Friday, April 29, 2016

“Sick of Me Too” by Kennedy Cult

    The ‘80s music persona has been kidnapped, but is in good health in Peterborough, Canada. That’s where Kennedy Cult is holed up. We recently discovered the 2015 release “Sick of Me Too.” The voice inflections, the saxophone – yes, the 1980s are alive and productive.
     Our favorite aspect of “Sick of Me Too”? It occurs around the 2:46 mark, when the song seemingly ends, rebounds with an isolated note from the saxophone, and then reengages.  

     The members of the Kennedy Cult are Ryan Kennedy (vocals), Jeremy Boyd (bass, vocals, synths), Shawn Bradley (production, sax, synth), and Curtis Jackson (drums).
     “Sick of Me Too” by Kennedy Cult


Lyrics of “Sick of Me Too”
Gave up cigarettes
Except on holidays
I still court the death
When I ride the waves

Everybody look at me
I know why you do
I’m sick of me too

Gave up heroin
Except on Sundays
I fake my religion
For the party that runs me

Everybody look at me
I know why you do
I’m sick of me too

When you make up celebrity
You pay at the door
You don’t get your money back
They just ask you for more

Everybody look at me
I know why you do
I’m sick of me too

Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Arrival” by Japanese Wallpaper – A Song Review

     Does a song that was released ten months ago qualify as a “Throwback Thursday” entry? Maybe in the Indie Universe, but probably not even there. Moreover, we only recently discovered “Arrival” by Japanese Wallpaper, so it would be misleading to assert that it characterizes a former time, at least for us.
     “Arrival” has a gentleness. Most songs that fit that description are appreciated when the listener is in a particular frame of mind. In comparison, “Arrival” lifts the listener and carries her/him to the appreciation. So, the name of the song is appropriate.
     Japanese Wallpaper is the performance name of Gab Strum. He is based in Melbourne, Australia. According to the Bandcamp streaming page of “Arrival,” the song was written by Japanese Wallpaper and Dustin Tebbutt, who provides the vocals. 

     “Arrival” by Japanese Wallpaper

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

“Midnight Rush” by Secret Company – A Song Review

     Every element of “Midnight Rush” contributes to a mood of a resolute person during a late night journey to an ultimate destination. The percussion begins thunderously, but the staccato percussion during portions of the song has the feel of the periodicity of car tires passing over the evenly spaced divisions between concrete slabs of a high speed freeway. The song has a number of changes of pace, keeping it “fresh” throughout the four minutes. In contrast to the percussion, the use of prolonged “trailing” by a less urgent lead guitar conveys a controlled determination by the person. And the gargoyles are empowered “while the city sleeps.”
     We’re not saying that our interpretation is consistent with the intent of Secret Company when the band wrote and performed “Midnight Rush.” Music is about the effect on a listener. “Midnight Rush” has an effect.   

     Secret Company is a UK band that claims Chelmsford as a hometown. The members are Scott Revell (vocals, guitar), James Patman (guitar), Kushal Gupta (bass) and Tim Reyland (drums).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Savages at the Fillmore – A Concert Review

     Concert Reviewer: Ryan G.
    Event: Savages' April 19 visit to The Fillmore in San Francisco
     From the opening note of Savages’ set to the last, there was no taking your eyes off the stage. They were fast, they were loud and they delivered raw punk rock spirit and energy. Savages’ music is a continuous build and release of tension. In their more restrained moments, they evoke the gloomy post punk of the '80s. Then they erupt like an angry swarm of bees. It’s a big spectrum and it makes for a compelling, roller coaster of a live show. The night featured slow building ballads, frenetic climaxes and even a guest appearance by a team of NASA scientists known as The International Space Orchestra. Never a dull moment.
     Savages’ sound consists of Fay Milton’s rumbling, tom-heavy drums, Ayse Hassan’s driving bass and Gemma Thompson’s hazy, snaking guitar lines. Then there’s front woman Jehnny Beth. A truly gifted vocalist and performer, she was the focal point of the night. Repeatedly launching herself into the crowd and, for one song, turning the house lights on the audience, Jehnny was intent on creating a shared experience. The crowd was with her every step of the way. "Adore" and "Slowing down the World" were standouts on the night.
     While recordings cannot duplicate the experience of seeing Savages, below are two uploads from other attendees. The evening’s setlist is also included at the bottom of the post.
     “Adore” (thank you Tyler King for uploading the video)

     “Hit Me” (thank you “Lairygirl” for uploading the video)

Setlist – Savages at The Fillmore
1. "I Am Here"
2. "Sad Person"
3. "City's Full"
4. "Slowing Down the World"
5. "Shut Up"
6. "She Will"
7. "Husbands"
8. "Surrender"
9. "Evil"
10. "When In Love"
11. "I Need Something New"
12. "The Answer"
13. "Hit Me"
14. "No Face"
15. "T.I.W.Y.G."
16. "Fuckers"
17. "Mechanics"
18. "Adore"

Monday, April 25, 2016

“Back In” by Roses & Revolutions – A Song Review

     It’s fair to compare “Back In” to a hologram of a carefully removed rose petal – they’re both pleasing to the senses, regardless of the angle of perception. From the vocal perspective, the voice of Alyssa Coco has a sweetness and a purity that can carry Roses & Revolutions across almost any genre. “Back In” is Indie Pop, but her voice has a splash of Country. The vocals are attractive throughout, but finish particularly strongly, despite a fade – “Couldn’t see beyond the fog, Turned around, And in a second you were gone.”
     Then, when viewed from an instrument perspective, the song uses a rotation of instruments, including an acoustic guitar, piano and percussion. But our favorite is the electric guitar. It has the sound of a resonator/Dobro. We searched for a picture of guitarist Matt Merritt holding a Dobro, but couldn’t find one. Doesn’t matter, we like the sound. OK, it does matter some, since we’re hoping the second half of this decade becomes known as the Dobro era (like the 1970s are known as the high point of the twelve-string guitar).

     Roses & Revolutions is based in Rochester, New York. As already noted, the members are singer Alyssa Coco and guitarist Matt Merritt.
     “Back In” by Roses & Revolutions

“Heart in Two” by Reuben and the Dark – A Song Review

    Probably because members are from different cities, Reuben and the Dark broadly identify their hometown as Canada. The strength of the band lies in its versatility. Members are multi-instrumentalists and while the voice of Reuben Bullock is featured, all five members contribute to the vocals. The vocal power of the band is best evidenced in their 2014 release of “Devil’s Time.”

     Reuben and the Dark will begin a short tour on June 4 with a performance at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. The occasion is the annual Live 105 BFD concert. They will likely play the 2016 release “Heart in Two,” which is embedded below, along with the lyrics.
     The members of the band are Reuben Bullock (guitar, lead vocals), Shea Alain (guitar, vocals), Kaelen Ohm (guitar, vocals), Brock Geiger (drums, vocals), and Ian Jarvis (bass, guitar, keys, vocals).


Lyrics of “Heart in Two” by Reuben and the Dark
Waiting there
A dawn before a darkness fell
I'm lost, but not alone
And all my words have turned to stone again

Take me with you
When you carry me away
And I will throw all of these words
I have to say

But you're still the storm cloud
But I love you just the same
While you're out
Killing shadows with your shade

And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you

Trouble and I
A long lost kind
Statue of one hundred
Blinking lights

Well, I built this wall around you
So no one else could hurt you
But now I'll trade
You truth for truth

And you’re still a storm cloud
But I love you just the same

And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two

You say reverie came over me
Like fire, like blood, like sunlight
You say reverie came over me
Like fire, like blood, like sunlight

And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you
And I broke my heart in two
One for me and one for you

Sunday, April 24, 2016

James Bay at The Fox Theater – A Concert Review

     On a day between his two appearances at Coachella, James Bay visited The Fox Theater in Oakland. If there was any doubt regarding Bay’s ability to Rock or his ability to fully engage with an audience, the doubt was dispelled before the evening was finished.  
     While there were earlier examples, the best Rock song was “Best Fake Smile,” which was the eleven of fifteen songs in the night’s setlist (the full setlist is included at the bottom of this post). The studio version of “Best Fake Smile” has the Rock guitars rolling, but the live version gave them more traction.

Of the fifteen songs, one was dedicated to audience participation. After getting a firm grip on the crowd’s attention during “Let It Go,” James Bay launched into a song that vocally comprised two minutes of “woo”s and his urges to help “Sing it out!” The stage was awash with purple, since the song was in respect for Prince.
     And within the setlist, “Scars” exposed the sensitivity of James Bay.
We live through scars this time
But I've made up my mind
We can't leave us behind anymore
We'll have to hurt for now
But next time there's no doubt
'Cause I can't go without you anymore 

“Let It Go” by James Bay 

      Below is a splicing of occurrences from the April 22 evening. We deserve no credit. The work was done by another attendee – thank you Jacob Hamilton!

     Here is a video uploaded by yet another attendee – thank you Timothy O’Malley.

Setlist of James Bay at The Fox Theater in Oakland, California
1. “Collide”
2. “Craving”
3. “When We Were on Fire”
4. “If You Ever Want to Be in Love”
5. “Need the Sun to Break”
6. “Running”
7. “Let It Go”
8. Crowd participation in a series “Woo” (a tribute to Prince)
9. “Scars”
10. “Move Together”
11. “Best Fake Smile”
12. “Get Out While You Can”
13. “Incomplete” (we may be wrong)
14. “Look Out Cleveland”
15. “Hold Back the River”

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mansions on the Moon – A Song Review

    Sweden’s Mountains of the Moon have released a pair of noteworthy songs in the last few months. We’re particularly fond of “Translucent Amber,” with “Bayou” being only slightly less favored.
     There was an unexpected benefit to the discovery of the music of Mountains of the Moon. The band name was a reminder of a song with a vocal purity that makes the track an infectious listen. “Time” is a track by Mansions on the Moon, with the female voice belonging to Codi Caraco. The members of Mansions on the Moon are Ted Wendler (vocals, guitar), Lane Shaw Drums), and Jeff Maccora (bass). They are currently in Los Angeles. 

     “Time (ft. Codi Caraco)”

Friday, April 22, 2016

Missed Opportunities - Close Talker and Sara Hartman

     In mid-March, the still-sparsely populated bandwagons of Close Talker and Sara Hartman were within reach, but we let them pass. Missed opportunities, right? Well, that doesn’t prevent us from hoping those artists receive the attention they deserve.
     It was difficult to select one song from the collection of releases by Close Talker. That was not a problem with Sara Hartman, since most of her songs have already been posted in Indie Obsessive.
     Close Talker is an Indie rock band from Saskatoon, Canada. The members are Will Quiring (vocals, guitar), Matthew Kopperud (vocals, gutar and Chris Morien (drums). “Heads” is perhaps the best evidence of the varied strengths of the band members. The collaborative vocals, the percussion and the guitars take turns in the spotlight.

     Hartman grew up in Sag Harbor, New York, but the 20 year old has moved to Berlin, Germany. Similar to earlier tracks from Hartman, the end of “Satellite” uses vocal layering in a manner that causes a listener to wish the song were longer.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Lion Theme – Recommended Songs

     Looking at the intimidatingly long list of blogworthy songs for Indie Obsessive, the word “lion” appeared repeatedly. But there wasn’t any genre-related connection. “Chasing Lions” is an instant attraction, if you appreciate the genre. On the other hand, “Ladylion” is a song that is more likely to remain underappreciated by a listener trying to multitask. Then there’s the video at the bottom of the post, which has little to do with music and much to do with dropping “F bombs.”
     “Chasing Lions” is a song from Natives, which is based in The New Forest, UK. They describe their genre as Tribal Pop.


     inSaturn jumps into the Indie scene with emotion. Using the description from the Facebook page of inSaturn, their music is “an auditory supernova.” Another appropriate term is "operetic." During the song "Ladylion," the vocal power of Beth Cannon, in contrast to the often minimalistic instrumental support, should be the focus of a listener. So, if you don’t have time now, bookmark the Soundcloud version of the song for a more suitable occasion. 

      Dorian Sea is based in Tokyo. The members are Cameron Doran (vocals, guitar, keys), Dale Stromberg (bass) and Gen Inomata (drums). The song “Lion Zebra” is a treat for music lovers who favor piano.

     Chil, the Ohio-Alternative music trio, includes singer/guitarist Nick Batton, guitarist Ian Minnick, and drummer/vocalist Ben Batton.


     The track “Lion Eyes” effectively uses band vocals to qualify the song as blogworthy, then throws in some appealing horns. The song belongs to the band Island Apollo of Orange County, California.

     Making sure this post delves into the Electronic genre, we include “Hey Lion” by SOFI TUKKER. The duo lists their current location as New York.


The below video is for entertainment purposes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

“Far as Stars” by Future Myth – A Song Review

     It’s always encouraging to listen to an EP or LP and find yourself battling over which song is a favorite among the tracks. The most recent “battle” occurred while listening to “Flashbulb Memories” by Future Myth. Initially, the leaning was in the direction of the song “Solstice,” probably because it’s the track with the strongest lead vocals. But over time, the texturing and sophistication of “Far as Stars” prevailed.
      “Far as Stars” is a collaborative effort. Future Myth is based in San Jose. The members are Joseph Choe (guitar, vocals), Ben Truong (guitar), Nicholas Troughton (bass), Kevin Coleman (drums). In addition to the instruments of the four members, there were contributors from other parts of the Bay Area. Quoting the band:
  "For some of the vocals on 'Far as Stars,' we gathered a bunch of friends together into a room and had them learn and sing the parts on the spot. We also had San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra come in to help out on some of the string arrangements to give the song a big sound."

     As of now, the next scheduled opportunity to see Future Myth is July 14 at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

     “Far as Stars” by Future Myth


Lyrics of “Far as Stars” by Future Myth
We're lost in darkness we can't outrun,
Let's try to have some fun while we can.
And if I'm sick, convince me that I'm well,
Then we can try to laugh through empty smiles.

We've turned old, but don't tell me you've outgrown
The stories that we used to tell.
Don't be upset. No eloquence can save what's left,
But I'm still holding onto words.

And now, we're as far as stars in the sky.
So let us down, and we'll survive!

We hear these ghosts. They say our lives are sewn
Together, but now we'll rip these threads.
So we wait. There will be another day
When we celebrate old times.

And now,
We're falling stars in the sky.
So let us down,
And we'll collide!

Recorded at Octaedro Studio by Mateo Lewis
Mastered by Joe Lambert
Additional vocals by Alice Hsueh and Joanna Jiang
Strings by Magik*Magik Orchestra
Photography by James Thomas Davey
Album Artwork by Anthony Quiatchon

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

“Young Blood” by Gymnast – A Song Review

     Production decisions are similar to coaching decisions in sports. It’s safe to take the conventional approach, since unconventionality opens the door to criticism. If results don’t meet expectations, the risk-taker is an easy target. Indie Obsessive supports risk-takers and enjoys differences.
     The song “Young Blood” by Gymnast doesn’t fit neatly into the box of predictability. That statement is best evidenced after the song hits its halfway point of 2:02. The power of the slow burn crescendo and the elegance of the instrument that sounds like string plucking are felt through an effect similar to listening to a radio station while at the border of its signal strength. Then, in the final 34 seconds, the signal is clean. Oh! It’s the synth that has the “weak signal.”

     Gymnast is the duo of Cathy Wilcock and Chris Lyon. They are based in Manchester, UK.  When asked (via Troy Keon of Color Station Music) what instrument was used to create the plucking-like sound in “Young Blood,” Chris Lyon responded, “It’s a synth violin that had distortion and other sound design bits added to it.”
      “Young Blood” will be a track on Gymnast’s forthcoming EP. Quoting the Soundcloud page of Gymnast, “The single uses its driving take on pop to explore the experience of coming of age, the other songs will explore others. 'Young Blood' is angular, expressive and not without a few surprises (wait for the bridge).”

     “Young Blood” by Gymnast

Bonnaroo Mixtape 2016 - Noisetrade Tuesday

     Until our library of Noisetrade recommendations is exhausted, most Tuesdays will feature a Noisetrade offer of songs available for the price of an email address. The offers of free downloads help spread the word. Typically, the offers are limited to a set period of time or a set number of downloads, so don’t wait. A valid email address is required, but Noisetrade does not use the address for reasons unrelated to music. Tips are appreciated.

     This week’s recommendation is an offer that will be available until the start of the 2016 Bonnaroo Music Festival, which is scheduled for June 9-12. The download includes 43 songs from artists who will perform at the 2016 event. We are selecting just one to embed - "Born Again Teen" by Lucius 

     “Born Again Teen” by Lucius

Monday, April 18, 2016

“Voices” by Sisters on Wire – A Song Review

     Sisters on Wire solidified its position as our favorite band from Lithuania. Sure, it’s the only Lithuanian band we know. But Sisters on Wire continues to impress, so we make the statement.
     Sisters on Wire is a trio, but in the recent track, they added the backing vocals of Ieva Ščerbinskaitė. Her voice increases the texture of a song that is already layered by the guitars and percussion (particularly the guitars). Indie Obsessive has posted other songs by Sisters on Wire. It isn’t often that we enjoy each blogworthy song by a band more than the previous ones.

     Sisters On Wire is based in Vilnius, Lithuania. The members are Oleg Jerochin (lead vocals, guitar), Fil Gusev (guitars) and Gintas Gascevicius (drums).
     “Voices” by Sisters on Wire

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Band Names – Clever?

     Ronaldraygun, Narc Twain, Day Ravies, LeE HARVeY OsMOND, and Seven Davis Jr. are some suggestions to, if the site decides to update its clever post about “punny band names." The NME selections of Ringo Deathstarr and Com Truise are solid (if interested, the NME article is accessible at CLICK HERE). But other nominations are:
Arthur Beatrice (we are long time fans of this UK band) 
Humfree Bug Art (this one isn't readily apparent - Humphrey Bogart)
Elvis Depressly
Dwayne & The Rock Johnsons
Bate Kush
Gill Bates (this might be his actual name, thanks mom and dad Bates)
Mark McGuire
Berry Bonz
Flint Eastwood 
Kane West
Traci Lordz
Bill & Murray
Barny Rubble
Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr (now JR JR)

“With Nights and Lights” by Humfree Bug Art

“Find What You’re Looking For” by Flint Eastwood