At the start of “Blind” by FEVA, there is a hint of Ozzy Osborne during his prime (with Black Sabbath, when his interviews didn’t require subtitles). The track soon heads in an area unexplored by Osborne.
The bass and then the drums support the vocals during the early portion of “Blind,” while the guitar is the driving force during the chorus. The track is less than 3 minutes long, but packs a punch.
FEVA are based in Newcastle/Durham, UK. The members are Sam Reynolds (vocals, guitar), James Gibbons (guitar), Tomo Errington (bass), Danny Castro (drums).
We received an email announcement that Embers is disbanding. The notification is in the above JPG (“click” the image to expand). We were saddened - we are/were fans of Embers, as evidenced by the fact that three of their singles were featured in IO posts.
As part of their farewell, Embers uploaded an 11-track album onto Bandcamp. It is available on a “Name your price” basis (tips appreciated). Our personal favorite tracks are “Part of the Echoes,” “Signs,” and “Drowning.”
It’s not a common occurrence, but sometimes there is an unexpected surge of pride following the conclusion that a particular song has an impact. For us, it occurred while listening to “Imposter” on repeat. Indie Obsessive posts very few guitar-led, roots-Rock songs and there was concern that our tastes had gravitated away from such music. We don't want to see the edgy Rock image of ourselves in a rearview mirror. No problem! The track from Down and Outlaws isn’t a genre blend designed to please a wide audience. “Imposter” is a bold, aggressive, no-compromise Rock single that deserves attention.
If someone tells you that distortion sets limits on the guitar’s ability to convey emotion, cue up “Imposter” instead of voicing your disagreement. The lyrics are an accounting of a person’s struggle with the perception of his persona – “I’ve been drawing faces upon the mirror; Cause I like to envision myself just a little bit different.” As support, the guitars paint a blues-heavy introspective picture. We particularly favor the instrumental stretch from 2:20 to 2:47, as the guitars begin aggressively, later move to a few sustained notes, then become percussive at higher frequencies (similar to Caribbean steelpans).
Down and Outlaws are a San Francisco-based band formed of Peter Danzig (vocals, guitar), Chis Danzig (bass, backing vocals), Kyle Luck (guitar, backing vocals), and Jon Carr (drums). Peter and Chris are brothers, but we didn’t find any evidence that they are related to Glenn Danzig, the frontman of the Metal band that uses his surname. In 2016, we caught a portion of the Outside Lands performance by Down and Outlaws. It required leaving after a few songs by the band Whitney, but we didn’t regret the decision.
“Imposter” will be on a forthcoming EP, entitled “Bad Radio,” from Down and Outlaws. The next opportunity to see Down and Outlaws is on October 27 at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco. If the name of that venue seems familiar, although you are not in the immediate SF area, it may be a result of a Bank America commercial in which two fans traveled to the venue to see New Order. A video of the commercial is embedded at the bottom of this post.
With the dynamic power and fervor of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” Nina Luna shared “String” with the Indie universe earlier this year. The fact that it took us so long to feature the song is not an indication of the strength of “String.” The message is not complex, but the delivery is worthy of high praise.
“String” causes us to stop other activities as the track nears the 2:18 mark. At that point, the chorus is presented, followed by a short segment of thunderous percussion, and then a verse with echoing backing vocals and low-profile instrumental support.
Nina Luna is based in New York, but has ties to Los Angeles.
Bluesy brooding is deservedly gaining increasing attention in the Indie universe. Into this brightening spotlight steps Lewis Capaldi, a Scottish singer/ songwriter who is set to release his debut EP. “Fade” is one of four songs on the EP, entitled “Bloom.”
At the start of “Fade,” a piano ushers in the resonance of Capaldi’s voice. As the track progresses, the passion within the vocals varies and Capaldi shows the ability to comfortably jump octaves, but the piano remains unshaken. So, while “Fade” is an emotional single, the piano provides emotional stability.
Capaldi is from Bathgate, which is outside Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently on tour in Europe, but will support Milky Chance during a U.S. tour in 2018. The tour dates are included at the bottom of this post.
“Dream” begins with an acoustic guitar, disjointed sentence fragments, and no indication of the Soulful power that follows. The track from Bishop Briggs is a contrast between sophisticated, sometimes choir-backed vocals and almost rudimental instrumental support. The percussion in particular takes a no-frills path, while Briggs leads the way through an emotional passage.
The choir vocals are the distinguishing feature of “Dreams.” But in identifying a favorite portion of the track, we point to the 20 seconds that start at 2:11. The instruments have a minimalistic and then nonexistent role, allowing the listener to appreciate the passionate voice inflections of Briggs and the elegance of the backing vocals. Suddenly, Briggs forcefully declares “I wanna wake up where your love is.”
In discussing the song, Briggs explains:
"’Dream’ is unlike anything I've ever released. It was written with Dan Wilson, who has never rested or settled on anything inauthentic. This song scares me and I think that's what I find most liberating about it. ‘Dream’ is about having fears and doing your best to embrace them no matter how strenuous the grip is.”
Bishop Briggs is the performance name of Sarah Grace McLaughlin. She was born in Bishopbriggs, Scotland, but now resides in Los Angeles.
“The four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit.” That is one way to announce the breakup of a band. ["Click" the above letter to enlarge.] A more shocking way is to make the statement while releasing music with the strength of “Punk Drunk & Trembling.” It’s similar to a professional athlete retiring while having a strong season.
The members of Wild Beasts are moving in separate directions, assuming there isn’t a change of heart. “Punk Drunk & Trembling” is their swan song. It is one of three tracks on an EP that will be released October 20. Fittingly, “Punk Drunk & Trembling” asks “What can be said?” and tells us “What’s done is done.”
Wild Beasts are Hayden Thorpe (guitar, falsetto vocals), Benny Little (guitar), Chris Talbot (percussion, baritone vocals), and Tom Fleming (bass, tenor vocals).
For much of “White Ribbon,” the vocalization approach is a simple one, almost childlike. Then, the vocals are temporarily penetrating. For example, at 1:16, the female voice departs from the choppy, almost staccato style and harmonizes with a purity.
Terrible Sons are Matthew Barus and Lauren Barus from Chirstchurch, New Zealand. They describe themselves as “a couple making late night music, raising a family, drinking black coffee.”
The Bandcamp site for “White Ribbon” notes:
“The song is a homage to a friend of ours who snuck through cordons and curfews in order to look for his sister who had not returned home after the February earthquakes in Christchurch in 2011.”
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 are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
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.
The Morning Yells are an LA-based band comprising Phil Stancil (guitars, vocals), Laura Stancil (bass, keys, vocals), Trevor Smith (guitar, keys, vocals), and Curran McDowell (drums, percussion, lap steel).
Rotoscope is based in Washington, DC or Charlottesville, Virginia (depending upon your source). It is the project of John Athayde, but he teams with other skilled musicians. In the credits of “Clean Lines,” the names are Leyla Akdogan (backing vocals), Dave McGregor (drums), Ted Comerford (bass), Eduardo Rios (guitar), and John Athayde (guitar, keys, vocals, programming).