Monday, October 19, 2020

“I Walked Away” by Strays Don't Sleep – A Song Feature

 

      The lyrics of “I Walked Away” are intelligent and reveal an understanding of life’s more difficult experiences. And the lead vocals could not be better tailored to the sentiment of those lyrics. The “weathered” voice lends credibility to a personal relationship between the subject matter and the song’s protagonist. In contrast, the single from Strays Don't Sleep includes backing vocals with a gentle smoothness.

     The evidence of the investment of thought and care devoted to composing “I Walked Away” is not isolated to the lyrics. The selection of instruments is equally praiseworthy. An increasingly forceful ,ominous intro somehow seamlessly transitions to a pleasing acoustic guitar. A piano and an organ join, but the approach remains minimalist. As a result, there is nothing that steps on the toes of the somber nature of the vocals – until the end, when light splits the darkness.

     At 4:08, there is a small change in lyrics that signals a more significant change in outlook.  The song walks away from its minimalist approach to lusher instrumentation and more resolute vocals. At 4:08, the lyrical shift indicates an acceptance of who he is, since he refers to himself as “my friend.” In the first two occurrences of the line, the reference is to a more neutral “myself” – “I got so fuckin’ close to the edge that I thought I’d never see myself again.” In the final occurrence, the line shifts to “I got so fuckin’ close to the edge that I thought I’d never see you again my friend.”

     “I Walked Away” is from an upcoming four-single album of Strays Don't Sleep. They describe the intent of the song cycle of “A Short Film for a Long Story” as a celebration  of “the beauty and melancholy in reclamation after a dark time. Sometimes those things that dog us have to be left behind. But first they have to be confronted, called out and dealt with.” 

     Strays Don't Sleep are based in Nashville. They are Matthew Ryan and Neilson Hubbard. They rejoined after a 15-year hiatus. Matthew notes:   “’I Walked Away’ was the first song Neilson and I sat down and wrote together after 15 years. Strays had ended quite dramatically 15 years earlier. Quietly, in a van outside of Indianapolis. Neither of us wish to discuss what happened. Over the years our friendship proved durable, important and intact. Naturally we were compelled to once again explore this music that was unique to the way our talents and voices collaborated and enhanced each others instincts. The song came quickly as we sat together for the first time in years at the small mid-century table in my writing room in October of 2019.”

     “I Walked Away” by Strays Don't Sleep

 

Lyrics of “I Walked Away” by Strays Don't Sleep
There are wars
We haven’t won
There’s no justice
With a gun
And even the church
What can I say?
I walked away
 
Everything
Is right on time
It all went wrong
But I don’t mind
Like a drunk
On the stage
I walked away
 
Oh, I got swallowed by the hollows
Oh, I got tore up by the knives
Oh, I begged and killed and followed
I got so fuckin’ close to the edge that I thought I’d never see myself again
 
All I want
Is truth and love
A melody
And just enough
No lie that quiets
Your pretty face
I walked away
 
Oh, I got swallowed by the hollows
Oh, I got turned by the knives
Oh, I begged and killed and followed
I got so fuckin’ close to the edge that I thought I’d never see myself again
Oh, I got swallowed by the hollows
Oh, I got wounded by the knives
Oh, I begged and killed and followed
I got so fuckin’ close to the edge that I thought I’d never see you again my friend
 
I walked away
[Repeating]

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

September Songs that Bear Repeating

 

     As a welcome to the new month, here are the favorite songs from September posts of Indie Obsessive.

     “LA Somewhere” by Quitting Whitney (from the post of September 18, CLICK HERE if interested). 


     “Hello Darling” by Octave music Records (from the post of September 17, CLICK HERE if interested).


      “Don't Feel Much Like Me (Without You)” by Volunteer (from the post of September 10, CLICK HERE if interested).


     "The Roses" by March to May (from the post of September 4, CLICK HERE if interested).


     The comprehensive list of songs with Spotify accessibility:

Friday, September 18, 2020

“LA Somewhere” by Quitting Whitney – A Feature Song

 

      After two blog posts about songs that acknowledge the pain of being separated from loved ones while touring, this post features “LA Somewhere,” which acknowledges the pain of being separated from live music. We find ourselves in alignment with this song by Quitting Whitney.

     The official video of the single shows Matt Rucker and Ryan Linderman as they journey along the sometimes pandemic-induced empty streets in the Los Angeles area. They visit locations that they pinpoint as important to the history of Quitting Whitney. Matt and Ryan identify Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood as the restaurant where they ate while recording their first few songs. They visit TR!P Lounge in Santa Monica, the first venue that hosted the duo under the name Quitting Whitney. Matt and Ryan add, “4th Street Recording is where we tracked drums for our EP and Harvelle's, just down the street, was host to the last show we'd play in Los Angeles prior to Covid-19.”

     The lyrics of “LA Somewhere” are included at the bottom of this post. Instrumentally, we are fans of the guitar during the intro and the drums during the segment that begins at 2:20 (of the Spotify stream). And is that a touch of the sax at 2:43?  Melodically, the single is diverse, ensuring that the song remains fresh.

     Quoting informative press content:
  “LA Somewhere” is an expression of hope after the loss of live music and the anxiety surrounding everything in the world today. It also acts as is an introduction to our story in a lot of ways.
  The video centers on a journey throughout Los Angeles stopping at places that were foundational to us as a band. Our hope is that the song and the video strike a more optimistic tone amid the backdrop of a city reeling from rising political tensions and emptied by Covid-19.

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




Lyrics of “LA Somewhere” by Quitting Whitney
Am I seeing double?
Are these red lights
backed up from mine for miles?
Better go slow before these shrinking lights
Wear away, dust on vinyl
 
Just stop, please unload
Before the coast
I might have realized
Time is borrowed
Your running off the road
No control
Stay between the lines
You claimed you wrote
 
You’re in LA Somewhere
You’re in LA Somewhere
You’re in LA Somewhere
You’re in LA Somewhere
 
Are you looking for trouble
At these bar fights
It’s just not my style
Your sweater looks good
No more drinking nights
Wipe away my mindless smile
 
Just stop, please unload
Before the coast
I might have realized
Time is borrowed
Your running off the road
No control
Read between the lines
I know you stole
 
You’re in LA Somewhere
[Repeated 4x]
 
You’re in LA Somewhere
[Repeated 4x]

Thursday, September 17, 2020

“Hello Darling” by Octave music Records – A Song Feature

 

      The musical project embraces the skills of musicians from different continents, so it’s appropriate that the debut single from Octave music Records interweaves the sensibilities of different genres. At times, “Hello Darling” includes touches of the Pop Rap sound of Black Eyed Peas, such as during the rhythm-driven verse that begins at 1:47. There are also touches of two Jack Antonoff bands, such as the Bleachers-like Rock guitars beginning at 3:11 and the Fun-like vocal approach during occurrences of the chorus. The song is dynamic, but always energetic.

     “Hello Darling” was written by Josh Stevens, who also provided the vocals. He is based in Los Angeles. The instruments are skillfully played by Kazuto Suematsu (guitar), Ryo Nakamura (guitar), Hiroshi Sekita (bass), and Seiichiro Hayakawa (drums), all of whom are based in Japan.

     The lyrics are at the bottom of this post. “Hello Darling” is about being separated from your loved ones while on tour. There is a specific reference to “my daughter.” The positive news is that he will be home before the sun comes up. The vocal inflections of Josh Stevens evidence his commitment to the message.

     In addition to the guitar work at 3:11, we are fans of the higher frequency guitar that bears the back-and-forth cadence of a railroad crossing. The cadence is heard at various times, but is most easily isolated by listening to the final seconds of “Hello Darling.”

     “Hello Darling” by Octave music Records


Streaming/purchase options: https://linkco.re/8G0ScS9E?lang=en
Josh Stevens website: https://www.iamjoshstevens.com/
Josh Stevens Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamjoshstevens/

SONG CREDITS:

Written by Josh Stevens
Lyrics/ComposeJosh Stevens
ArrangeIkuma Matsuda
GuitarKazuto Suematsu
GuitarRyo Nakamura
BassHiroshi Sekita
DrumSeiichiro Hayakawa
Recording EngineerJun "C.J.P.S" Nishikawa
Mix EngineerJun "C.J.P.S" Nishikawa
MasteringChris Gehringer

Lyrics of “Hello Darling” by Octave music Records
Here’s to new beginnings
The clock falls faster every year
Or is it me?
 
Here’s to new beginnings
Can’t change the past can only
Stay with you right now my daughter
Where did the time go?
 
Hello my darling
No need to cry
I’ll be right by your side before the sun comes up
By your side before the sun comes up
Keep counting the stars
 
The circus spins
Each city I’m in
More faceless friends
Blurred with grins
Cheers to the loneliness wins
 
Shots!
The marathon begins
Hey!
I know I’m not perfect
Hey!
Every moment with you is worth it
Hey!
For you, my final curtain’s (or curtains?) closed
Memoirs of a traveling man
 
Hello my darling
No need to cry
I’ll be right by your side before the sun comes up
Keep counting the stars
 
Hello my darling
Never let ‘em steal your smile
The future’s yours
Leap off my shoulders now
Memoirs of a traveling man
 
Home away from home
5000 miles to go
Each hotel room the same
From the paintings to the phone
 
Hello darling
I’m here, keep watching
Retire these profits just to wash your tears often
 
Hey!
I know I’m not perfect
Hey!
Every moment with you is worth it
Hey!
For you, my final curtain’s closed, closed
Memoirs of a traveling man
 
Hello my darling
No need to cry
I’ll be right by your side before the sun comes up
Hello!
Keep counting the stars
 
Hello my darling
Never let ‘em steal your smile
The future’s yours
Leap off my shoulders now
Memoirs of a traveling man
 
Memoirs of a traveling man
Memoirs of a traveling man
 
Hello my darling
No need to cry
I’ll be right by your side before the sun comes up
 
Hello my darling
Never let ‘em steal your smile
The future’s yours
Leap off my shoulders now
Memoirs of a traveling man
 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

“Don't Feel Much Like Me” by Volunteer - A Song Feature


     The song makes peace between the seemingly irreconcilable, namely admitting a dependence-based vulnerability and delivering empowerment. The dependence is upon another person. “Don't Feel Much Like Me” is about missing someone who plays an important role in helping you feel grounded. The empowerment is delivered by a crescendo that drops the listener at the peaceful final seconds of the single from Volunteer.

     The vocals are perfectly suited for the emotion, both during the quiet storytelling start of the song and during the forceful request for reassurance toward the end. But almost without exception, the ability of a song to withstand the test of time depends upon subtle nuances and attention to detail. “Don't Feel Much Like Me” will stand strong over time. There are distant vocal howls that remind us of Lord Huron. The first occurs at 1:27. The song from Volunteer includes swells that foreshadow the crescendo. And the lyrics are poetic, such as the question “When the notes seem wrong / Would you just keep singing along?”. Interestingly, only once during the song does Volunteer complete the title sentence "I don't feel much like me" with the phrase "without you."

     Instrumentally, the focus is varied. At the start, the piano is featured as it rides atop a low murmur. As “Don't Feel Much Like Me” progresses, the guitar makes an understated appearance. But it isn’t until the single reaches its full force that the percussion skills are showcased. At 3:12, the percussion ends and the final seconds are left in the enchanting possession of a fading angelic choir and instruments.

          Volunteer is the performance name of vocalist/songwriter Cory Quintard who started in Orlando, Florida, but now resides in Nashville. When referring to “Don't Feel Much Like Me,” he explained:
  “I wrote the title line of this song on a pitch black, lonely highway somewhere in the Midwest. It was one too many nights into a long stretch of shows. I had just driven over a state line - right about the time my wife and I would have been getting ready for bed if I were home. This song is for anyone who misses someone, and therefore, feels like they’re missing a piece of themselves. It’s a slow build, because that’s my favorite kinda song, so be patient with it. It won’t leave you hangin’. It was co-written, recorded, rewritten, and re-recorded with Will Mikkelson in two home studios over three years.”

     “Don't Feel Much Like Me” is a single from Volunteer’s upcoming debut album “The Ride.” The album is scheduled for release on November 20. Leading to that date, there will be two additional single releases, namely “Searching for Someone” (September 25) and “Sandcastles in June” (October 23).

      “Don't Feel Much Like Me (Without You)” by Volunteer




Lyrics of “Don't Feel Much Like Me (Without You)” by Volunteer
Somewhere in Tennessee
You’re falling fast asleep
And I just crossed a state line
If only when I arrived
And you had learned how to fly
I know you’d be waiting

Cause I don’t feel much like me
I don’t feel much like me

Whenever I’m away
Even on my best day
You would make it better
It can be hard to smile
When you’re further with every mile
And the days all last forever

Cause I don’t feel much like me
I don’t feel much like me
Without you

When the road gets long
And my tired legs are shaking
When the notes seem wrong
Would you just keep singing along?

Cause I don’t feel much like me
I don’t feel much like me
I don’t feel much like me

Saturday, September 5, 2020

August Songs that Bear Repeating


     As a welcome to the new month, here are the favorite songs from August posts of Indie Obsessive.

     “Haunts Me Now” by Radiator King (from the post of August 27, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Tell Me” by Chasing Happiness (from the post of August 13, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Forever” by Sea Girls (from the post of August 17, CLICK HERE if interested).


    "Through The Valley by Tash Sultana (from the post of August 5, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Set Aside Some Time” by Constant Follower (from the post of August 14, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “The Dark” by SYML (from the post of August 12, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Whiskey Garden” by EllaHarp (from the post of August 7, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Rush & Fever” by Nation of Language (from the post of August 15, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “3 AM” by Clifford (from the post of August 20, CLICK HERE if interested).


     The comprehensive list of songs with Spotify: 

Friday, September 4, 2020

"The Roses" by March to May - A Song Feature


      “The Roses” is a poetry-influenced acoustic work of art. The intro and outro of the single feature one member of March to May completing the fourteen lines of the sonnet “The Roses” while her co-member plays a pensive melody on the keys. Between the two portions of the recital are powerful instrumentation and moving vocalization.

     The members of March to May are Beth Wesche and Darren Guyaz. Vocally, they alternate during “The Roses.” Instrumentally, it is Darren performing on keys and Elizabeth contributing the harp, which is best appreciated when the percussion ends at 3:27. The attractiveness and passion within their voices could effortlessly carry the day, but the single is elevated above other praiseworthy songs by a cello-powered crescendo. The focus turns to the cello at the start of an instrumental bridge (at 1:47). The bridge embraces a darkness that is somehow energizing, even before the start of the crescendo.

     March to May is based in Seattle. Beth and Darren are the songwriters. The other contributors to the beauty and power of “The Roses” are Lauren McShane (cello), Rae Minji Lee (violin), Paul Murphy (bass), and David Bush (percussion). The song is from the recently released album “What I Was and More.” The album title is borrowed from the song’s sonnet, which was written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Quoting the compelling explanation of the meaning:
  "The Roses" captures the growth — and generative decay — of the cumulative experiences of a life well-lived. With prose-like lyrics, simplistic yet compelling vocals, and an intense cello solo soaring above regimental snare drum and piano lines, “The Roses” delivers a beautifully complex message about age and the passage of time that is always relevant, but is particularly poignant now, as we reframe and readjust in response to the pandemic.

        Talking about the album, “What I Was and More,” Beth Wesche and Darren Guyaz noted:
  Produced by Martin Feveyear (Brandi Carlile, Kings of Leon, Damien Jurado), “What I Was and More” integrates tight harmonies and acoustic instrumentation with folk pop and indie rock influences to create an emotionally dynamic sound that’s rich in color and texture. We wrote the album while we were going through significant changes in our personal lives, finished tracking the night before the world shut down for COVID-19, and mixed it remotely in a world still in a state of great uncertainty. The songs center around a theme of creative destruction and transformation, and if ever there was a time to turn those things into strengths, it's now. Our new songs play with perspective, flipping expected narratives inside out and tackling the nuances of compassion, the razing and rebuilding of love and trust, and the fight for change over apathy and inertia from opposing angles. At its core, “What I Was and More” invites listeners to succumb to the delectable edge of possibility.

     The album is available at the Bandcamp site https://marchtomay.bandcamp.com/

     "The Roses" by March to May




Lyrics of "The Roses" by March to May
Spoken Word:
Say what you will, and scratch my heart to find
The roots of last year's roses in my breast;
I am as surely riper in my mind
As if the fruit stood in the stalls confessed.
Laugh at the unshed leaf, say what you will,
Call me in all things what I was before,
A flutterer in the wind, a woman still;
I tell you I am what I was and more.

Lyrics:
And I will go alone, far away
But know, I’ll be back again
The road lies ahead, blackened by the rain
Under rose-colored skies, my naked heart will wane

I will turn and
Take you by the hand
Tread my footsteps far across this fertile land
And I’ll go, go, go
Until I meet the sky
And I’ll go, I’ll go
Until the river’s dry
River’s dry

And I will follow the sunlight filtering down
Exposing the layers below
Taste the warmth of years ago
And the ripened sweetness shows
Sweetness shows

I’ll turn to
the dark caress of night
I’ll beckon to the branches as they sigh
And I’ll go, I’ll go
Until I greet the sky
And I’ll go, I’ll go
Until the river’s dry
River’s dry...

Spoken Word:
My branches weigh me down, frost cleans the air,
My sky is black with small birds bearing south;
Say what you will, confuse me with fine care,
Put by my word as but an April truth,
Autumn is no less on me that a rose
Hugs the brown bough and sighs before it goes