Wednesday, January 22, 2020

“Arizona” by Dirt Friends – A Song Feature


      The musical brilliance of “Arizona” is in the developments and nuances that were not initially apparent. While enjoyment of the song from Dirt Friends arrives with the first listen, the appreciation for “Arizona” and the band’s effort and skills grow with each careful listen to the single. The song puts a twist on a currently popular expression – “the special is in the detail.”

     Dissecting the first minute of “Arizona” demonstrates the point. During the initial seconds, appealing two-element percussion begins gathering listeners’ attention. Interestingly, when the first guitar enters, the percussion continues but with increased pitch and decreased resonance. Soon (0:21), a nuanced guitar layers a highly effective hook onto the rhythm. Is that a mixing-induced “color change” at 0:35? When the vocals enter, “Arizona” is brought to its full texturing.

      Briefly praising the vocals, it is the diversity that is most appealing. During verses, the lyrics are presented more rhythmically than melodically. But that reverses during the chorus. Still, our favorite section of “Arizona” is the raspier, more passionate vocalization that begins at 4:14.

      “Arizona" is a single from Dirt Friends' unreleased second album, "Close Enough." They are Tucson-based Indie Rockers. The members of Dirt Friends are Josh Cruce (drums), Emery Mott (bass), Nick Livak (piano, vocals), Nick Scala (guitar, vocals), and Scott Sims (guitar, vocals).

      “Arizona” by Dirt Friends


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

“Baby Books” by Michael Baker – A Song Feature


      With his single “Baby Books,” Michael Baker combines sit-back-and-appreciate vocals with a rhythm that conveys a sense of determined, steady forward movement. The song shows Baker’s comfortableness in the upper vocal range and masterfully adds what is likely a harmonica at 2:36 to increase the sonic beauty. When asked about “Baby Books,” Baker said:
  “I wrote this track after a friend lost their battle to mental health. Mental health is something that has been so up and down in my own life and something that I find so difficult to talk about without wanting the ground to swallow me up whole. It's been so amazing to know that people everywhere are talking more about these things and that whoever you are there is a support network around you. This in turn has given me the strength to talk about it not just in song but in this very interview too.”

     Michael Baker is from Brighton, UK, but is now based in London. 

     “Baby Books” by Michael Baker – A Song Feature


Monday, January 20, 2020

“The War Parade” by Camera Thief – An Album Review


     There is an immediate warmth and sense of belonging when listening to the songs on “The War Parade,” the album of Camera Thief. It’s not mere déjà vu, since there is also the excitement that accompanies discovering new territory. Instead, the comfort is similar to first meeting someone and somehow instantly feeling a welcoming draw and a resolve to remain connected. After repeatedly listening to the album, the resolve has strengthened.

     The War Parade” won’t be officially released until March 2020. Two songs have been officially shared thus far, but all eight can be streamed via Spotify. Both “Modern Fiction” and “Starting Fires” demonstrate the mastery of Camera Thief in writing and executing extended intensity builds and sudden downtempo shifts. “Modern Fiction” is driven by “clean” guitars and resonant vocals. The song reaches a pinnacle, then shifts at 3:20 for the final cautionary verse, “Hold on tight / Don’t drop your guard…” In comparison, “Starting Fires” begins and ends by featuring the piano, the guitars are less clean, and the percussion is more aggressive.

     As strong as the vocals are in those two singles, the attractiveness noticeably increases during the lyrical layering in “Running Out of Road.” It is first heard at the one-minute mark. This vocals-driven track from the album will certainly surface as the favorite for a portion of the building fan base of Camera Thief.

     Then, there is the melodic trombone toward the end of “Left Behind” and the percussion intro of “Medicine for Aching Hearts.” Camera Thief has the elements that promise a staying power. They are a Philadelphia-based band with two pairs of brothers. The members are Joe Duffey (vocals, guitar), Pasquale DeFazio (guitar), Brendan Duffey (keyboards, piano), Robert DeFazio (drums), and Joe Hartnett (bass, trombone).

     “Modern Fiction” by Camera Thief (lyrics are toward the bottom of this post)


      “Starting Fires” by Camera Thief (lyrics are at the bottom of this post)




Lyrics of “Modern Fiction” by Camera Thief
We were waiting for the bitter end
We're coming down
And we were strangers in our own town

We will wake up in a different light
A different place
A modern version of the same, cause we are
All comin’ down
A jagged edge
A shattered stone
A broken piece of a broken home

I had enough
I came too close
I lost a lot but you've lost the most.
You’ve lost the most.

And we’ll end up where we are
And nothing will be good enough
Nothing will be good enough now

Cannot open up my eyes
And nothing will be good enough
Nothing will be good enough now

And I wait for your waiting eyes
And I wait for someone to tell that me I'm alive
And I wait for someone to tell that me I'm alive

I'll stay awake
For just as long as I can handle
Don't wake me up
‘Til this endless storm is gone

With all my weakness and your constant aggravations
Don’t waste your time when you know there’s nothing wrong
There’s nothing wrong… with you

Hold on tight
Don't drop your guard,
Carry your knife
Be ready to use it to stop a heart

It could be now
A simple thought
A change of scene
The words on the cover of a magazine

This crushing weight
Your empty lungs
This sad disguise is your only hope now
It's your only hope

A tone of voice
An open wound
You’re only here right now to remind me that I’m alive
You are here right now to remind me that I’m alive

Hold on tight
Don't drop your guard
Carry your knife
Be ready to use it to start a fight


Lyrics of “Starting Fires” by Camera Thief
I was looking back
It never hides
And never fades away

Time will take you for a ride
You will hold your breath and avert your eyes
And the wind will tear the wings right off your back

You had to take the long way home
And the sky will fade and the mountains fall
And it all will wash away into the sea

And you breath
And it flows right to through you
And you chose to reason with yourself another day

And it feels
And it feels like fiction
We bought the lies and started fires every day

You never see it till it crushes you
Forgetting everything you thought you knew
It's all of my time and it never stops
It's all of my time and it never stops

I was looking back
It never hides
It never hides
It never fades away

It's all of my time and it never stops
[Repeating through the remainder of the song]

Time will take you for a ride
You will hold your breath and avert your eyes
And the wind will tear the wings right off your back

And you breath
And it flows right to through you
And you chose to reason with yourself another day

You never see it till it crushes you
Forgetting everything you thought you knew
It's all of my time and it never stops
It's all of my time and it never stops