Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cleanin’ Out My Closet (of Deserving Songs) – February 2019 Version

          We periodically look at the songs that have been listed for mention but have undeservedly remained on the list for too long. Assuming we still find the songs blogworthy, we dedicate a post to them, although they may be in very different genres. Today, it’s time to clean out the closet.

     October Drift is a UK band formed of Kiran Roy, Chris Holmes, Alex Bispham, and Daniel Young. Their song “All Broken Down” excels in Shoegaze guitar and its use of a brief break down (around 2:30).

     “All Broken Done” by October Drift


     Banfi is Joe Banfi, Aaron Graham and Chris McCuaig: a three-piece pop rock band based in Leytonstone, London.
  
     “Never Really Cared” by Banfi


     Jetstream is originally from Gibraltar. The members are Nolan Frendo (vocals), Stu Whitwell (guitar), Tristan Tonna (drums), Justin Pou (bass), and Aaron Ignacio (guitar). They describe their sound as “Big drums, Zeppelin-style guitars, Killers-style electro synths and punchy Kings of Leon vocals....this is what you get when you mix a classic American rock with modern British EDM and Indie influences...”

     “Delta Blues” by Jetstream (This would have fit well in the Indie Obsessive post about the importance of the age of 17 in Rock lyrics.)


     Traveling to Brooklyn, American Authors is lead vocalist and guitarist Zac Barnett (vocals, guitar), James Adam Shelley (guitar, banjo), Dave Rublin (bass), and Matt Sanchez (drums).

     “Say Amen” (feat. Billy Raffoul) by American Authors


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

“All The Highs All The Lows” by Jas Frank & the Intoits – A Song Feature

       “All The Highs All The Lows” has a dual nature, with its message of motivation and optimism delivered with vocal characteristics often better suited for bemoaning life’s injustices. The instrumental support is minimalist, and the voice is somewhat unconventional, but the song is undeniably melodically pleasing. “All The Highs All The Lows” has a charm, and that charm is amplified by the song’s official video.

     The single belongs to Jas Frank & the Intoits. They are a music project based in Croatia with a debut album, “The Girl from Cherry Valley,” that was released January 31, 2019. Quoting press content with which we agree:
  “Jas Frank & the Intoits are seeking to tear down the walls of musical clichés, explore different creative ideas and set the bar higher. Incorporating many unique songwriting elements, Jas Frank & the Intoits blend pop-sensibilities with avant-garde, experimental rock to create a diverse sonic soundscape rich with smart beats, intense funk, and vocal melodies intended to both challenge and entertain.”
    
     “All The Highs All The Lows” by Jas Frank & the Intoits





Lyrics of “All The Highs All The Lows” by Jas Frank & the Intoits
I'll take them all
All of my highs
And all the lows
The darkness can glow for you to see
In places of cold misery
The silence is screaming: "Just be"
"Don't let it go"

I can take it all
The climbs and the falls
I'll weather the storms
Bringing me down
Because
A mindless mistake that should never have been
Might grow into a wild majestic win
Into a love that's not found
The love that never was seen
So don't let it go

All the highs, all the lows
They're yours
All the highs, all the lows
They're yours

And maybe someday in my time
I'll have it all figured out
I'll find that peace of my mind
I should have had from the start
Maybe someday is now
Let's make the walls shatter down
We can have it all
But what do I know?

I'll take them all
All of my highs
And all the lows
The darkness can glow for you to see
In places of cold misery
The silence is screaming: "Just be"
"Don't let it go"

Monday, February 25, 2019

“Secondhand Church” by Lanterns By Sea – A Song Feature

     “Secondhand Church” is a passionate vocal delivery embraced, encouraged and energized by a dynamic rhythm section and appealing hooks. The single is the third song shared by Lantern By Sea, an Indie Rock band from Cedar Hills, Utah, which is within easy driving distance of Provo.

      The members of Lantern By Sea are Porter Smith (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Josh Alvey (backing vocals, lead guitar), Tate Smith (drums), and Dalan Davenport (bass). The press content describes the band’s sound as “a blend of heartening and melancholy riffs, their songs stir a range of emotions, each one steeped with passion, energy, and a rhythmic drive; music that takes you on a journey.”

     “Secondhand Church” by Lanterns By Sea


     “Wild Lights” by Lanterns By Sea


Lyrics of “Secondhand Church” by Lanterns By Sea
Don’t leave me
Don’t fade west
Don’t storm off like strings in a choral regret

Cause I’ve been so scared
You’re packing your bags
All the demons you’ll leave
They won’t take you back

Then God spent
His Godspeed
And now I’m too slow to believe

I wouldn’t say your worth
Was measured upon me
Just losing steam
In a secondhand church

Now time took
What she could
In youth I met her
More than I should

Don’t leave me
I need you.
The ghost of your soul
Will haunt me soon.

I wouldn’t say your worth
Was measured upon me
Just losing steam
In a secondhand church
[Repeat]

So pack up and leave your note
We’re going far away
Cause I’d rather forgive that church
And let this stay

Cause I
I wouldn’t say your worth
I wanna save your worth
I wanna save

I wouldn’t say your worth
Was measured upon me
Just losing steam
In a secondhand church

If I would’ve known your pain
I would’ve wrapped you tight
Kept you warm
I would’ve stayed.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Travis Hayes and Cathedrals – A San Francisco Feature

      In 1967, Eric Burton and the Animals released a single that began with a spoken-word dedication to "San Francisco Nights," using a style that parodied the then-popular TV detective series “Dragnet:”
This following program is dedicated to the city
And people of San Francisco
Who may not know it
But they are beautiful
And so is their city

     More than five decades later, the city remains beautiful, and so is its music. 

      Travis Hayes will release his sophomore album on March 1, 2019. In preparation, he has shared three singles from the album, including the title track, “Sleepless.” It is difficult to select a favorite, since arguments can be made for each. “Sleepless” is the most energizing and tempo-dynamic. “Second Chances” includes an enchanting backing voice, which likely belongs to Emily Whitehurst (based on the album’s credits). And “Harrowed Hearts” espouses an attitude we admire (the lyrics are included in this post).

     Travis provided insights into the album:
  "Two years ago, I had the wind knocked out of me. One of my closest friends was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Her light passed on, all went dark, and I was left lying awake at night, sleepless and unable to make sense of anything. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope so I wrote. I wrote, and I wrote, until I had exhausted all the fear, frustration and anger from my mind. Songwriting has always been this cathartic escape for me, but writing these songs was different. These songs were more than just songs: these songs saved my life. They gave me a place to be vulnerable, a place to be angry, a place to find hope. This album gave me a place to find my strength again. What started out as a laundry list of scary things that kept me up at night, became a collection of songs that detail the reasons that get me through each day."

     He has scheduled performances in San Francisco, Reno, Sacramento, LA, and San Jose. For dates and ticket information, CLICK HERE.

     “Harrowed Hearts” by Travis Hayes


Lyrics of “Harrowed Hearts” by Travis Hayes
Once I was told
Son you’ll grow old
The years will fly by
Then one day you’ll die
Well I refuse to lie
Lie in wait
Lie in wait for fate

Don’t let the world warrant your worth
My brothers and sisters
You’ve known who you are since birth
Don’t lie in wait
Don't lie in wait for fate
You and I were meant for something great

These are our life stories to keep
And I’m not ready to leave

Take that harrowed heart and run
To the sidewalk’s end
Or toss it from the highest rung
So easy to please
Are the depths that we recede
Keep on swimming
You’ll get their soon just breathe

These are our life stories to keep
And I’m not ready to leave

[Bridge]

These are our life stories to keep

     Music of Cathedrals has been featured in Indie Obsessive and we have witnessed the wonder of their live performances. The Synth Pop duo is Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin. They are joined by Mitchell Wilcox (drums) and Jonathan Hererra (bass and synths) in live settings.
     We cannot improve upon the descriptions they provided for their last two releases, so we will quote Cathedrals.

     "With 'Jump In,' we didn’t want to write a straightforward love song since, for us at least, love hasn’t always been simple or predictable. We wanted to explore that feeling of standing on the precipice of the unknown - looking into the face of something that could turn out to be beautiful or ugly, and taking that leap anyway. We thought, what better way to capture that idea than to release the song on Valentines Day. It’s not a hallmark card; it’s real life, full of joy and uncertainty and sometimes pain. Here’s to feeling it, to jumping in, whatever the cost."

     “Jump In” by Cathedrals


     “For the ‘Just a Game’ music video, I wanted to capture the darker, anguished side of love. I loved the original Grimm’s fairytales as a kid (still do) and have always had a gothic streak. So visually, I was inspired to combine those influences into our own dark and twisted fairytale. She’s trapped in this story - a beautiful but haunted limbo in which the familiar elements are there, but there is no happy ending and it was all a lie to begin with.” -Brodie

      “Just a Game” by Cathedrals


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Darlingside – A Concert Opportunity

     There are several almost equally strong reasons to attend a concert performance. For the contributors to Indie Obsessive, the concert draws that are most easily identified are exceptional vocal skills, endearing band chemistry/charisma, and instruments that extend beyond the standard. All three are embraced by Darlingside, a four-member Indie Folk band from Massachusetts. Listening to the album “Extralife,” the group undeniably possesses extraordinary harmonization capabilities and wields an enviable range of instruments. Then, watching Darlingside’s performance on NPR Tiny Desktop (embedded at the bottom of this post), it became equally clear that the members are individually charismatic, and they collectively have an infectious chemistry.

     Adding to the draw, the songs of Darlingside are arranged and delivered with above-normal sophistication and the lyrics don’t shy away from being intelligent. Our personal favorite verse is in the song “Hold Your Head Up High” - See that humankind is you, like all the rest, down to the scratches on the album that you're singing to.”

     The members of Darlingside are Harris Paseltiner (cello, acoustic guitar, vocals), Don Mitchell (electric guitar, banjo, vocals), Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin, vocals), and David Senft (bass, kick drum, guitar, vocals).

     Darlingside is touring. The tour stops include two in Northern California, namely San Francisco and Chico. On March 2, they will be at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The following day, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will host Darlingside. Better yet, River Whyless will open both dates. All tour dates and ticket information is available at http://www.darlingside.com/shows.

     [We thank Sarah at All Eyes Media, LLC for alerting us to the Darlingside tour.]

     “Hold Your Head Up High” by Darlingside


Darlingside’s performance on NPR Tiny Desktop


Cassia and Drift - Free Saturday (“FL&R”)


     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 Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) song each Saturday.

     Cassia is a trio based in Manchester, UK. Their Facebook page cites Macclesfield as a hometown and identifies their sound as a personal “brand of Calypso-flavoured Indie Pop.” The song “Small Spaces” is a good example. It includes reminders of Vampire Weekend.

     The members of Cassia are Rob Ellis (guitar, vocals), Lou Cotterill (bass, vocals), and Jake Leff (drums, vocals). In March, they will be at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

     “Small Spaces” by Cassia


     Drift is a 5-member Indie group hailing from Philadelphia, PA. The band is the brainchild of Ben Weiss, vocalist and rhythm guitarist. After drawing together a cast of like-minded musicians in Ryan O’Grady (lead guitar), Henry Merker (bass) Matt Coakley (keyboards), and Tristan Walker (drummer), Drift recorded and produced their first full-length album, “Reflection(s).” The debut album was released worldwide through Mad Dragon Music Group in February 2019.

     “No Pressure” by Drift


     Strand of Oaks is the performance name of Tim Showalter of Goshen, Indiana. He will release album an album, “Eraserland,” on March 22 via Dead Oceans. One single on the album will be “Weird Ways,” which he made available for download at the website of Seattle’s KEXP. To access the download availability, click on the link:

     Strand of Oaks will visit The Independent in San Francisco on April 23, 2019. For the full tour schedule and ticket information CLICK HERE.


Friday, February 22, 2019

“Love is Wasted in the Dark” by Geographer

     Geographer shared a second single destined for an EP that is scheduled for release on March 22. Like the first, a piano hook is featured in “Love is Wasted in the Dark.” The repeating pattern of piano notes has an elegance far exceeding its level of complexity. The song is seductive when only the vocals and piano carry the melody, then texturally majestic when other instruments join. That becomes particularly apparent in the final minute of “Love is Wasted in the Dark.”

     Lyrically, Geographer refers to “Love is Wasted in the Dark” as the modern equivalent to Bob Dylan’s “It Ain't Me Babe." For both, the protagonist/singer is explaining to his partner that he isn’t capable of meeting the needs of the relationship. Geographer explains that “Love is Wasted in the Dark” is about feeling like you're unworthy of someone's love. He goes further:
  “I like the title very much because the first line is ‘your love is wasted in my heart,’ which makes darkness and his heart the same thing. There are many times in my life when I've felt that my heart is no place for another person's love, that it just wasn't built for the complicated tug of war of a relationship.”

     Geographer is the moniker of Mike Deni’s Synth Pop/Indie Rock band. He is originally from New Jersey, which is the title of the upcoming EP. He moved to San Francisco in the aftermath of deaths of his sister and father. There, he formed Geographer in 2007. Last September, he relocated to Los Angeles.

     Geographer will be performing the EP, “New Jersey,” on a national headline tour in May and June. The dates are not available yet.

     “Love is Wasted in the Dark” by Geographer

Streaming/download platforms: https://ffm.to/loveiswastedinthedark

New Jersey” EP Track List
1. Leaving the Garden State
2. Summer of My Discontentment
3. Love is Wasted in the Dark
4. Stolen Liquor
5. You Escaped
6. Hideout (Sparrow)
7. Now You Have to Stay Free