Wednesday, April 26, 2017

“Running” by The Nickajack Men – A Song Review

     The staff members of Indie Obsessive are fans of the ‘70’s highpoint of Southern Rock, when the genre was ruled by bands named The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The attachment to the genre is one of the reasons we sit on the shore of the Indie Ocean and look for strong songs to arrive. We’re pleased with discoveries across a number of genres, but more excited on those occasions when the song fits within the Southern Rock genre. Today, we are excited – “Running” by The Nickajack Men was delivered on the crest of a wave.
     “Running” is a fusion of Southern-style vocals and Rock instrumentation. And it is a texturing of low-processed, often jangly guitar with distorted Rock guitar/bass. The resulting contrast is fully exploited by the instruments, as they interject isolated strums and bursts of notes. The melody would survive without the strums and bursts, but it’s enriched by their presence. Then, in the final 30 seconds, “Running” unexpectedly transitions to a more complete alignment with Rock, with the percussion being used to drive the transition.

     The Nickajack Men are based in Falkirk, Scotland. The members are Lewis White (vocals, guitar), Michael Garner (guitar, vocals), Jamie Burns (bass), Matthew McAlister (drums), and Sean McNally (keyboard). They are preparing for a May 26 launch of their debut album, “Wasting Away,” via NJM Records.
     The Facebook page of The Nickajack Men states that the five members are in the range of 19 and 22 years old. Given the level of musical and real life understanding evidenced in “Running,” clearly this is a band to watch. 
     “Running” by The Nickajack Men 



      Quoting content from the SubmitHub submission of “Running:”
  Falkirk-based four piece The Nickajack Men are preparing to release their debut EP Wasting Away, due for release on 26th May 2017 via NJM Records.

  The theme of the EP explores the difficulties and frustrations experienced by aspiring young musicians as they try to break free from the environment they have grown up in, preparing to take their first steps into a larger, daunting world. From the first note of the opening track, forthcoming single Running, the momentum builds slowly with lead singer Lewis White’s country-tinged vocal style taking centre stage. Skilfully supported by a dynamic band who’s instrumentation is expertly delivered, The Nickajack Men’s ability to write emotive, heartfelt music comes to the fore; producing a captivating, anthemic sound in the spirit of contemporary stalwarts such as Band of Horses.

  Each song offers something different from the last, without losing the band’s americana and indie-rock roots, as the listener works their way through an eclectic mix of sounds and rich textures. ‘Marilyn’ is instantly catchy; a combination of 90’s style brit pop fused with traditional country flavours, while ‘Erb’ effectively incorporates elements of gospel and blues. Closing track ‘When The Winter Comes’ showcases the full repertoire of a band in their element culminating in a climactic, classic rock outro that would do Bruce Springsteen proud. 

  Having formed in 2014, the quartet have been building their name on the Scottish live circuit for the past few years. A sold out show at King Tuts was followed by the ‘Best Newcomers’ 2015, ’Best Single’ and ‘Best Alternative/Indie Band’ 2016 at the Alternative Music in Falkirk Awards. They have also received support from the likes of Gigslutz and Amazing Radio.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

“Little Voices” by White Cassette – A Song Review

     “Little Voices” carries a sophistication through its message of disorder. That’s apparent from the beginning of the song from White Cassette. “Little Voices” introduces itself with a calming, slow-building omnichord output. But it’s quickly joined by percussion that signals a sense of urgency. The almost contradictory sentiments coexist, until a guitar hook tips the balance by siding with the percussion. Hearing “little voices” would be disruptive and unappealing, but White Cassette bundles the complication within an energetically engaging package.
     The sophistication of the song is reflected in its attention to detail. The best example is the anguished cry generated by the guitar at the 2:02 mark. Still other aspects that make “Little Voices” praiseworthy are the abilities of multiple band members to contribute to the vocals and the accomplished interplay among the instruments.

     White Cassette is based in Boston. The six members are Max Bridges (vocals, omnichords), Casey Ruggiero (vocals, keyboards), Sam Witty (keyboards), Devon Dawson (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Cory Roberts (bass, vocals), and Ross Rivers (drums, percussion).
     “Little Voices” by White Cassette 



Monday, April 24, 2017

“Teenage Daydream” by LEDGES – A Song Review

     A number of aspects of “Teenage Daydream” can be characterized as creatively dynamic. The song from LEDGES begins synth-heavy, but the instrumental bridge starting around 2:50 is “organic” piano. The tempo is varied and the percussion uses a range of approaches, including a one-time use of a school alarm at 2:20 and drumstick-to-metallic drum rim.
     The characterization is most appropriate when referring to the vocalization. “Teenage Daydream” takes vocal residence in a relaxed, melodic neighborhood, but makes visits to the falsetto range. Then, toward the end of the song, there is a strained-yet-pleasing lyrical yell. “Teenage Daydream” even adds vocal layering to the arrangement. In the lyrics pasted at the bottom of this post, italics represent the lyrics that are sung simultaneously with the lead vocals, but at a lower layer.

     LEDGES is based in Akron, Ohio. The members are Andy Hoffman (vocals, guitar), John Merkel (guitar), Alex Hoffman (keys, percussion), Will Hess (percussion), and Matt Gregory (bass, vocals). The band is preparing to release a full length album entitled “Homecoming,” which includes “Teenage Daydream.” The album was recorded at Oceanway Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and was engineered by Ryan Yount with assistance from Will Hess, who also acted as producer on the album.
     “Teenage Daydream” by LEDGES 


Lyrics of “Teenage Daydream” by LEDGES
When I was your lover
I was a young man throwing stones at your window
But you would not hear me

I feel your lips around my neck
Breathing’s heavy but you’re taking softer steps
Tell me girl where is your head
Tell me girl where is your head

You weren’t there for me, there for me
When I was a younger man
You weren’t there for me, there for me
When I was a younger man
I was a younger man

When I was your beggar
I was just holding out my hands to you
But you would not give me a damn thing

I feel your lips around my neck
Breathing’s heavy, but you’re taking softer steps
Tell me girl where is your head
Tell me girl where is your head

You weren’t there for me, there for me
When I was a younger man
You weren’t there for me, there for me
When I was a younger man
I was a younger man

[Layered backing vocals]  
We both spoke so desperately behind twisted teeth at night
Careful not to hurt the other one, careful not to hurt the other one
We both shut ourselves away pretend that we are not afraid
Of moving in our own way
Of moving in our own way

When I was your lover, I was a beggar, I was a fool
You weren’t there for me when I called your name
You weren’t there for me when I was young
You weren’t there for me when I called your name