Thursday, July 2, 2020

“Sunday Best” by Handsome Ghost - A Song Feature


     “Sunday Best” stands as a quiet testimonial to the fervent commitment that Handsome Ghost holds to its craft. The song includes gentle crescendos and nuances that do not interfere with the peacefulness of the melody or the sentiment within the lyrics, but significantly enhance the attractiveness of the song.

      Handsome Ghost explains that “Sunday Best” is about attending a funeral with somebody you love who is mourning someone you did not know. From there, the interpretation is left to the listener. The song begins with an attention-gripping acoustic guitar riff and sonic accompaniment. When the vocals enter, we learn that the death was expected, but that didn’t prevent the news from coming as a shock. The voice inflection at the word “shock” reinforces the effect of the news and evidences the care that Handsome Ghost placed in the writing and recording of the song.

      Just prior to the second verse, there is a crescendo (at 1:30) in which the notes create the sense of bubbles accelerating as they rise to the surface of a deep body of water. The relationship described during second verse allows fundamentally different conclusions, but we want to believe it was the person’s father who sadly passed. And we choose to view the final lines of “I am gonna try” as being akin to the final scene of the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” In the final scene, the elderly gentleman seeks reassurance that he lived up to his commitment to lead a good life, a commitment made upon the death of someone he respected.

     Handsome Ghost is multi-instrumentalist Eddie Byun and vocalist Tim Noyes. They collaborated in the writing and the production of “Sunday Best.” As a second connection with “Saving Private Ryan,” like the Tom Hanks character in the movie, Noyes' previous profession was teaching. We recognize the importance of teachers, but we're pleased that Noyes made the change.

     “Sunday Best” by Handsome Ghost




Lyrics of “Sunday Best” by Handsome Ghost (some best guesses)
Too soon
Awaking in the dark
We knew
Still came as a shock
And we drive
Back to your hometown
Low white
Roses on the ground

So you speak your mind
In your Sunday best
Share some secret code
That I don't know yet
Here was good to you
It was sweet and pure
All the nights that you
Could've begged him for
In this hotel bed
When you switched the light

I am gonna try
I am gonna try
I am gonna try
Now I am gonna try

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

June Songs that Bear Repeating

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

     "Hope It Don't" by All Tvvins (from the post of June 29, CLICK HERE if interested).


      “Resolutions” by Bengal Lancers (from the post of June 2, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Blame The Record” by Vandalye (from the post of June 12, CLICK HERE if interested).


     "Put Your Money on Me" by Night Traveler (from the post of June 11, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Raincoat” by Hot Dreams (from the post of June 30, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Coast” by Moontricks with Gone Gone Beyond (from the post of June 28, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Ready When You Are” by Thrillhouse (from the post of June 26, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Someone Else's Eyes” by WHALE CITY (from the post of June 8, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Riverbank” by Pinewood (from the post of June 21, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Wishes and Wants” by Mike Stocksdale (from the post of June 4, CLICK HERE if interested).


     “Better” by EllaHarp (from the post of June 25, CLICK HERE if interested).


     The comprehensive list of songs with Spotify accessibility and with deserving bonus tracks (via Spotify):
     “Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" by WILD
     “Guilt Trip” by Mangled Jangles
     “Station To Station” by Animal Scream
     “Fooling Anybody” by Cowboy Dinosaur
     “Asc. Scorpio” by Oracle Sisters

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

“Raincoat” by Hot Dreams - A Song Feature


     “Raincoat” emerges from its early disguise as a gentle synth and rolling percussion single with a sonic guitar that builds to prominence at the 48-second mark. The vocals willfully follow suit, transitioning from a calm descriptive approach to a more powerful, almost athematic approach. “Raincoat” does return to its gentle beginning (2:30), but exits with a different, yet equally energizing, sequence.

     Hot Dreams explains “Raincoat:”
  “The song’s lyrics also focus on trying to not to sweat the small stuff, focusing instead on the people who love us and allowing ourselves to be content and happy with that. It resonates with our time in lockdown, as we’re all forced to strip our busy lives down to the bare bones without any of the normal noise and clutter.”

     Regarding its performance in a live setting, the band says, “'Raincoat' is a song that represents everything we love about playing live. It’s an expression of freedom and onstage it acts as a release from everyday worries."

     Hot Dreams are based in London. The members are Kai Fennell (vocals, guitar), Aaron Clarke (bass), Alex Bloomfield (guitar, keys) and Cam Fyall (drums).

     “Raincoat” by Hot Dreams


Monday, June 29, 2020

"Hope It Don't" by All Tvvins – A Song Feature


     "Hope It Don't" is the equivalent of presenting one reason after another in support of your position, but saving the most convincing reason for last, after you’ve already won the argument. We were convinced that the song from All Tvvins was blogworthy, then the guitar riff entered at 3:04. If this were American football, the referee would throw the flag for “piling on.”

     After a one-minute of foundation building, a heartbeat kickdrum dictates a first intensity jump. The second arrives with the start of the chorus. The vocals are invested in the message and the lyrics are intelligent even during the verse that is most simplistic:
I will love you
'Til the day I don't
I will want you
'Til the day I won't
But If I don't need you
'Til the day I'm gone
I just hope that day don't come
I just hope I'm wrong

     All Tvvins are based in Dublin, Ireland. The two members are Lar Kaye and Conor Adams.

     "Hope It Don't" by All Tvvins


Lyrics of "Hope It Don't" by All Tvvins
Well it's old wood
Oh, this place could haunt you
If only I could stay
Not only I could say
That it shook the clothes
From my tired bones
Well this place is a book of matches
Whole world knows to keep away

When the hour was breaking
On the hour was good
And the money you're making
On the money was good
But it broke your spirit
Oh, it broke you down
And now you're dying to leave it
Destined to live not leaving this town

Ah baby won't you roll back round
Nothing ain't forgiven on this holy ground
When this good-old fire don't make no smoke, no sound
Oh, you can breathe in now

Won't you say you do
Like I say I do
Would you hold me baby like it's all OK?
I'll pretend I never even heard you say

I just hope it don't [4 times]

Well the river was twisting
Like a river it should
Over time that we're missing
What the river it took
Well it washed our children
And it washed our hands
Remember the blood here
Remember the blood that ran from the land

Ah, baby won't you roll back round
Nothing ain't forgiven on this holy ground
When this good-old fire don't make no smoke, no sound
Oh, you can breathe in now

Won't you say you do
Like I say I do
Would you hold me baby like it's all OK?
Like it's all OK
It's all OK

I will love you
'Til the day I don't
I will want you
'Til the day I won't
But If I don't need you
'Til the day I'm gone
I just hope that day don't come
I just hope I'm wrong

I just hope it don't
[Repeating]

Sunday, June 28, 2020

“Coast” by Moontricks with Gone Gone Beyond


      “Coasts” is a collaboration of the skills of Moontricks and Gone Gone Beyond. The song has a touch of Milky Chance, but that is just a start at describing the single. At times, it is fair to use the term “tribal.”

     The members of Moontricks are Nathan "Nog" Gurley and Sean Rodman. They are from Western Canada. The location of Gone Gone Beyond is more complex. The band is David Block (LA/NYC), Danny Musengo (Iowa/NYC), Kat Factor (Sant Cruz, California), and Mel Sem (Cuba/Barcelona).




Moontricks socials

Gone Gone Beyond socials:

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Shred Kelly - 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.

      Shred Kelly is a crescendo-happy, banjo-wielding, high-energy five-member Canadian band. Quoting the bio:
  Shred Kelly is known for their high energy live show that ignites dance floors with their alternative folk sound. Over three albums and countless tours, the five British Columbians have developed their signature sound by taking inspiration from the mountains they hail from and the people who inhabit them. Shred Kelly has seamlessly fused traditional instrumentation with modern rock, presenting a sound that is both unique and compelling.

     The members of Shred Kelly are Tim Newton (vocal, banjo, ukulele, guitar), Sage McBride (vocal, keys), Jordan Vlasschaert (bass), and Ty West (guitar). On drums, the band’s website names Ryan Mildenberger (while Facebook identifies Eddie Annett). The 2020 album is "Like a Rising Sun."

     “Underground” by Shred Kelly - this is the only one that is free, legal and recommended.


     “Rising Sun” by Shred Kelly - not free, just recommended


     “Looking For” by Shred Kelly - not free, just recommented.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Thrillhouse – A Band Review


      Thus far, Thrillhouse has released three singles. For each, we bookmarked the song after the first listen. And for each, the attraction continues to grow in proportion to the number of subsequent listens. Don’t judge a release from Thrillhouse before hearing the song at least five times, unless you enjoy it the first time.

     Trillhouse is a trio from Brighton, UK. The members are Alistair Scott, Jackie B. Nielsen, and Sam Strawberry. They wear the influence of Talking Heads on their sleeve. The "sleeve" has been increasingly apparent with each single, beginning with “One Of These Days,” then “Lesser,” and most recently “Ready When You Are.” That chronological order is not followed below. 

     “Lesser” by Thrillhouse


     “Ready When You Are” by Thrillhouse


     “One Of These Days" by Thrillhouse 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

“Better” by EllaHarp – A Song Feature


     EllaHarp deserves to be appointment “Ambassador of Harp,” somewhat akin to the anointment of Aretha Franklin and James Brown as the Queen and Godfather of Soul. She isn’t royalty, at least not yet, but she is the leading representative of her musical instrument within the Indie Universe.

     EllaHarp is the “camel capitalized” performance name of Ella Dawn Jenkins. She is a harpist, vocalist and songwriter based in the San Francisco Bay Area (Half Moon Bay). The release of “Better” is the third single from her upcoming sophomore album “Screaming Into the Void.” The album is currently scheduled for release in Fall 2020.

      As explained in the press notes, “Better” is about separated friendships, and letting go of narrow-minded people from your life. The lyrics, which are included at the bottom of this post, are intriguing because they are a string of questions. We challenged ourselves to recall another song of only questions. We did not meet the challenge. The closest is Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind,” but each verse ends with a statement as to where the answers can be found – blowing in the wind.

      Ingeniously, the inquiring lyrics of “Better” are accompanied by a harp that portrays purpose. The melody carries a sense of forward movement, ensuring that the listener is aware that the song is not about confusion or disorientation. Is this a series of rhetorical questions? The vocals follow the lead of the harp’s purposefulness, while taking the lead in allure. The solo, un-reverberated voice of EllaHarp is only heard in the final line. Clearly, it has the strength to stand alone throughout "Better." But voice processing and overdubbing enhance the splendor of the vocals.

     In April 2016, we dedicated a post to the increased use of the harp in Indie Music. For a couple of years after, the influence of the harp seemed to be in decline. EllaHarp changed the trajectory when she released her debut album in 2018. Merely coincidentally, the album title was a question – “Who Asked You Back.” The first three songs from the new album are clear indications that the trajectory is still upward, but with an increased slope.

     “Better” by EllaHarp 




Lyrics of “Better” by EllaHarp
Did you build that wall to keep me away?
Did you built it far and build it wide to hide yourself inside all day?
And is it better, better that way?

Have you taken down the paintings and words?
Did you bury all the brightness and shut out the all the music and birds?
And is it better, better unheard?
Does it sound better, better?

Did you build that wall to keep me away?
Does it keep out all the colors but your black and brown and blue and gray?
And is it better, better this way?
Do you feel better, better aaa..?

And is it better, better this way?
Do you feel better, better aaa..?
And is it better, better this way?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

“Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" by WILD - A Song Feature


     Los Angeles-based WILD masterfully craft songs that wrap a listener in a warmed blanket and a much-needed hug. Following their reassuring single “Surround You,” with its poetic declaration that you won’t be alone even in difficult times, WILD now explain that there is “Nothing That I Wouldn't Do," for you, even in the most difficult of times.

       “Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" begins with a gently played acoustic guitar and includes portions with power percussion. Still, the song from WILD is undeniably vocals-driven. At times, there is simple-yet-enchanting harmony with mixing that places greater emphasis on the purity of the female voice. At other times there are multiple voices (overdubbing?) that are choir-like, with a few lines featuring multi-part, full-out choir.

     WILD are a trio comprising Lauren Luiz (vocals), Tyler Thompson (producer, guitar), and Zach Daegatano (vocals, guitar). "Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" was featured in the trailer of the Apple TV documentary "Dads." Additionally as press materials note, “Their music also quietly coursed throughout popular culture, appearing on Life Itself, The Dangerous Book For Boys, Little Italy, ABC’s Million Little Things, Teen Mom, Legacies, Workin’ Moms, and Goosebumps as well as campaigns for Mazda, Pepsi and Nintendo Switch.”

     “Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" by WILD




Lyrics of “Nothing That I Wouldn't Do" by WILD
When you're lost
And feeling alone
When you can't find your way
I'll carry you home

When you speak
But it don't make a sound
I'll take your whisper and
And make it a shout

And when you're caught in your despair
I'll cut you loose
And if the world stops making sense
I'll change it for you
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do

There's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause wherever you are
You know that I'll be there for you
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do

When the storm comes rollin'
And washes you out
Where the water is rising up
I won't let you drown

And when you're caught in your despair
I'll cut you loose
And if the world stops making sense
I'll change it for you
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do

'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause wherever you are
You know that I'll be there for you
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do

Oh there's nothing
Oh there's nothing I won't do
Oh there's nothing
Oh there's nothing I won't do

Oh there's nothing
Oh there's nothing I won't do
(Oh there's nothing)
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do

'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause' there's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause wherever you are
You know that I'll be there for you
'There's nothing that I wouldn't do

(Oh there's nothing I won't do)
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause wherever you are
You know that I'll be there for you
'Cause there's nothing that I wouldn't do