The new Showtime series, “Roadies,” is highly recommended. Sure, the second episode didn’t meet the extremely high bar that was established by the first, but if the other eight episodes in the first season are "only" as entertaining as the second, we are all in for a treat.
Roadies is a comedy/drama centered on the preparation crew for an arena-level band called Staton-House Band. The featured band is fictional, but in the first two episodes, the concert opening bands are authentic. The Head and the Heart were the opener in the first episode, while Reignwolf showed their stuff in the second.
Kelly Ann (played by Imogen Poots) and Phil (played by comedian Ron White) were the two characters that stood out. Kelly Ann is a fast-talking passionate “cable layer” with complex insights into the workings of life. Paul is the uniting force of the roadies, with simple yet poignant insights on life. Unfortunately, he was fired in the first episode and made only a telephone video appearance in the second. It reminded us of the 1980’s comedy “Police Squad,” which identified its weekly celebrity guest star during the opening credits by showing the star coming to an untimely death, so that the star didn’t appear again.
The soundtrack is spectacular. The music is sometimes based on the guest opening band – The Head and the Heart or Reignwolf. In addition, it appears that each episode will feature a Song of the Day (“I Wish I Was Sober” by Frightened Rabbit was the first). There are longer snippets of songs by easily recognized artists (Bob Dylan) and by lesser known band (Freelance Whales). Sometimes it’s merely a few seconds of instruments that bring a smile, such as the acoustic guitar and strings of Landon Pigg’s “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” (about 43 minutes into episode 1). “Generator (First Floor)” by Freelance Whales – from Episode 1
“Light Me Up” by Bronze Radio Return – from Episode 2
It may seem odd to post a winter song in June. But the lyrics of “Wild Winter” show that the song is about a relationship that has gone cold – 21 degrees below. The song belongs to Smoke Fairies, which is the UK duo of Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies.
The vocals of “Wild Winter” are soft and inviting. But particularly at the end to the track, the guitars create the impression to the relationship blizzard that cause voices to grow small.
“We’re standing our ground; You can’t push us around; We’re not paralyzed in the panic.” That’s the message Sleeping Wolf sends in its song “Love Is the Cure.” The message is directed to those who share the mindset of the individual who entered Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida (as well as the person who murdered Christina Grimmie).
Sleeping Wolf is a duo based in Los Angeles. The members are Jake Newton and Steven Solomon.
Currently, "Love Is the Cure" can be downloaded from Soundcloud, but Sleeping Wolf asks:
Instead of paying us what you normally would for this track, consider giving to these charities:
It’s time to get excited, if you’re a fan of Indie orchestral ensembles! Songs of Water is offering 30 songs on Noisetrade. Tips are appreciated.
The members of Songs of Water are Stephen Roach, Elisa Rose Cox, Michael Pritchard, Greg Willette, Luke Skaggs, and Jon Kliegle. They are based in Greensboro, North Carolina. We completely agree with their self-description:
“The uncommon use of the hammered dulcimer melodically leads many of the group’s instrumental pieces, followed by the resonance of various acoustic instruments and a brooding foundation of heavy percussion. Layers of orchestral strings and sparse vocals create a cinematic appeal to the otherwise raw expression of musical composition.”
Ruth Theodore is the modern day Melanie, who performed at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. Melanie (Melanie Safka-Schekeryk, now 69) wrote poetic lyrics for songs with a greater complexity that was readily apparent, and sang the songs with a child-like vulnerability. Melanie is probably best known for “Brand New Key,” a sexually charged song during a time when it was wise to mask sexual messages. An even better representation of Melanie’s insightful lyrics is “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma,” a song about the difficult relationships between artists and their recording labels.
Ruth Theodore's recent release is “You Can’t Help Who You Love.” The song is a statement about a person’s lack of control over attraction to another. The changes of tempo are impactful in their ability to carry the emotion. For example, at the 4:02 mark, the instrumental support is nearly non-existent when the tempo slows and the lyrics paint their picture.
The Bandcamp site of "You Can’t Help Who You Love” identifies the contributors as Ruth Theodore (guitar, vocals), Todd Sickafoose (double bass), Mathias Kunzli (drums and percussion), Tony Glausi (trumpet), Mike Gamble (electric guitar), and Wayne Thompson, Jigh Ejakpovi and Neil Thurston (backing vocals). The site also states, “’You Can't Help Who You Love’ is the first single release from 'Cactacus,' the anticipated fourth record from British musician Ruth Theodore. Recorded in Oregon, USA with renowned producer Todd Sickafoose (Anais Mitchell/Ani Difranco)."
It seemed fitting to take advantage of Eliot Sumner’s visit to San Francisco on June 22. We already had tickets to see her father (Sting) a few weeks later. So, we grabbed four tickets, including two dinner tickets. After missing her performance at SXSW in Austin, Texas, because the line was insurmountable, we expected the venue to be crowded. Instead, Slim’s was far less than at half its capacity.
Was the surprisingly low attendance due to an under-appreciation of the music of Eliot Sumner? Probably not, since she was a draw at SXSW and she had an enthusiastic following when she opened a show at Rickshaw Stop in September 2015. Maybe the show wasn’t properly promoted, although Slim’s typically gets the word out.
Whatever the reason, Eliot Sumner and her band seemed unaffected. They were energic and fully engaged. The first song on the setlist was “Dead Arms & Dead Legs.” The first half of the song had a Pop Rock feel, while the last portion ended any resemblance to Pop. The same description could be applied to the fifth song, “After Dark.” There is less emphasis on the synth in her live performances than in the studio recordings. An exception to that statement was the performance of “Species” as the encore song.
The Setlist at Slim’s on June 22, 2016
1. Dead Arms & Dead Legs
3. I Followed You Home
4. Let My Love Lie on Your Life
5. After Dark
6. Halfway to Hell
8. All My Hate and My Hexes Are for You (Crocodiles cover)
9. Come Friday
The view from the balcony during the opening performance by Cheerleader.
Nu-Wave – a genre that fuses “now” and “new wave.” A fusion of the current direction of music and the 1980s. That is one explanation of the genre. lost/ctrl is a band that geographically resides in Eindhoven, Netherlands and musically resides in Nu-Wave. They call their music “danceable depression.”
The lyrics of “Where Are We Heading” include a number of questions, but the direction of the song is well-defined. Particularly at the start, the guitars provide the main support. The keys and percussion play vital roles in the tempo changes, while the driving is left to the guitars.
The members of lost/ctrl are Serge Romme (vocals), Jeroen van Vugt (guitar), Wessel van der Spek (guitar), Mart Hazebrouck (drums), Bram van Zuylen (keys), and Erwin Schara (bass).
Maat poetically distinguishes the ease of being physically naked with a person from the emotional sharing “that's being naked in a real way.” The lyrics are supported by low distortion, quick-twitch guitar.
Maat is a quartet based in Mexico. The members are Iván Villasante (vocals, guitar), Carlos Cervantes (guitar), Jonny Santillán (bass), and Ricardo Ortiz (drums).
Because one of our staff members holds a JD degree, ignoring the title “I Love My Lawyer” just wasn’t going to happen. Still, it’s the strength of the song that makes it blogworthy, not its title. Lyrically, the song by Ofelia K shows a sweetness, with nearly equal portions of self-confidence and vulnerability. Melodically, “I Love My Lawyer” has a bounce that feels natural, rather than forced. Instrumentally, there’s an attractive simplicity (for example, the whistling may be brief, but it’s effective). Most importantly, the combination of elements is synergistic.
If asked for a favorite feature of “I Love My Lawyer” by Ofelia K, our choice would be the harmonization that kicks in at 3:35. The earlier occurrences of the verse (and its internalized negotiation regarding the acceptable age range) set the stage for the harmonized rendition:
Until our library of Noisetrade recommendations is exhausted, most Tuesdays will feature a Noisetrade offer of songs available for the price of an email address. The offers of free downloads help spread the word. Typically, the offers are limited to a set period of time or a set number of downloads, so don’t wait. A valid email address is required, but Noisetrade does not use the address for reasons unrelated to music. Tips are appreciated.
This week’s recommendation is from the band FIN, an Indie Rock band based in Lynchburg, Virginia. They are allowing downloads of the four-track EP entitled “Salt.” The first track, “Hardware,” is our favorite from the four tracks.
The members of FIN are Michael Kountz (vocals), Matt Szabo (guitar), Lee Campbell (bass) and Steve Matulionis (drums).
“’Fools and Their Gold’ speaks of someone denying the inevitable end of a relationship. They can't – or won't – let go, despite knowing that it's not good for them.” That’s the explanation by Jonathan Bowden, who together with Jacob Pearson, is PLGRMS of Sydney, Australia. The lyrics of the song may be found at the bottom of this post (some best guesses). The vocal ascends of “Fools and Their
Gold” distinguish the song from other love-gone-wrong tracks. But the song
arrangement is also praiseworthy, with changes in tempo being well coordinated
with the instrumentation. Even the hand claps are used effectively. We don’t
count ourselves among the fans of had claps (probably because even we can play
that instrument well).