Friday, November 29, 2013

The Forecastle Festival – As a Free Download

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy.

     This sampler is a Noisetrade offer, so it requires input of an email address. To see the entire setlist, just click the arrow. These are artists who performed at the 2013 Forecastle Fesitval in Louisville, Ky.

     “Ramona" by Night Beds. This one is separately downloadable.

      “Change" by Churchill

A Summer Sampler as a Free Download (What? It’s Almost December?)

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy.

    This one is a Noisetrade offer, so it requires input of an email address. To see the entire setlist, just click the arrow.

     “Antiphon" by Midlake

     “You Ain't Alone" by Alabama Shakes

     “Lost Innocent World" by Gogol Bordello

A Fall Sampler as a Free Download

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy.

     This one is a Noisetrade offer, so it requires input of an email address. To see the entire setlist, just click the arrow.

     “Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" by Stars

     “Take Us Alive" by Other Lives

     “Rapure" by Everest. This one is downloadable.

Unseasonably Late Samplers - As Free Downloads

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy. These are both Spring samplers, so we have them together. 
     These are Noisetrade offers, so they require input of an email address. To see the entire setlist, just click the arrow within the embedded Noisetrade offer. 

     “Heartbeat” by the Kopecky Family Band

     “I Found You" by Alabama Shakes

     If you enjoy the Indie Americana genre, this one is for you. For us, the keeper song is “Lost River” by Murder by Death.

     “Lost River” by Murder by Death. This one is a free download.

     “Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel about Me" by Justin Townes Earle.

Tom Waits and Keith Richards Together - As a Free Download

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy.

     This one is a Noisetrade offer, so it requires input of an email address. To see the entire setlist, just click the arrow.
     Where else can you get Tom Waits and Keith Richards together? And then there are songs by people who don’t sound like they abused their voices. 

     "On My Way" by The Melodic.  This one is a free download by itself.

     "Head On" by Man Man

     "Splitter" by Calexico

Work Drugs Is Offering “Mavericks” as a Download

     In the spirit of “Black Friday,” we are clearing some of our bookmarks for free downloads of music that we enjoy.

          The Philadelphia-based Indie Pop band Work Drugs is offering their album “Mavericks” on a “name your price” basis. In addition to the Bandcamp offering, embedded below are Soundcloud streams of our recommended songs from the album.

     “Sunset on High Street” This Soundcloud stream is being offered a free download. We particularly enjoy the saxophone. 

     "Mavericks" This Soundcloud stream is being offered a free download.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“Thanksgiving” by Stephen Kellogg – A Song Review

     We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, regardless of country of residence.

     Although it’s not as risky as when artists were far more dependent upon radio exposure to make a living from their music, it is still a risk to put energy into generating a ten-minute song. Most music consumers are like us – short attention-span listeners. But there are always those few songs that break through the barrier. Music historians give credit to The Doors’ “Light My Fire” (1967) as being the first. The song by The Doors was “only” seven-minutes long, but the demand for the uncut version forced radio stations to reconsider commercial scheduling in order to maintain their market share of listeners. As songs got even longer (Iron Butterfly’s seventeen minute “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” in 1968), commercial stations had no choice but to either crop the songs or ignore them. As a consequence, a viable listening audience surfaced for the “underground” stations.

     Fast forward to 2013 - Stephen Kellogg releases a ten-minute song entitled “Thanksgiving.” Kellogg was born in Pennsylvania, was a member of the Sixers (the band, not the basketball team), and now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. “Thanksgiving” is part of a solo effort.
     “Thanksgiving” can be broken down into segments, but we aren’t sure if we have it right. Still, when it comes to lyrical poetry, it doesn’t matter if you are hearing what the songwriter originally intended. All that matters is that the song speaks…         Yes, "Thanksgiving" speaks.
      Two easily identified segments are defined by the church-like choir at the start and end of the song. Between the choir segments, Kellogg tells his story. The lyrics are pasted below. There is a setup to the story, with the story starting after the statement:
"A melody, floating just within your grasp, it goes…"
     The longest segment follows. The story starts with a statement of the appreciation for Thanksgiving, especially as a boy. The boy grows, meets a woman, marries her, and has children. Initially, the wife functions as his axis. But the relationship ends in an ugly divorce.
      Today, he has perspective. He doesn’t feel shame regarding the past, but he knows he was the cause of his current situation. Then, there is a John Lennon “Imagine” segment that leads to the church-like ending segment.
Currently, Stephen Kellogg is permitting free downloads.

The Lyrics of “Thanksgiving:”
The Choir:
Oh Thanksgiving, the harvest draws to a close
Pride of man will swallow him, for he reaps what he sows
Oh living, it’s harder every day
Only in the darkness can you see you’ve lost your way

Stephen Kellogg:
I recollect the Rose of Sharon had come back again
The trees were blowing in the breeze all high above my head
When a cavalcade of memories appeared to me in words I wished I’d said.

From that point on a song stayed in my thoughts most of the time
But when I tried to sing it out loud it would always leave my mind
Like the things you know are true, but never can explain when you get asked.

A melody, floating just within your grasp, it goes…

When I was a child, I always remember
The way I would feel, 4th Thursday November
My uncles would play, there would be music
And I was taking it in.

Only much later, I noticed the drinking
The feeling my family was growing and sinking
St. Petersburg Palace stain glass in sun
They were well on their way I had only begun.

So boy meets a girl, Venus and Adonis
Friendship on fire, adulthood upon us
They teach you to fly, then spend all of their time
Standing over you, clipping your wings.

Where there was a me, there could be an us
I dreamt about money, she talked about trust
She is my axis, death is by foxes
And we were well on our way.

In America, this is home
Stories, everybody’s got one
This is mine, you will have your own
Nothing like the real thing, nothing like it.

Cleaner than Christmas or our wedding day
I knew her father was pissed, though he wouldn’t say it
I would be too and someday I will be
No kid could be good enough.

Taking on Sunday, taking on owls
Catching a glimpse of the wolf as it howls
Got a lot of nice things, got a really nice house
Done is so beautiful.

On Father’s Day, I’m thinking of mothers
I can only suppose they’re thinking of others
Insurance is up, it came in the mail
Yeah it kills me what they’re charging for little white pills.

I blow through the years like a mother defending its own
And I fear, I’m driving on spare tires
Seems like I’ll never get home, like I’ll never get home
Like I’m getting threadbare.

I can’t find my way, she showed me the map
I still can’t believe I acted like that
Just follow your heart up past most of the brain
If you get lost at reason, move down past pain.

I’ll see you in court, bring your raincoat
I’m keeping the kids, I’m keeping the house
It takes minutes to make us a baby
And years to remember what that was about.

America, this is home
Stories, everybody’s got one
When we die what will we have done?
Nothing like the real thing, nothing like it.

It’s snowing in April, something’s changing in me
That’s the sound of a heart getting clean, baby
I traded in booze for loads of caffeine
And my friends they traded in me.

Another Thanksgiving and I’m all alone
My favorite holiday and nobody’s home
No shame in the past, no pride in the future
I know, believe me I know.

Those years we spent talking, learning to agree
The truth is I’m just thankful you tolerated me
There’s so many thorns, not enough roses
My girls as they sleep, the eye as it closes.

This year for Thanksgiving I’m keeping my list short
No one gets married, no one gets divorced
Can you imagine?
What if the world could stand still for even a day?

If there was no crime, no rape and no killing
Addictions suspended, no cutting or drilling
If everyone took the day off and hung out with their friends
Their favorite friends.

I know what you’re saying, it’s not realistic
I’ve heard it my whole life, look at the statistics
But lucky for us, I’m not a guy that gives up
I never give up, ‘cause I go…

The Choir:
Oh Thanksgiving, the harvest draws to a close
Redemption is a bugle humility composed
Sweet forgiveness, thawing across frozen ground
Casting light eternally, carrying its sound.

Folks We Oughta Know – The November Version

     Recently, songs that are blogworthy and that qualify for the Indie Folk genre have been surfacing more frequently. An alternative explanation is that our definition of Indie Folk genre is broadening. Admittedly, some (or all) of the songs in this post fit just as easily into at least one other genre.
     Timberwolf is the performance moniker of Chris Panausakis, who hales from Adelaide, Australia. In August, Timberwolf released a five-track EP entitled “Man & Moon.” Our favorite track is “Into the Cold.” The song has a steady pace during the verse (such as the first 46 seconds), but goes uptempo during the chorus. Timberwolf uses falsetto often, without it being overly stressed. In "Into the Cold," the best is left for last - we love the layered vocals during the third visit to the chorus.

     According to the band, “The Silent Comedy is a San Diego-based group of musicians mixing Americana, Folk and Rock n’ Roll into a sound that is best understood by experiencing their live show.” The members are Chad Lee (percussion), Jeremiah Zimmerman (vocals, piano, guitar), Joshua Zimmerman (vocals and bass), and Justin Buchanan (banjo, guitar and mandolin).
    Our song of preference by The Silent Comedy is "Gasoline." And within the song, our favorite feature is the use of band chants.

     This is the third song, so let’s head to a third continent. Southern is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is primarily a brother/sister duo comprising Thom Southern and Lucy Southern, but they are joined by Jack Prince and Kevin Mooney. They identify their music as “a mixture of alternative acoustic, folk blues, pop." We are obsessive over their song “Shout It.” This one is more of a mixture of folk and rock.


     Gotta have another U.S. band in this blog entry, right? Well then, let’s go with a supergroup. In addition to singer/guitarist Jeff Angell and keyboardist Benjamin Anderson, Walking Papers includes musicians that were with Guns N’ Roses (bassist Duff McKagen) and Screaming Trees (drummer Barrett Martin). Throw in Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready on a couple of tracks of the debut album and you have a lot of talent. So, how are the songs of this Seattle-based supergroup? Our answer is that we enjoy “Leave Me in the Dark.” 

     Returning to music from Australia (Melbourne this time). Jimmy Hawk is offering “Yana Homme” as a free download. Hawk appears to have two bands. In Australia, he is often with The Endless Party, which has an electric approach. The bandmates are Thomas Van Der Vliet, Nic Dupleix-Pyke, Jack Wilson, Troy Ramaekers. and Alistair Self. When in the UK, Hawk identifies Geno Carrapetta as being the band.


     Finally, End of America brings us “Silver AM,” which has a more traditional folk sound than the above songs. This is a New York band with a name that is not intended as a political statement. The members are James Downes (vocals and electric guitar), Brendon Thomas  (vocals and banjo), Trevor Leonard (vocals, and acoustic guitar), Jarrod Pedone (drums) and Bean Pitonak (bass).

     End of America is not a political statement, but during the early 1970s there was a folk-directed song by Mason Profit that was such a statement. In fact, it was one of the best available. “Eugene Pratt”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Phoenix Foundation – A Band Review

     One of us (the one not enjoying a vacation) received an email from a friend. Jim asked if we had heard of the band The Phoenix Foundation. After a quick memory refresh, the answer was “Sure, the band released an album earlier this year.” The Phoenix Foundation dropped "Fandango" within a few days of an album release by France's Phoenix ("Bankrupt!"). The timing was interesting.
     Jim was particularly interested in the song “Buffalo.” That’s when recollection stopped. We looked at the list of tracks on "Fandango" and there was no “Buffalo” to be found. Jim's email contained a Spotify link to the track, but we started a search for another source. Turns out, it is the title track of an earlier release. The “Buffalo” album dropped in 2010 and we missed it completely. But after listening to the song, we reached agreement with Jim’s position that the title song desires attention.  It’s great to have friends!
     When we like a song as much as we did "Buffalo" after a first listen, the concern is longevity. Will we grow tired of a song as quickly as we grew to like it? But we are confident that "Buffalo" will withstand the test of time. It is not a song that "cheaply" grabs your attention by using lyrical hooks. And there are a number of energy transitions that keep the song interesting. We particularly favor the transition starting at the 2:48 mark.
     The Phoenix Foundation is based in Wellington, New Zealand. The members are Luke Buda, Will Ricketts, Samuel Flynn Scott, Conrad Wedde, Tom Callwood, Chris O'Connor, and Richie Singleton (Although, the band’s Wikipedia page identifies Singleton as a “past member”).
     "Buffalo"  There isn't a Souncloud stream, so here is the Bandcamp stream (the bonus is that three songs follow ""Buffalo" in this stream).
    There are also songs we enjoy from the 2013 album – “Fandango. "Black Mould" - this one reminds us of a Beck hit.

     "Thames Soup"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beastie Boys Meet GoldieBlox – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

     GoldieBlox, Inc.makes toys, including toys designed for “the next generation of female engineers.” The corporation put together a two-minute commercial that it asserts is a parody of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls.” The legal accuracy of that assertion is important to the corporation, since it may determine whether the commercial can be used and perhaps whether the Beastie Boys are entitled to damages.
     Last week, GoldieBlox filed a DJ action (a declaratory judgment action) in the Northern District of California. As a result of the filing, a judge in San Francisco will determine the issues relevant to copyright law. Is the commercial a parody? Is it a “fair use” as defined under copyright law?  
     Ignoring legal issues, we can firmly state that we love the message and the cleverness.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eliza and the Bear – A Band Review

     Our unofficial, amateur assessment of the odds that Eliza and the Bear will visit San Francisco became slightly more optimistic recently. It turns out that the London-based band has a link to San Francisco. It’s not a link that will support much weight, but we enjoy the music of the band and we grasp at optimism.
    We read that while one member of the band (Callie Noakes, we think) was visiting San Francisco, he bought a book of poems by Eleanor Rees (the cover is shown to the right). The name of the book and its last poem is Eliza and the Bear. There seemed to be a connection between the work of Ms. Rees and the themes of the early songs of the band. So, Ms. Rees was asked for permission to use the name and, happily, she consented. For more information about the book, visit the site: CLICK HERE.      
     During a year in which we have been paying more attention to trumpet playing in Indie, Eliza and the Bear is one of the standouts. The members of the band are James Kellegher (lead vocals, guitar), Callie Noakes (vocals, keyboards), Martin Dukelow (vocals, guitar), Chris Brand (bass), and Paul Kevin Jackson (drums). So, the trumpet in “Friends” and other songs by the band must be contributed by friends.
     “Friends” by Eliza and the Bear - This song first appeared on Indie Obsessive on July 21.

     “Brother's Boat” by Eliza and the Bear

     “It Gets Cold” by Eliza and the Bear - This is the Band's latest release.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ellie Goulding and Rudimental 2014 Tour – Including San Francisco

     If we had a magic ukulele that housed a genie who would grant one wish to its owner, we would ask for a regularly updated source of reliable rankings of live Indie performers. Yes, a ranking of Indie artists from most entertaining in a concert environment to most disappointing. The ranking would include all Indie performers who are currently on a tour.
     Devising a mathematical formula that could generate such a ranking is too dependent upon the input data to be reliable. Even if the ranking is limited to bands touring the United States (or Europe or Australia), the list of bands to be ranked changes regularly and input is needed from a collection of people (“crowdsourcing”). No two people have the same taste in concert experience. Additionally, it isn’t rare to see the same band twice in a short period of time and have very different experiences, as we did in 2013 with the band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down.
     Still, if we were asked for input, it would include assigning high marks to a pair of performers who will be touring together in 2014. Among the stops, Ellie Goulding and Rudimental will visit the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Saturday April 19, 2014. Neither is in “our wheelhouse” in terms of the genre. But for concerts, genre plays a less important role then the energy and charisma that the band brings to the venue.
     It was luck that brought us to the Rudimental performance. They were at the Outside Lands Festival in the middle of the afternoon. Options were limited, so we migrated to the stage with Rudimental. It was supposed to be a five-piece band, with one member being a DJ. But more than five talented people showed up. Two keyboard players, the charismatic DJ personality, a drummer, a trumpet player, a guitar player and three “lead” singers. The 45-minute performance was not enough. So, later in the day we went to their scaled-down performance in a fifty-person tent. This post includes three pictures of the stages at Outside Lands, in addition to a Youtube video that was uploaded by someone we would like to thank.

     “Waiting All Night”


     Ellie Goulding was another surprise in 2013. We recognize that Rudimental is not going to bring the posse that it had at Outside Lands. But when a concert includes two bands that can be classified as “great live performers,” it’s time to get tickets for the concert.


Friday, November 22, 2013

London Grammar – A San Francisco Concert Opportunity

     London Grammar was first introduced to Indie Obsessive on July 5, 2013. Quoting that post: “As indicated by the band’s name, they are based in London. The members are Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman. Rothman is the source of the guitar sounds, which remind us of what we like about the guitar from the Australian band Jezabels. Major plays the keyboard, djembe and drums. Reid knocks you over with her amazing vocals.”
     London Grammar will visit the U.S. again in 2014. Among the stops, they will perform at The Independent in San Francisco on Thursday March 27. The full schedule is pasted at the bottom of this post.
     The band has received attention, particularly in Europe, but the measure of notoriety continues to have a steep positive slope. London Grammar has been willing to tour and to accept invitations to visit high profile radio stations and Internet broadcasts, as well as the Jools Holland BBC show. They were invited to the KEPX studio for an interview and performance on September 30. The resulting KEPX release is embedded below. Also embedded is our current favorite of the London Grammar songs, which is the title track from “Metal & Dust.”
    Tickets for the San Francisco show are available at noon today (November 22). We know what we will be doing at noon. Tickets for the SF performance are on sale at: CLICK HERE.

     "Metal & Dust"

01/01 – Sydney, AU @ Field Day
01/07 – Sydney, AU @ Metro Theatre
01/09 – Melbourne, AU @ The Prince Bandroom
01/28 – Cardiff, UK @ Solus
01/29 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy
01/31 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City
02/01 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange Cambridge
02/03 – Brighton, UK @ Brighton Dome
02/04 – London, UK @ Troxy
02/07 – Liverpool, UK @ O2 Academy Liverpool
02/08 – Sheffield, UK @ O2 Academy Sheffield
02/10 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK @ Northumbria University Student Union
02/11 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 ABC
02/12 – Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy Leeds
02/15 – Bournemouth, UK @ O2 Academy Bournemouth
02/16 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy Birmingham
02/17 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy Bristol
02/25 – Paris, FR @ Casin De Paris
03/01 – Lyon, FR @ Transbordeur
03/02 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique
03/03 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg The Max
03/11-16 – Austin, TX @ South by Southwest
03/17 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Upstairs
03/18 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
03/21 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
03/22 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
03/23 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
03/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
03/27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
03/28 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
03/29 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
03/31 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
04/03 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
04/04 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
04/05 – Detroit, MI @ Shelter
04/07 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theater
04/09 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
04/11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
04/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
04/14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Is AusMusic Month – triple j Unearthed Download

     Of course, the music featured on a music blog reflects the tastes of its authors. So, one key to the music discovery that is critical to those of us with very short attention spans is to find the “right” music blogs. As we find a blog which regularly features music we enjoy, the blogsite is bookmarked or we “like” its Facebook page. At least as importantly, a bookmark or “”like” is added for blogs that stretch our boundaries of appreciation without being so far outside our tastes that we become disinterested.
     Some blogsites select a specialty that is based on a geographical area. Our favorites are The Pop Cop (, which has a focus on Scottish bands, and triple j Unearthed (, which has a focus on Austalian bands. This post is about an opportunity presented by the second of the two sites With approval from the bands, triple j Unearthed is allowing free downloads of 21 songs. The songs are within a range of genres, so there may be something for nearly everyone. For us, there are three that stand out. Anytime you can download three songs you intend to play regularly, it’s a strong setlist. As a “thank you” to triple j Unearthed, below is an introduction from the website:
     "To celebrate triple j’s Ausmusic Month, we've put together a selection of songs discovered on triple j Unearthed in 2013. (Even though every month is Ausmusic Month on!)
     triple j Unearthed is a national platform for discovering and sharing new independent Australian music. It’s also a full-time digital radio service devoted to programming the best new Australian music found from over 40,000 artists with music available for free download on Listen and discover the future sounds of Australian music.

     The direct connection for the 21 song offering is CLICK HERE.The list of songs:
1. The Kite String Tangle - "Given The Chance"
2. Bam Bam - "Bags Packed (Ft. Allday)"
3. Braves - "Heartslur II"
4. Dustin Tebbutt - "The Breach"
5. Tired Lion - "Desperate"
6. Loose Change - "Shoosh!"
7. Cosmo's Midnight - "The Dofflin (Wave Racer Remix)"
8. Little May - "Hide"
9. Major Leagues - "Endless Drain"
10. Born Lion - "D For Danger"
11. FLAMINGO - "Heart, My"
12. Cypher - "Liar"
13. Simone & Girlfunkle - "Secret"
14. Birdz - "Red Black And Yellow"
15. Lunatics On Pogosticks - "Blood Clot"
16. KLP - "Down South"
17. Olympia - "Atlantis"
18. The Love Junkies - "Baby, Come Home"
19. Tkay Maidza - "Brontosaurus (Ft. Bad Cop)"
20. Axolotl - "Avalanche" 
21.Robbie Miller - "Don't Go Walking Away"

The songs we recommend are:
       Dustin Tebbutt - "The Breach" - the song has already been introduced to Indie Obsessive.

     Little May - "Hide" - This is another repeat, because we featured another song by Little May. "Boardwalks" is the single by Little May (note: "Boardwalks" is not one of the 21songs).

     Cypher - "Liar"

     The Kite String Tangle - "Given The Chance"