Sunday, July 23, 2017

“Blood in the Sink” by Man Made Lake – A Song Review

     The popularity of jangly guitars has varied since the 1960s, but will never die. And when the style is incorporated in a song with vocals that are diverse in their attack, sometimes compassionate and other times almost angry, jangly guitars will always be welcome. That is the case with “Blood in the Sink.”

     Man Made Lake is from Victoria, British Columbia. The members are Colin Craveiro, Nate Bailey, Stevie Parker, Aaron Blair, Bob Gronotte, and Graham Keehn.

     “Blood in the Sink” by Man Made Lake



Friday, July 21, 2017

“Gasoline” by The Federal Empire – A Song Review

      The Federal Empire is not a one-melody pony. We're ready to argue that their previous release, “What Are We Fighting For,” is the top anthem of 2017 (and top protest song). Now, they show a tender side with a relationship lament. “Gasoline” is downtempo compared to the earlier release, but has a heightened sophistication in its arrangement.
     The sophistication is most apparent during the final 90 seconds of “Gasoline,” when the song evolves texturally. Vocally, the evolution is from a single voice to harmonization within the same registration (at 3:32), then adds a higher-octave, slightly anguished voice (at 3:59), and completes the texturing when lyrical layering is employed (at 4:12). Instrumentally, thunderous percussion enters at the same time as the anguished voice.
     But sophistication is not limited to the final 90 seconds and is not a measure of complexity. For example, within the intro, a piano makes its entrance and quickly exits after only a few notes. The piano is simple, but impactful. 

     The core members of The Federal Empire are Chad Wolf and McKay Stevens. They are based in Los Angeles.

     Quoting SubmitHub content:
  This new single is very special to us. We often times use our songwriting sessions as a form of group therapy where we will all sit around and talk about our relationships and what's been happening. Our lead singer, Chad Wolf, has been married once before and divorced and now his 2nd marriage is going through a separation. This song Gasoline is about relationships ending and our self destructive habits and how our whole worlds can just disappear in the smoke and flames of it all. You can hear the heartfelt delivery in Chad's voice as he has really been broken down with this experience in his life as they have a 5 year old son together. He is trying to keep it all together and music is the main thing keeping him going right now through the tough times.
  The song can apply to anyone who has been in a relationship and seen it burned to the ground. And especially those of us who keep going through the self-destructive cycle even when we might know it is hurting us. "Play with fire you'll get burned, I should've known, I never learn". The song builds slowly with minimal, ambient production and ends with a cinematic climax. Hope you enjoy it!
  We play the Orange County Summer Concert Series Thursday night July 20th and then Sofar Sounds in Culver City Saturday night July 22nd. We also play the Chinatown Summer Nights festival August 5th in Downtown Los Angeles. Other shows include:
Alleged, Ogden, UT Sep 1st
Mount Timpanogos Festival, Orem, UT Sep 2nd
Emo Nite, Los Angeles, CA Sep 5th
Chinook Music Festival, Yakima, WA, Sep 8th
High Dive, Seattle, WA, Sep 9th
Emerge Music Festival, Las Vegas, NV Nov 16th

     “Gasoline” by The Federal Empire


Lyrics of “Gasoline” by The Federal Empire
It was perfect
We shared it all
Conversations big and small
Don’t know why we have to change

You were fire after dark
You always had a thing for sparks
Don’t know why we have to change

It’s so hard
Standing here
Watching my life
Disappear

Everything I had in a burning sea
Choking on the smoke in the ash I breathe
You came into my life and
Made a whole big mess of me
With a match and gasoline

Brand new flame it starts again
A different name with the same end
I  don’t know why we have to change

Play with fire
You’ll get burned
I should’ve known
When will I learn
I don’t know why I never change

It’s so hard
Standing here
Watching my life
Disappear

Everything I had in a burning sea
Choking on the smoke in the ash I breathe
You came into my life and
Made a whole big mess of me

Everything I had in a burning sea
Choking on the smoke in the ash I breathe
You came into my life and
Made a whole big mess of me
With a match and gasoline

With a match and gasoline
With a match and gasoline
With a match and gasoline

Play with fire
You’ll get burned
Should’ve known
I never learn
Play with fire
You’ll get burned
I should’ve known
When will I learn
[Repeating]


Free Friday (“FL&R”) – July 21

     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. Today's downloads require a jump to the best site for discovering Australian music - Triple J Unearthed. 
      Hayden Calnin is a fusion of Folk and Electronic. For “Collision,” the balance tilts toward Folk. Calnin describes the song as “an expression about a really dark time for a friend of mine.” The sentiment seems suitable on this day after the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.
Did you look straight at the wall?
Or turn away in your own thought?
Were you hoping for a hero?
But no one came

Did you feel you’d go right through?
Did you think that we’d miss you?
Did you yell or were you silent?
I know you’ve always been a ‘lil quiet

Did you think to turn around
Or were you just too far down?

     “Collision” by Hayden Calnin – To access the free download, go to Triple J site (https://www.triplejunearthed.com/jukebox/play/track/6120396) and click the down arrow.  


     Sunscreen brings their jangly guitar to “Voices.” The trio is based in Sydney and comprises Sarah Sykes (vocals, guitar), Alexander McDonald (guitars), and Hugo Levingston (drums). According to Sarah:
  “’Voices’ began last year as a jam between Hugo and Alex in my old garage. They started playing this insane, driving rhythm, and I began to sing over the top ‘it's my head, it's just in mine,’ lyrics that would eventually become the chorus. The theme of the song is anxiety. The lyrics are semi-triumphant, acknowledging that things in reality aren't as bad as they seem. But they're also self-deprecating; about kicking yourself when you realise it's your own mind that's causing the problem.”

     “Voices” by Sunscreen – To access the free download, go to Triple J site (https://www.triplejunearthed.com/jukebox/play/track/5897556) and click the down arrow.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunscreentheband/

     Dine Alone Records released a Summer Sampler. The 26 songs cover a range of genres. The download site is http://dinealonerecords.com/sampler/.

Tracklist:
01. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - “Talk 2 Her”
02. Matthew Logan Vasquez - “Same”
03. Dave Catching – “Bought and Sold”
04. New Swears – “vDance With The Devil”
05. Land of Talk – “This Time”
06. Single Mothers – “Leash”
07. Seaway – “Apartment”
08. Julie & The Wrong Guys – “Farther From You”
09. Dead Heavens – “Adderall Highway”
10. Amber Run – “No Answers”
11. INVSN – “This Constant War”
12. City and Colour – “Rain”
13. Spencer Burton – “Unmistakable Love”
14. SUSTO – “Jah Werx”
15. The Sadies – “Another Season Again”
16. Brent Cowles – “Lift Me Up (Leave Me Here) ”
17. The Flatliners – “Indoors”
18. Luke Sital-Singh – “Hunger”
19. James Vincent McMorrow – “True Care”
20. Sleepy Sun – “Seaquest”
21. CHIMNEY – “Walk Don’t Run”
22. BROS – “Watch Who You’re Talking To”
23. The New Pornographers – “Whiteout Conditions”
24. Dune Rats – “6 Pack”
25. The Dirty Nil – “Fuckin’ Up Young”
26. Gone Is Gone – “Sentient”

Thursday, July 20, 2017

“Altar Ego” by Cardinal Harbor – A Song Review

     The Indie universe allows second chances. We missed the brilliance of “Altar Ego” when it was released in 2016. The song adeptly floats through passages that vary to degrees that the assembly would sound “kludgey” if they were less expertly arranged and performed. “Alter Ego” begins with sonic harmonization, turns soothingly melodic at 0:40, becomes troubling at 3:00, and concludes orchestrally.
     We missed the 2016 stop of “Altar Ego,” but yesterday Cardinal Harbor sent an invitation (via SubmitHub) to feature the song in a post. Thank you.

     Cardinal Harbor is based in Chicago, Illinois. The members are Spencer McCreary (vocals, guitars, violin), Chris Hills (bass, guitars, DJ), Joel Stapleton (keys), Scott Carrick (saxophones), Mark Andersen (drums, percussion), and Taylor Dalton (guitars). 
     Quoting their SubmitHub invitation:
 "Midwest prog rock group Cardinal Harbor aims to redefine the Scene with hymnal melodies, odd meter, and complexity heard perhaps only in a symphony hall. Their album, 'Euclid,' is about a certain time and a certain place, a place gone now; it's a time capsule of sorts. In it, you'll hear green, overgrown suburban patios and wax covered antiquities." 

      “Altar Ego” by Cardinal Harbor 


Lyrics of “Altar Ego” by Cardinal Harbor
Come, my Father come,
To the break in the bricks of you hallowed place
And how it tastes.
Are you there?
Are you weary of my heart?
Resolutions there for me, I'm gonna start.

At night I will know in revelry,
And by day I'll recall in reverie.
As we yawned ourselves to shit, by the pulpit.
Resolutions there for me, don't punch my shoulder.

Come, my Father come,
To the break in the bricks of this hallowed place
And how it tastes.
That farm ballad on my desk is casting flame,
Resolutions they're for me.
I'm gonna stay, as you held all of hell and dying pain.
I'm your eyes and I'm your blame.

Gone, is the war cash, like a lark.
Crowned and cradled you fasten arson, it's gonna mark.
Oh, You're there.
Fair and feathered on the lake,
Ranging light through the pines I'm gonna take.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Precious” by British India – A Song Review

      No aspect of the latest release from British India is precious, other than the title. F-bombs litter the lyrics. The vocals have an attitude that doesn’t seem suitable for someone judging what is precious. The guitars are distorted and aggressive.

     An appropriate term to describe “Precious” is multi-dimensional. The classically trained voice of Ali Barter provides backing vocals for frontman Declan Melia. British India added a piano during a bridge toward the end of the track. The piano is played robustly, as are the other instruments, but its presence constructs another dimension for “Precious.”

      British India is based in Melbourne, Australia. The members are Declan Melia (vocals, guitar), Matt O’Gorman (drums), Will Drummond (bass), and Nic Wilson (guitar). 

     “Precious” by British India 


Lyrics of “Precious” by British India
After the movie
I'm drunk and honest I
If everything could just stay always
The same as it is right now

Don't drift away though
Stay stuck in place and time
You're not convinced though you will
Have to move on with your life
Nothing else could ever feel right

If everything could stay the same as it is right now
If everything could stay the same as it is right now
But everything is fucking precious
Why does it have to be so precious, now
But everything's so fucking precious
Why does life have to be so precious?

When we were younger
My friends would come with gold
Time's not for sale though they say
What you get's not what you want
We were made to be apart and

If everything could stay the same as it is right now
If everything could stay the same as it is right now
But everything is fucking precious
Why does it have to be so precious, now
But everything is fucking precious
Why does life have to be so precious
So precious, so precious, so precious now?

If everything could stay the same as it is right now
If everything could stay the same as it is right now
But everything’s so fucking precious
Why does it have to be so precious, now?
But everything's so fucking precious
Why does life have to be so precious
So precious, so precious, so precious, now?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“The Enemy” by Mars Motel – A Song Review

     It’s easy to get lost in one of the elements of “The Enemy.” The vocals in the track from Mars Motel are self-assured and penetrating. The mixing often emphasizes the percussion. That’s particularly true following the 23-second intro, when the percussion and bass line are given equal rights with the vocals. Of course, there is our favorite element – the guitar. The solo that starts at 2:43 isn’t demanding, but it is impactful within the context of the song.

     However, as with almost every song, the interplay of the elements determines the strength of “The Enemy.” The track evidences a band chemistry and “tightness” that are typically beyond the reach of a group yet to release its debut EP (one is slated to drop later this year).

     Mars Motel selected “Retro” as one of the search terms when they uploaded “The Enemy” to Soundcloud. That’s appropriate, since the track carries a 1990s feel with it. On the other hand, the inspiration for the lyrics is modern day. The message is directed to today’s obsession with social media and the comfort that comes to a person from approval after broadcasting daily activities. While technological advances that allowed day-to-day observations of one’s life were once universally considered “the enemy,” people now freely post seemingly intrusive insights into their lives, because “The enemy will be your friend when you’re alone.”

     Mars Motel is based in Brooklyn, New York. The members are Sarik Kumar (vocals, guitar), Wesley Wynne (guitar), Jordan Lipp (drums), and Justin Lieberthal (bass). They are scheduled to perform At Niagara in New York City on July 19, 2017. For ticket information, CLICK HERE

     “The Enemy” by Mars Motel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marsmotelmusic/

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Did I Offend You?” by Lauren Ruth Ward – A Video Review

     The video for “Did I Offend You?” is a charisma crescendo, where “charisma” is defined as a combination of physical attractiveness and personality allure. Currently, Lauren Ruth Ward is the most charismatic on-the-rise Indie performer. That isn’t apparent at the start of the video. Ward appears to come out of a deep thought, asking the question, “Did I offend you?” Using eye positioning to feign cute teenage innocence, she follows with the explanation, “I was only playing games.”

     As a step in the crescendo, while body language is nearly absent at the start, it comes into play with the double pants at 0:36 and again at 0:42. The charisma of Ward takes a larger step at 1:10, when she throws herself into a 1967 Love Child-style circle dance.  

     The crescendo reaches its peak when the video shows others passing behind and in front of Ward as she continues through the lyrics. It’s during this time that Ward’s personality is on full display. She has a confident energy that first attracts and then holds the attention of the viewer.

     In the final seconds of the video, she returns to the initial energy level and falls away. By that time, we have seen the guitar-neck play of Ward’s co-writer, Eduardo Rivera. That’s Liv Slingerland on bass and India Pascucci on drums.  


Lyrics of “Did I Offend You?” by Lauren Ruth Ward
Did I offend you?
I was only playing games.
We could start from the top and tear it down again.
You were appointed the master of control.
It won't give you self-control, you're only getting older
You're only getting older

Is this the part where you stumble in?
You're only breaking down again.
Only fools will let crows win.
You're only breaking down. [Repeat]

Running with the masses
You're only getting fatter and paid.
Souls are what could break
Your skin is only walls for some odd days.

Is this the part where you stumble in?
You're only breaking down again.
Only fools will let crows win.
You're only breaking down. [Repeat]

Creeps on the other side
Don’t let them tell you what to find.
Keep them where they lie.
Keep them there.
Keep them out of mind.

Is this the part where you stumble in?
You're only breaking down again.
And only fools would let crows win.
You're only breaking down. [Repeat 6x]



     Quoting the SubmitHub content:
  "Did I Offend You?" is a song about self-reflection after an intense conversation. It can be taken from the perspective of a conversation with someone else or a conversation with oneself, I like giving that option to the listener. The song follows the trail of emotions ranging from regret to panic. This is also the first song that Eddie and I wrote together, so it has meaning to me on various levels," says Lauren, whose music has spread like wildfire these past two years in LA after leaving her hometown of Baltimore. Her lyrics are secrets to strangers, writing about her life’s trajectory, sharing both vulnerability and strength, all of these delivered with grit and vibrato.


“Burn” by Dahlia Sleeps – A Song Review

     Dahlia Sleeps continue to evolve, and we are believers in this evolution. Eighteen months ago, they were a duo who described their sound as “skeletal production by Luke Hester… alongside aching vocals by Lucy Hill.” They have added Spencer Buckley and Callum Sharp. At least as importantly, while the vocals continue to “ache,” the production around the songs has increased without becoming disruptive.

     The latest release from Dahlia Sleeps is “Burn.” The track uses more overdubbing than past singles from the band. And it saves its best for the final 30 seconds, when the vocals are ethereal and the guitar is shoegaze. 

      “Burn” by Dahlia Sleeps 

      “Still Light” by Dahlia Sleeps 


Lyrics of “Burn” by Dahlia Sleeps
Don't be brave
It's not your weight
Don't let your shoulders break

Take your time, take my hand
Let me show you the way
It's your turn to make a stand
Just pick your feet off the ground

You can't stand the light
It's too bright
Your eyes they burn
Don't give up the fight
This time your battles won

I feel it’s on your skin
You're giving in
Just hang in longer
So, open up the speak
This ship is stronger
But you feel so weak

I can feel broken glass running through this place
Help me pull it from the soles of your shoes again
You don't have to be afraid
Just throw your demons to the wind

You can't stand the light
It's too bright
Your eyes they burn
Don't give up the fight
This time your battles won

I feel it’s on your skin
You're giving in
Just hang in longer
So, open up the speak
This ship is stronger
But you feel so weak
(Repeat 2x)