Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All Hands, So We’re Not "On Deck"

     Every two years, there is an “all hands” opportunity that is unrelated to music. Specifically, people with whom we professionally cooperate are brought to our area from various parts of the world, so that everyone can shake hands. The only downside is that it limits our time to write about bands we believe are deserving of promotion. That said, here are songs that we would like to spend more time praising.
     Thank you to Rick Moreno for an email invitation to feature the song “Water” by Jack Garratt. The Internet information about Garratt is limited, but we can tell you that he is a Londoner and that he is working on his debut album, which will include "Water." 

     Thank you to another blog for alerting us to “In Your Dreams” by Ghost Estates. This is a band with more history, but we really like the prospects for the future of Ghost Estates. In the above picture, three of the members are looking up and to the right at that future. “In Your Dreams” is Pop heavy with a shoegaze guitar emphasis. The band hales from Dublin, Ireland and its members are Dan Doherty (drums, bass, sampler, keyboard, and vocals), Brian Giles (guitar, and loop machine), and Colm Giles (bass, synth, and vocals).
       “In Your Dreams” by Ghost Estates

      The third song Is “Dust” by The White Bicycles, another band from London. The members of The White Bicycles are Matthew Howes, Ryan Nolan, and Jack Curnow. 
     “Dust” by The White Bicycles

Monday, April 28, 2014

“Bones” – Dustin Tebbutt Has Another Keeper

     One of our favorite songs of 2013 was “The Breach” by Dustin Tebbutt. Well, last month Tebbutt released a suitable follow-up. That is, the recent release also has a “Bon Iver on caffeine” feel to it. This track is somewhat less caffeinated, but it still has sufficient dosage to increase our alertness.
     Tebbutt is an Australian, but he explains that he relocated to Sweden for a couple of years in order the write and record his music.
    “Bones” by Dustin Tebbutt

     “The Breach” by Dustin Tebbutt

     “Where I Find You” by Dustin Tebbutt

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Live 105 BFD 2014 – The Festival Stage Preview

Above are the bands that perform on the Festival Stage
     Each year, a local radio station (Live 105) presents a one-day festival at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. The 2014 date is June 1. The festival is named “Live 105 BFD;” and it has a very attractive format. The headliners are on the permanent amphitheater stage during the evening, but the efficient arrangement is the one in the afternoon. A temporary “Festival Stage” is actually a pair of stages positioned adjacent to each other, so that a good vantage point for one stage is as good or nearly as good for the other. As a band performs on one of the stages, the adjacent stage is being prepared for the next band. This permits almost continuous music for more than five hours. 
     The afternoon arrangement also enables easily accessible alternative music choices, since there are both a succession of selected local bands performing at the “Soundcheck Stage” and a number of high energy performances occuring at the “Subsonic Stage/Tent.”

     The full list of opportunities is at the bottom of this post. But today’s focus is on the Festival Stage(s). The eleven bands are more heavily Indie Pop than is normal for the BFD Festival. Past lists have included a healthy number of Indie Pop bands, but also had one or more bands that could only be described as Punk, Metal or Folk. Many of the 2014 bands already have at least one song that has garnered attention in the Pop genre. Below is a song from each of the eleven bands.  

     “Think of You” by MS MR

     “Dangerous" by Big Data

     “I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers

     “Aviation High" by Semi Precious Weapons

     “Come with Me Now" by Kongos

     “Liquid Arms" by Birds of Tokyo

     “Giants" by Bear Hands

     “Anna Sun" by Walk the Moon

     “Doses and Mimosas" by Cherub

     “Miss Teen Massachusetts" by Skaters

     “New York" by Finish Ticket

BFD 2014 Mainstage:
1.     Foster the People 
2.     M.I.A. 
3.     Fitz and The Tantrums 
4.     Phantogram 
5.     New Politics

Bud Light Festival Stage
1.     Walk The Moon 
2.     MS MR 
3.     KONGOS 
4.     Cherub 
5.     Bleachers 
6.     Birds Of Tokyo 
7.     Big Data 
8.     Bear Hands 
9.     Finish Ticket 

Bud Light Platinum Subsonic Stage:
1.     Flosstradamus 
2.     RAC 
3.     Giraffage 
4.     The Knocks 
5.     Amp Live
6.      WhiteNoize 
7.     Aaron Axelsen 
8.     St. John 
9.     Miles the DJ 
10.  John Beaver 
11.  DJ Dials

Soundcheck Local Band Stage:
1.     Waters 
2.     The Hundred Days 
3.     French Cassettes 
4.     Everyone Is Dirty 
5.     The Trims 
6.     Ghost Town Jenny 
7.     Breakdown Valentine 
8.     Fever Charm 
9.     Rio Rio

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cosby – A Band Review

     Honest, we don’t intentionally look for bands that include siblings. It just happens. Cosby is based in Richmond, Virginia and is comprised of brothers Chris Cosby (vocals and keys) and Chip Cosby (guitar and vocals). The band also includes Josh Santamaria on drums/percussion. They describe themselves as "a synthpop band that focuses on anthemic melodies, smooth harmonies, driving guitar hooks…" and as "that band that brings a sound of familiarity, but refreshing take on the music that keeps you returning and begging for more."

     “Attican Lights” by Cosby

     “Light of Day” by Cosby

     “The Way You Want” by Cosby

Friday, April 25, 2014

“Ring” by The Fugitives – A Song Review

     We received an email invitation to review the song “Ring” by The Fugitives. We hit the “clickable” link to the Soundcloud version of the song and the sound of a piano came across the speakers. Looking at the Soundcloud waveform, we saw the piano portion as being two short bursts with trailing edges. So far, so good. The short piano solo was followed by a section of piano-accompanied vocals. Hey, that’s even better. Then, harmonization entered and “Ring” was better yet. But the best was saved for the section that began at the 3:16 mark, when the vocals started an energy swell that was soon aided by the strings and then the return of the piano bursts. We were immediately hooked. The Fugitives have vocal strength; the arrangement and production of “Rings” is well-considered and well-executed; and the selection of instruments (piano, acoustic guitar and strings) should be used as a model by musicians trying to learn from bands that do things right (in terms of instrument selection based on the "feel" of the song).
     The Fugitives are “Adrian Glynn, Brendan McLeod, and band” from Vancouver, British Columbia. The Soundcloud page states that “Rings” will be a on the album “Everything Will Happen,” which is scheduled to drop on May 26, 2014.

     “Ring” by The Fugitives

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cold and Warm – Two Song Reviews

     This post considers two songs with very little in common, so we manufactured a connection. One is about cold – “Paths Are Frozen” by Inland Traveler. The other is more aligned with warmth – “Summer” by Farrow.

     Inland Traveler is Gerald Edward (guitar, vocals), Katie Locke (keys, vocals), and Lucas Madrazo (guitar, percussion, vocals). For the song “Paths Are Frozen,” Charles Keith Sztyk aided with the percussion.  They are based in Brooklyn, New York.
      In the song “Paths Are Frozen,” we particularly enjoy the clean guitar riffs, the blend of male and female vocals, and the energy surge that starts at about 3:35.
     “Paths Are Frozen” by Inland Traveler

     “Paths Are Frozen” - This is the Bandcamp stream. Currently, the band is allowing free downloads.

     Farrow is from Melbourne, Australia. The members are Will Cuming, Jess Bonnitcha, Ross Beaton, Louise Cuming, Justin Olsson, and Leigh Olsson. As an aside, Will Cuming was mentioned in the March 16, 2014 post, which included a song from his side project (Lanks).
      "Summer” is the type of song that is too easily judged without the listener giving the track a sufficient chance. The song starts without easily perceived complexities. The instrumentation is smooth, but not attention-grabbing. The vocalization is not demanding. But at the 2:33 mark in the song, a succession of features begins with each feature being worthwhile. The succession goes through the remainder of “Summer,” and includes (a) a crisp guitar sound, (b) a percussion focus, (c) a second guitar sound, (d) female vocals, (e) a female/male round, (f) a horn that accompanies female/male harmonization, (g) guitar, and (h) a collaborative Rock.
     “Summer” by Farrow

          “Summer” by Farrow - This is the Bandcamp stream. Currently, the band is allowing free downloads.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“Waiting Here” by Jake Isaac – A Song Review

     With each opportunity to hear the song “Waiting Here” by Jake Isaac, we identify a number of reasons to appreciate the song. One is the similarity of the background vocals with those of “The Wolves” by Ben Howard. Perhaps it’s because there is a much anticipated opportunity to see Ben Howard (at the S.F. Outside Lands Festival this summer), but we think of Ben Howard when “Waiting Here” hits the 1:34 mark with its series of "Ooo"s. The "Ooo" series plays a longer and stronger role in the Jake Isaac song starting at 2:37.
      Jake Isaac is also a Londoner, so we did some research to determine whether there is an overlap of personnel with Ben Howard. No evidence was discovered, but that may merely be an insight into our searching skills.
     “Waiting Here” by Jake Isaac

“The Wolves” by Ben Howard – the best “Ooo” series is the one that begins at about 2:49.

Monday, April 21, 2014

“How Terrorism Brought Us Back Together” by Challenger - A Song Review

     Today was the running of the first Boston Marathon following the decision by two individuals to do harm to the lives of people who had no control over their cause. It seems appropriate to feature the song “How Terrorism Brought Us Back Together,” since the events of last year did create a “Boston Strong” attitude to the city.
     Challenger is a synth-pop band based in New York City. The members are John Ross and Armin Frank. It is Ross who is credited with writing and producing the songs of Challenger, while Frank is the percussionist. The song “How Terrorism Brought Us Back Together” will be on Challenger’s sophomore LP “Back to Bellevue,” which is scheduled to drop on May 27.
     “How Terrorism Brought Us Back Together” by Challenger

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ellie Goulding at Bill Graham – A Concert Opportunity

     The bottom line concert review: At least for us, it’s the collection of work that is the attraction to Ellie Goulding, so seeing her perform a twenty one-song setlist was an opportunity to appreciate her talent – and Goulding did not disappoint.

     The Ellie Goulding performance at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco was another Coachella-related visit to the San Francisco area. Particularly now that the Coachella festival occurs over two weekends, with almost duplicate lineups, it is cost-effective for the festival bands to make the roughly 500 mile trip to San Francisco.
     The sellout group of about 7,000 was involved before the first note from Goulding. She walked onto the stage to much louder than normal applause. And the fans were ready to provide accompaniment for Goulding, with much more apparent than normal singing. However, Goulding didn’t need the crowd-sourced support, since she brought three backup singers. With four performers focused on vocalization, the songs had the texture and fullness that her songs exhibit in their studio versions, and it was achieved without concern of synchronizing live performance and recorded samples. To be clear, we have no objection to performers (such as Lorde) who heavily rely on mixing live and previously recorded vocalization, but we do prefer live performance in a concert setting.
     In addition to her singing, at times Goulding worked with the four musicians. She added percussion, played an acoustic guitar, and her electric guitar had an important role in “Burn,” which was the final song of the evening.
     The setlist was well designed. Goulding started strong with "Figure 8" and "Ritual." The lower energy songs were positioned in the middle. Then with three songs left (prior to the encore), she annouced that it was time to go up-tempo, and the crowded responded positively when "Anything Can Happen" began.
      "Anything Can Happen"

      "Figure 8"

      This is a snippet from the SF concert, but recorded and uploaded by another attendee (thank you "Sanfranrockchick.").

The Setlist from the show:
1. Figure 8
2. Ritual
3. Goodness Gracious
4. Animal
5. Starry Eyed
6. Stay Awake
7. Tessellate / Life Round Here / Guns and Horses
8. Beating Heart
9. Your Song (Elton John cover)
10. Piano Interlude
11. The Writer
12. Explosions
13. My Blood
14. Bad Girls / Salt Skin
15. Only You
16. Every Time You Go / This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
17. Anything Could Happen
18. I Need Your Love
19. Lights

20. You My Everything
21. Burn


Conway was the opener. She hales from Los Angeles.
     "Big Talk:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Matthew and the Atlas – A Band Review

     A very music savvy friend (Bob G.) recommended that we listen to Matthew and the Atlas. He noted, “It would be hard to place this band as being from Britain - you might think Southwest [United States].”  
      But looking into it more closely, the chain of events makes sense. If you’re one of the founding members of a band that explodes with the force that Mumford & Sons did, it is reasonable to look into a mechanism that allows you to work with and promote other musicians and bands with whom you relate. So, Ben Lovett co-founded Communion, which is "an artist-led organization for publishing, promoting and producing music." Actually, Communion was founded in London in 2006, well before the M&S explosion, but Communion didn’t have much international traction that was pre-explosion. Further, it is reasonable that if you are Ben Lovett, you are going to appreciate bands having characteristics in common with your band. Enter Matthew and the Atlas.

     The Matthew portion of the band name is Matthew Hegarty. Without question, our current favorite by the band is “Pale Sun Rose,” but that may change as more songs become familiar to us. For example, Bob pointed to the song “Into Gold,” which effectively uses sustained guitar notes at the start, some smooth guitar riffing in the middle, and some energy banjo work toward the end.
      “Into Gold” by Matthew and the Atlas

      “Pale Sun Rose” by Matthew and the Atlas

      “Everything that Dies” by Matthew and the Atlas - at least to us, the vocalization within the first minute has much in common with Kings of Leon.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three of Clubs Tour – A Tour Review

     Three bands have joined forces to provide an Indie invasion that is named “Three of Clubs Tour.” It is a solid lineup, but the tour is not receiving the attention it deserves. As one example, there are still tickets available for next week’s San Francisco tour stop at The Independent. The three bands are Terraplane Sun, Little Daylight and Flagship.

           Flagship is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The members are Drake Margolnick (lead vocals), Matt Padgett (lead guitar), Michael Finster (drums), Grant Harding (keys), and Christopher Comfort (bass). The song that has received the most attention is "Are You Calling." Within the song, the individual features we enjoy include the echoed background vocals and the energy swell that occurs between the 2:34 mark and 2:48 mark (the guitar forcefully takes over at 3:48). Currently, the song is being offered as a free download by the band’s record label – Bright Antenna Records.
     "Are You Calling" by Flagship

     Terraplane Sun is based in Venice Beach, California. The band comprises frontman Ben Rothbard, guitarist Johnny Zambetti, bassist Cecil Campanaro, Keyboardist Gabe Feeberg and drummer Lyle Riddle.
            "Ya Never Know" by Terraplane Sun

       "Get Me Golden" by Terraplane Sun

    Little Daylight is from Brooklyn, New York. The members are Nikki Taylor, Matt Lewkowicz, and Eric Zeiler. 
     "Overdose" by Little Daylight

Website: http://littledaylightsounds.tumblr.com/

POST CONCERT UPDATE - Terraplane Sun is more of an Indie Rock band than we thought they would be. That is, the genre was more Rock than Pop. We became fans to the extent that when Terraplane Sun returns to the San Francisco Area, we will schedule around the opportunity.

Terraplane Sun
Terraplane Sun
Little Daylight
Little Daylight
Little Daylight