around to it. I heard this and really feel like it took all the great stuff from several funk songs and mashed ’em all into one song. Bruno Mars is a great front person for the video as well as the song – and most of all – it just looks fun.
So, as the song says, “Don’t believe me just watch…”

And in case you wanna see it live…

Something Borrowed

I stumbled across these guys on YouTube and I watched just about every cover video I could find. I love how these were taken and re-molded into another genre – and done well. I try to embrace many different musical influences and this one just fit the bill. I also loved the instrumentation and the harmonies are pretty darn tight.

In other news, we have a lot of music we are working on in the studio and are getting ready to throw some new stuff out on SoundCloud – when that happens, I will of course, shout it out here.

Without further ado:

If the previous didn’t do it for you, try this one:

A Good Place To Start

Well, I’ve certainly been AWOL the last couple of months. A lot has been going on, some good, some bad, some blah, blah, blah. Thought I’d throw a couple of things up for you to peruse.
First, for anyone who is interested in starting out in recording music there’s a site that shows you the basics of mixing and listening….and you get to play around with Peter Gabriel’s music..and post your own mixes in SoundCloud. I’ve only touched some of the basic parts (pretty hard to pull my butt out of my own studio) but what I’ve seen is pretty interesting.

http://www.playwithyourmusic.org/

On another note, recently spent a night with the legendary Reverend Horton Heat. Totally ass-kicking (and I so want that guitar). Here’s a live video for your enjoyment. Hope to post some pictures from the show soon.