Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holly Miranda – Going on Tour

     Holly Miranda will begin a tour in less than a month. Among the stops is the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The complete tour is included at the bottom of this post.
   Holly Miranda is a singer/songwriter from Detroit, Michigan. According to her Facebook page, she tours with Tim Mislock and Maria Eisen. But she is a multi-instrumentalist. In studio, she plays piano, drums, guitar and bass.
    The song “Mark My Words” is particularly attractive. The song includes a baritone saxophone and vocal layering, two features that tend to grab attention. And the lyrics are interesting. Eliminating the sentences that include the term “ooo” or “trippin’,” the lyrics are:
Sneaking words into your pockets
Bleeding lyrics from my veins oh
I would lie behind your ears if I
thought you wouldn't forget I was there

And you were just what I needed oh
Life after the eye of a storm
And I know that I can come on so strong
If you would just give me a minute to find my ground

And I don't need anything from you
No I don't need anything
And if you want me to go I will go
But if you want me to stay I would love to stay

     “Mark My Words” by Holly Miranda (This is available as a free download at Seattle's KEXPhttp://blog.kexp.org/2015/06/25/song-of-the-gay-holly-miranda-mark-my-words/.)

Tour Dates
07.19 North Hollywood, CA at The Federal Bar
07.28 Houston, TX at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
07.29 Austin, TX at Cactus Cafe
07.30 Dallas, TX at Barefoot at The Belmont
07.31 Oklahoma City, OK at The Blue Door
08.01 Kansas City, MO at The Tank Room
08.02 St. Louis, MO at Off Broadway Nightclub
08.04 Iowa City, IA at The Mill
08.05 Omaha, NE at Slowdown Front Room
08.08 Denver, CO at Lost Lake Lounge
09.15 Washington, DC at The Rock and Roll Hotel
09.16 Philadelphia, PA at Boot & Saddle
09.17 New York, NY at The Mercury Lounge
09.18 New York, NY at The Mercury Lounge
09.19 Allston, MA at Great Scott
09.20 Kingston, NY at BSP Lounge
09.22 Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
09.23 Ferndale, MI at The Loving Touch
09.24 Chicago, IL at Schubas Tavern
09.25 Madison, WI at The Frequency
09.26 Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry
09.29 Seattle, WA at The Sunset
09.30 Portland, OR at Mississippi Studios
10.02 San Francisco, CA at Bottom of The Hill
10.03 Los Angeles, CA at The Echo

Monday, June 29, 2015

“Whails” by Ballerina Black – An EP Review

     It almost feels like Ballerina Black is family, probably because the Los Angeles band is one of the first we blogged about when we finally followed through on starting a blog. And when it comes to family, it’s always enjoyable to spread the word about new accomplishments.
     This morning we received the following short email announcement:
Ballerina Black just announced Whails EP, check it out here. 


      Congrats guys!!!
      The songs of the five-track EP have been available on Soundcloud for ten days. All five are enjoyable, but for different reasons. Our early selection for best feature is the Robert Smith (guitarist of The Cure) sound in “Heaven Sent.” That guitar sound first enters six seconds into the song.  But our early favorite song is "Isosceles,” which is best equipped to capitalize on the vocal and instrumental strengths at the disposal of Ballerina Black.
     The members of Ballerina Black are Bobby Moynahan (guitar, lead vocals), Esli Sugich (bass) and Scott Eton (keys, guitar). 

     "Isosceles" by Ballerina Black

     "Heaven Sent" by Ballerina Black

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Citie – A Band Introduction

     It isn’t difficult for a band to find free advice as to how to get noticed.  The oversimplified advice is that good music will attract the attention that will get a band’s music on Hype Machine and other music-influential sites. The reality is that generating quality music is difficult, but it’s only half the battle. There’s also the struggle of getting your music to the ears of potential fans. Indie Obsessive is not as influential as some of the long established blogs, but we receive at least 400 email submissions per month.  
      We don’t have any advice for bands. Still, we do identify some of the interesting approaches taken by bands. Indie Obsessive doesn’t put much energy into its Facebook presence. There are typically only two Facebook posts per month. However, the Facebook page got our attention yesterday, when a member of The Citie “liked” 20 posts and left two short messages. Well played Mr. Daniel Cohen! Ya gotta respect the fresh approach, so off we went to the Band’s music. It is quality music.
     The Citie is a Los Angeles-based band with three 2015 releases. There isn't a common thread among the three songs, other than attractiveness. “Immortal” is Indie Rock, “Baltimore” is socially conscious Hip Hop, and “Snowflakes” is more aligned with Indie Pop. The Citie has the flexibility to pull off all three.
     The Citie is formed of four siblings and their cousin. They range in age from 17 to 22, according to the band's Facebook page. In addition to Daniel Cohen (bass/vocals), the members of The Citie are Sophia Cohen (vocals), Jona Cohen (drums/vocals), Adrian Cohen (lead guitar/vocals), and Casey Sandino (rhythm guitar/vocals).

     “Immortal” by The Citie (the most recent release)

     “Snowflakes” by The Citie

     “Baltimore (feat. Addict)” by The Citie (In this song, Sophia Cohen's voice has much in common with Fergie's.)

“Could Have Been Me” by The Struts – It Has Gone Viral

     On Monday, The New York Times reported “Spotify's Top 10 Most Viral Tracks” for the previous seven-day period. At number one in the United States was The Struts’ “Could Have Been Me.” The formula for measuring viralocity is based on the number of people who shared a song divided by the number who listened to it via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Spotify. We’re not ready to agree with the approach, but we agree that the results are interesting. The full list is:
1. The Struts, “Could Have Been Me” (Virgin EMI Records)
2. Dropout, “Slowly” (Atlantic Recording Corporation)
3. Daye Jack, “Save My Soul” (Warner Bros Records)
4. Twisted Measure, “Chandelier” (Twisted Measure)
5. The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face” (Republic Records)
6. Ji-min, Iron, “Puss (Prod. by Rhymer)” (CJ E&M;)
7. Boh Doran, “White Knuckles” (Big Stuff Records)
8. Vicktor Taiwò, “Feathers & Wax” (Yebo Music)
9. AIR BAG ONE, “1992” (Ruben Nation)
10. The Internet, “Special Affair” (Odd Future)

     “Could Have Been Me” is an anthem. The song has been around since 2013, but is experiencing a reintroduction to the Indie world. It has a Freddie Mercury flavor to it at times, but The Struts are not Queen wannabes. This quartet from Derby has a sound it can call its own. The members are Luke Spiller (lead vocals), Addo Slack (guitar, vocals), Jed Elliott (bass, vocals), and Gethin Davies (drums).
     What’s to like about “Could Have Been Me?” Our favorite aspects are the message of the song (the lyrics are below) and choir that enters around 2:08.

Website: http://www.thestruts.com/

“Could Have Been Me” – the lyrics
Don't wanna live as an untold story
Rather go out in a blaze of glory
I can't hear you, I don't fear you

I'll live now cause the bad die last
Dodging bullets with your broken past
I can't hear you, I don't fear you now
Wrapped in your regret
What a waste of blood and sweat
Oh oh oh

I wanna taste love and pain
Wanna feel pride and shame
I don't wanna take my time
Don't wanna waste one line
I wanna live better days
Never look back and say
Could have been me
It could have been me

Don't wanna live as an unsung melody
I'd rather listen to the silence telling me
I can't hear you, I won't fear you

Don't wanna wake up on Monday morning
The thought of work's getting my skin crawling
I can't fear you, I don't hear you now
Wrapped in your regret
What a waste of blood and sweat
Oh oh oh

I wanna taste love and pain
Wanna feel pride and shame
I don't wanna take my time
Don't wanna waste one line
I wanna live better days
Never look back and say
Could have been me
It could have been me

I wanna taste love and pain
Wanna feel pride and shame
Don't wanna take my time
Don't wanna waste one line
Hey Hey
Wanna live better days
Just better
Never look back and say
Could have been me
It could have been me
It could have been me
It could have been me

I wanna taste love and pain
Wanna feel pride and shame
I don't wanna take my time
Don't wanna waste one line
I wanna live better days
Never look back and say
Could have been me
It could have been me
It could have been me
It could have been me


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Folks We Oughta Know – The June Version

     On a semi-regular basis, a post is dedicated to the Indie Folk genre. Welcome to the June version, which includes some very attractive free downloads. Admittedly, at least one song falls outside the Folk genre. But we are comfortable with placing it in this post.

     Don’t assume you are ready to judge “Maybe” until you reach the 1:25 mark. That’s when the energy surges. “Maybe” is a song of James MacKenzie, who is from Inverness – the one in the Scottish Highlands.  
     "Maybe" by James Mackenzie (This is currently a free download.)

     One of the tips given to emerging bands is to select a name that will lead to desired results when the band name is inserted into a search engine, such as Google. Well, How didn’t pay attention or just didn’t care. How is based in Armagh, Nothern Ireland. The members of How are Peter Kerr (vocals), Ben Whittington (guitar/ vocals), Johno Whittington (drums/vocals) and Maxl Walmsley Pledl (bass).
     "Coney Island" by How (another free download)

     There is nothing normal about the band Frog or their song “Judy Garland.” The self-description is “Frog is a two-person band with Tom White the destroyer and Dan Bateman the Gozarian. We live in Queens and eat hunan beef combination plates and make rock casio translations of ancient cave paintings.”
     "Judy Garland" by Frog (Yes, it too is a free download.)

Website: http://frog.cx/
Lyrics of “Judy Garland”
Excuse me darlin to disturb you
could you spare a bit of what the lord's left for you
bless your solemn unending virtue
lest your savior up desert you

Jesus couldn't quell the pains of americas in trucks and trains and tractor trailers on the range barmen counting their change and goldwin mayer fred astaire slicking back his oily hair snort benzedrine off of a mirror, slaps her ass how are you dear and all the preachers whistle nervous stare down devils in the back of churches, meet their luscious daughter in the smalls beneath the boughs of birches

Judy Garland hit the bathroom floor of her cold apartment 'bove a chelsea store and all the drag queens and all the whores couldn't get poor judy back up off of her laurels and judy

Wanna put my foot down on manhattan
make it float down like a boogie board
see the water bulging through the avenue
watch the cool kids look out their window bored as their mother drops the rolling pin the radio says

Judy Garland hit the bathroom floor of her cold apartment 'bove a chelsea store and all the drag queens and all the whores couldn't get poor judy back up off of her laurels and judy
Judy Garland you're a Beauty darlin.

     “Postcards” begins with harmonization similar to Lord Huron, whom we love. And the song ends with horns blazing, which we enjoy. They are based in Dublin, Ireland, where we will be visiting on Friday. So, this song by Cry Monster Cry MUST be posted!!!
     Cry Monster Cry is formed of brothers  Richie and James Martin.
     "Postcards" by Cry Monster Cry

Thursday, June 25, 2015

“Nightmares” by Future Thieves – A Song Review

     Indie Obsessive “fancies itself” as a Rock-relevant blog. But the recent posts have been more frequently planted in other genres. It’s time to make a degree of correction. So, we pull in “Nightmares” by Future Thieves. The band migrates to other genres for some of their tracks, but “Nightmares” is Rock.
     Future Thieves is a Nashville band formed of Elliot Collett (vocals, rhythm guitar), Gianni Gibson (drums, background vocals), Stan Nickell (lead guitar) and Austin McCool (lead guitar).

     “Nightmares” by Future Thieves

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Three for Free, Legal and Recommended (“FL&R”) – The June Version

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of new releases.  The end of an offer might be based upon reaching a maximum number of downloads or the expiration of some period of time.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
     WARNING: This post meanders through the genre map.

     Ten days ago we marveled at the number of current bands that have wolf-related band names. And there have been a number of Indie Obsessive posts around songs entitled “Home.” This combines the two themes, because we enjoy the song “Home” by Little Wolves.
     “Home” brings a measure of Dance to Rock. The Facebook page of Little Wolves refers to the genre as Psychwave. Little Wolves is a project of Los Angeles producers Samuel Jacob and Ronnie Watson.
     “Home” by Little Wolves (Currently, the song is a free download: just click on the download arrow in the embedded song.)

      Indie Obsessive had an interest in Orchestral Rock from the beginning of the blog, but the interest didn’t start migrating into an obsession until we saw San Francisco’s Family Crest. Nashville’s Lauryn Peacock provides another reason to get excited about the future of the genre.
     The song “Quiet Moments” has a focus on string instruments, which are plucked at times. But percussion certainly plays a significant role and the electric guitar provides an interesting contrast.
     The music of Lauryn Peacock requires “guests.” They include Rick Mazzotta (percussion), Mike Weiss (electric guitar, bass), Greg Jehanian (electric bass), Denison Witmer (vocals), Carl Cheeseman (guitar), Joshua Stamper Dark Horse Orchestra, Jonni Greth (vocals), Andy Greenhow (cello), Kent Ellingson (vocals), Mike Chen (cello), Matt Goldsborough (electric guitar, bass), Jordan Berger (drums), Brad Jacobsen (electric guitar), Daniel Delaney (cello), and more...
     “Quiet Moments” by Lauryn Peacock 

Website: http://lauryn-peacock.squarespace.com/

      The sound of Kill the Waves resides somewhere between the first two bands. There is an Indie Pop element combined with strings. Kill the Waves is from Glasgow and is formed of Tim Kwant (vocals, keyboard & guitar), Joe Williams (bass & keyboard), Dish Speybey (cello, keyboard & vocals), John Luke Treadgold (drums), Heather Thikey (violin & keyboard) and Rob Williams (guitar).
     “Better Days” by Kill the Waves - Indie Pop with a high level of sophistication. 

     More Nashville? More synth? More free? If you said “Yes” to one or more of those questions, then you’ll like “With Saints” by Future Unlimited. The five members are David Miller, Samuel D'Amelio, Matt McCord, Gabe Pigg and Jim O'Shea.
     “With Saints” by Future Unlimited - If I were looking for a 50-second block of music for a high energy movie scene, I would go with this song, starting at 2:09.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Violet and All Tvvins – Ireland Has Energy

     The subject line of the email submission was “New Irish Indie Band - My Violet.” Most of the Indie Obsessive staff is headed to Ireland next week, so the subject line stood out as if in a more apparent font than those of the other emails in the “Inbox.” Still, it’s the music that matters. If it was the subject line that caused us to open the door to the posting process, it was the song “Disintegrate” that caused us to invite My Violet to enter.
     My Violet is based in Dublin. The members are Joe Kiernan, Darragh Faughey, Brian Sinnott and Paul Donohoe. “Disintegrate” is their only release, so it may be unfair to compare the band’s sound to another group, but the energy and vocals have some alignment with London’s Foals. In particular, the exit from the quieted segment (pianissimo) at about 2:50 is Foals-like.
     We checked for an opportunity to see My Violet at an Irish venue during our visit. No such luck.

     “Disintegrate” by My Violet

     Soundcloud automatically transitions a listener from one song to the next. Because My Violet has only one release, the transition was to music of other bands. That was our introduction to the duo All Tvvins, who also hale from Ireland (Dublin, we think). The two members are Lar Kaye and Conor Adams. In their song “Thank You,” the vocals remind us of TV on the Radio. The guitar reminds us of the pleasant state we reach after having the first cup of morning coffee.

     "Thank You" by All Tvvins

Monday, June 22, 2015

“Confusion” by White Poppy – A Song Review

     The album “Natural Phenomena” is set for release this week. Among the tracks is “Confusion,” a song with a grip on us that grows tighter with almost each listen. All attempts of multi-tasking as “Confusion” plays don’t survive any further than the two-minute mark, when a clean shoegaze (Is “clean shoegaze” an oxymoron?) enters. That guitar is attractive from the start and becomes increasingly captivating.
     White Poppy is from Vancouver. The term Poppy does not designate the genre of the band, and there is nothing "flowery" about the sound of the band. More fitting descriptors are shoegaze, ethereal and dream. Crystal Dorval is the face of White Poppy.

     “Confusion” by White Poppy


It can be confusing, when it comes to choosing
don’t know what you’re supposed to do
but you carry on because you have to
It can be confusing, when it comes to losing
feel like things will never change
when they do it feels so strange, so strange, so strange

July Tour Dates

Sunday, June 21, 2015

“Sunshine” by Fassine – A Song Review

     It’s ironic that a song entitled “Sunshine” has lyrics that can best be described as dark. According to Fassine, their lyrics relate to isolation and those difficult-to-handle thoughts that “wedge themselves in the door; a journey from logic to absurdity and back again.”
     Fassine is a London quartet. The members are Laurence Langan, Sarah Palmer, James Hayward, and Tamas Szigyarto.
     Our favorite feature of “Sunshine” – The combination of vocal layering and percussion that occurs during much of the final third of the song.

      “Sunshine” by Fassine

Lyrics of “Sunshine”




      [Repeat twice]


Friday, June 19, 2015

Jamie xx Visits Seth Meyers – He Brings “It”/Them

     Indie Obsessive is a fan of The XX and its characteristic hushed male/female vocals. So, a solo project by a member of The XX is not a reason to be pleased. Still, we recorded the visit of Jamie xx to the late night show of Seth Meyers. Great move!!!

     There was nothing solo about the visit. There were thirteen contributors to an entertaining performance of “Loud Places." The eight-member choir began by merely providing soothing backing vocals, but became a show of their own with the enthusiasm they showed when the song hit the 3:20 mark. The percussion was a treat, with two skilled percussionists being joined by Jamie xx (Jamie Smith) when he picked up the agogo bells for a short time. And fellow The XX members provided the lead vocals, guitar and bass.

     This was a super group. We recognized the faces of the three members of The XX – Jamie xx (keys, agogo bells), Romy Madley Croft (lead vocals, guitar) and Oliver Sim (bass, backing vocals). And from past live shows, we spotted Jehnny Beth of Savages (choir – front row, second from the left). But we needed to be told that the drummer was Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint and the choir member next to Beth was Caroline Polachek from Chairlift. The others were Moses Sumney, Okay Kaya, Pauli (percussion) and members of the Harlem Gospel Choir. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival 2015

     The Phono del Sol Festival will occur in San Francisco on July 11. What’s not to like about a festival that is surprisingly affordable (just $30 for a general admission ticket), uncongested, catered by reasonably priced gourmet food trucks, and attended by a collection of blogworthy bands. This year’s lineup is particularly strong.
     In addition to Bay Area bands that deserve more recognition than they are currently receiving, Phono del Sol Festival will be invaded by some East Coast bands. If it’s fair to identify an emphasis on a particular genre, we’ll go with Pop. But the lineup also includes Rock (Marriages, with its infusion of Post-Rock instrumentation), Garage Rock (King Tuff), and Folk Rock (Scary Little Friends – a local band we strongly recommend).
     For more information and tickets, go to the festival's website: http://www.phonodelsol.com/

     The festival will include eleven bands and eight food trucks. The eleven performers are Tanlines, King Tuff, Mas Ysa, Generationals, VÉRITÉ, Sonny & The Sunsets, Marriages, Everyone Is Dirty, Heartwatch (formally The Tropics), TIARAS, and Scary Little Friends. Below is a sampling of songs.

     “Margarita” by Mas Ysa (Thomas Arsenault of Woodstock, NY)

     “Look Up” by Mas Ysa

     "Slipping Away" by Tanlines

      “Wasteland” by VÉRITÉ

     “Sleepless” by Heartwatch (recent name change from The Tropics)

     Scary Little Friends is offering free downloads of the album “From the Beginnings.” All that is required is a valid email address, although tips are always appreciated.