The track is a call to rally - “So come on down; Bring your scars.” We’re all flawed, but that will bring us together.
KNGDAVD is the New York duo of Tye James and Jon Buscema. They met in Jazz school, but their music is a blend of Pop vocals sitting atop Rock instruments. The duo tends to use 1950’s style pictures with a hand-drawn red crown. Interesting.
And we thought we had troubles during our school bus years! The first half of the video “All Went Black” shows 14-year old Anastasia harassed by bus-riding masked bullies. Anastasia is one-quarter of the band and one-half of the sister/brother members who lend their names to AnastasiaMax. Bother Maximillian Brenner is four years her elder. The other two members are Sage Duvall (drums) and Steph Pino (bass).
“All Went Black” shows a Bluesy vocal strength and a passion that will open doors far beyond their hometown of Boca Raton, Florida. The start of the song is heavily percussive. The piano is played percussively, rather than melodically. The bass follows suit. It isn’t until the second half that the instruments show their strengths.
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 is a song that qualifies as a Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) download.
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.
Mitch King is a multi-instrumentalist from Tamborine Mountain, a small town in Australia. His most recent single, “Burning” does not include his magic on the harmonica, but it is his best use of his vocal capabilities. The Youtube video identifies Blake Malone as a contributor to the harmonies.
The track only travels a short distance before the percussion comes thundering in, insuring that “Lost In You Now” isn’t treated as white noise by an otherwise preoccupied listener. The percussion throughout the track tends to sit in the lower frequencies, in contrast to the backing vocals using the falsetto range (“I’m not lost in you now”) and the keys which carry stability and increased texturing into the melody.
Written Years are based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The members are Wade Ouellet (vocals, guitar, and keys), Kane Enders (drums), Brian Dyck (bass, synthesizers), and Alex Richardson (guitar, vocals).
Quoting the story of Written Years:
"In the three-year transitional period
following their dark-horse debut, independent members of the band experienced
personal hardships that would then trouble the recording of their new material.
Off the cuff of that album’s excitement, the Vancouver-based quartet (composed
of primary songwriter, Wade Ouellet, along with Kane Enders, Brian Dyck, and
Alex Richardson) was quick to pursue a set of songs they had readied for a
follow-up release - before a complete deadlock halted its completion.
Ouellet experienced a sudden and
unexplained speech loss – causing him to refrain from speaking in
near-isolation for months. What started with a thought-to-be-near-finished
record, turned into many insomnia-driven nights and a lyrical blueprint
resembling a Brooklyn detective’s office. During this time, both Richardson and
Enders experienced sudden and dramatic losses of immediate family members,
further provoking them to re-asses the previous material. After a period to
re-surface, Ouellet began to court the other members in reconstructing, what
had originally been, a set of coming-of-age stories into something entirely
different. The result, which found much more desperation and black humor in the
content, explores the darker corners of suburbia, infatuation, and forbidden
love - delivered through a provocative wine-soaked rally cry. The band
describes this, in contrast with their own late night fluorescent backdrop, as
music for “the 2am comedown”.
"Lost In You Now," Written Years’
latest single and follow up release, shows an undeniable fire in four people
resisting the impact of a lawless and uncertain period. The song (and 2018
full-length) was produced and mixed by the Vancouver’s own Ryan Worsley (Dear
Rouge, Said The Whale) and was co-produced by the band."
The latest single from The Hunter Express has much in common with Lou Reed’s seemingly timeless “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” The 1972 track exposed the societal fringe of the New York scene, without being judgmental. In comparison, “Are You Ready Now” nonjudgmentally tells the story of the financially strapped fringe in Australia by describing the routine of a person who is behind in paying her rent, despite working three jobs. Both vocalists use a melodic speaking style with sentence modulation which leaves many of the sentences without conventional "closure" (for example, each line in the opening verse from The Hunter Express).
Another common characteristic is that both songs are more interesting because they bring in at least one female voice. And both songs were written by singer/songwriter/storytellers. “Are You Ready Now” provides insights into the lifestyle in Australia, which helps explain the mention of the television program “Rage,” the reference to Dame Pattie Avenue, and the selection of Amazing” by Alex Lloyd as the song to which she dances.
The Hunter Express is an Indie Rock/Folk project of Melbourne’s Brad Ellis. Lately, we’ve been giving The Hunter Express extra attention as we consider where to fit the song “Cool” into our list of Best Songs of 2017. Almost without question, it will be in the top 30. “Cool” and “Are You Ready Now” are tracks on the self-titled LP of The Hunter Express. Quoting press content:
"The LP brings a level of growth and maturity in Ellis’ songwriting, working with engineer Callum Barter at Newmarket Studios, capturing a unique mix of live band and vocal takes, and sometimes using entire demo recordings for the single, ‘Cool.’ Working with many different collaboratives, the collective sound involves artists including Jarrad Brown (Dorsal Fins), Olaf Scott (Saskwatch), Fraser A. Gorman and Matt Dixon (Broads) and many more."
It has been a few years since his
last studio album, but the artistic skills haven’t atrophied. Bruce Cockburn
released his 25th studio album (33rd overall) via True
North Records. “Bone On Bone”
includes eleven tracks, with “Stab At Matter” being featured in this post.
Our typical focus is upon up-and-coming artists, but when a song from a well-established
artist makes an impact, the focus shifts.
“Stab At Matter” has a bounce that is initially
established by the instruments. The animation in the video confirms that the seductive
contributor to the track is from Bruce Cockburn’s dobro guitar. An accordion floats
into the track and adds to the attractiveness without ever taking control.
Still, the major role in conveying energy is played by the cadence of Bruce
Cockburn’s voice. The sophistication of the vocal variations evidences the
experience of the performer.
In addition to the lead vocals, “Stab
At Matter” draws on Ruby Amanfu & The San Francisco Lighthouse Chorus. The
backing vocals enrich the track’s texture and beauty, as well as providing
emphasis to the chant of “Stab at matter!”
The lyrics are included in this post.
Many lines in the verses end with a word bearing the suffix “tion.” Personally,
we like the touch. The approach dates back to at least 1971, when the Moody
Blues released the three-word song “Possession” – “desolation,” “creation,” and
“communication.” In the 1980s, U2 released “Bad,” which included the verse “This desperation; Dislocation; Separation,
condemnation; Revelation in temptation; Isolation, desolation.”
The Youtube site for streaming “Stab
At Matter” identifies the musicians as Bruce Cockburn (guitar, vocals), John
Dymond (bass), Gary Craig (drums, percussion), John Aaron Cockburn (accordion),
Colin Linden (slide guitar), and Ruby Amanfu & The San Francisco Lighthouse
Chorus (vocals). Kurt Swinghammer provided the animation for the video.
Bruce is originally from Ottawa, but
he has an extensive North American tour scheduled for 2018. The full schedule is at
the bottom of this post. It includes two performances in Berkeley and another
in Santa Cruz.