Thursday, May 31, 2018

“Black Cloud” by Postdata – A Song Review

     “Black Cloud” has an eerie, almost haunting vibe that would be suitable for a soundtrack of a drug smuggling movie. The song ends with thunderous percussion and demands of “Give me the drug.”

     “Black Cloud” is a song from Postdata, a supergroup fronted by Paul Murphy of Wintersleep. Other contributors are Grant Hutchison and Andy Monaghan (both of Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit, which sadly lost its frontman), Simone Pace (Blonde Redhead), and Wintersleep’s Loel Campbell and Tim D’Eon.

     The song is one of ten tracks on “Let’s Be Wilderness” which is available via Paper Bag Records. Quoting content from the label’s site:
  “I want my body back: Mama, I’m contaminated,” Murphy submits wearily on the chorus. The imagery came from a dream in which his bedroom was consumed in a dark cloud, while the lyrics developed after he watched a documentary on soldiers returning home with PTSD. The film depicted how some soldiers repurposed their uniforms into pieces of art as part of the healing process. It struck Murphy as “trying to change the meaning of the symbol for them and to be able to create and dictate the meaning of their uniforms in their own terms.”
  The track is a window into a key tenet of Murphy’s songwriting: empathy. “It's kind of told from the perspective of someone who is trying to empathize or help someone who is in a desperate headspace,” he explains. “I've always been intrigued or interested in arriving at a place of empathy in a situation you can't really understand.”

     “Black Cloud” by Postdata

Lyrics of “Black Cloud” by Postdata
She can't get out of her bed
The big black cloud
In the river of her head
Little by little by little
Just a little bit
It enters the room

Behind the eyes
You can feel the mind slipped
Flow to the spine
It doesn't matter what you did
Little my little by little
Just a little bit
It starts to consume

I want my body back
Give me the drug
You say you never had
Give me the drug
You say you never had
Give me the drug

My mind's contaminated
Give me the drug
You think you never had
Give me the drug you say
You never had
Give me the drug

There's nothing outside
There's nobody left
There's nowhere to hide
Nowhere to run and to forget
No one to find you
If you ever try to
And nobody tries to

Sand in the sky
Drowning in the wind
Look in my eyes
Mama I've been contaminated
Little by little by little
Just a little bit
Can you forgive me?
Can you forgive me?

I want my body back
Give me the drug
You say you never had
Give me the drug
You think you never had
Give me the drug
Give me the drug
My body

My mind's contaminated
Give me the drug
You think you never had
Give me the love
You say you never had
Give me the drug

Give me the drug
Give me the love!
Give me the drug!

“Feet” by Hat & Boots - A Song Review

     A second New Jersey-based singer/songwriter in two days? Yes! Hat & Boots is the performance name of Timothy Bretschneider of Woodbury.

     Hat & Boots recently released a three-track album, “This Too.” All three songs are recommended, but we are partial to “Feet.” There is an honest vulnerability that is communicated in the voice and in the lyrics. Lyrically, there is a progression, as each verse ends in a similar manner, but with a deeper revelation – “I’m weeping at the feet of something bigger,” 
(a) “something I’ve never seen,” 
(b) then, “something I don’t want to see,” 
(c) and concluding, “something I wasn’t ready to see.” 
     It is left to the listener to personalize the meaning.

    The melody of “Feet” is also a progression, as the intensities of the instruments and vocals increase with each of the three verses. Interestingly, the second verse includes voices of children in the background. But at the end to “Feet,” the song returns to its most vulnerable and honest:
I'm stuck, drunk, fucked up
Weeping at the feet of
Something bigger
Something I wasn’t ready to see

     “Feet” by Hat & Boots

Credits of the 3-track album:
> all songs written and performed by Hat & Boots (Timothy Bretschneider)
> produced, engineered, and mixed by Rashmit Arora
> mastered by Gordon Barker
> Timothy Bretschneider: vocals, guitar, bass, art
> Rashmit Arora: additional guitar, synthesizers
> Sebastian Goodridge: drums

Lyrics of “Feet” by Hat & Boots
I don't know how I'm supposed to feel
I'm still breathing out the last breaths
I held in your room
From that day my eyes couldn't reach
Past your feet
I'm at the feet of something bigger
I'm at the feet of something I've never seen

I don't know how I'm supposed to feel
Yea, yea, yea, yea, yea this is what we needed
Right right, right, right I just don't believe it, no, no
Cause I'm weeping at the feet of something bigger
I'm weeping at the feet of something I don't want to see

Well, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel
I'm still holding onto those breaths
I've been holding in
Trying to forgive the fear that kept my head down, down, down
I'm stuck, drunk, fucked up
Weeping at the feet of
Something bigger
Something I wasn’t ready to see

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“Resurrect Me” and “Now That You’re Lonely” by Skrizzly Adams – Song Reviews

     “Resurrect Me” entered the house of Indie Obsessive like a lightning bolt, generating a blaze around intertest in its origin - Skrizzly Adams of New Jersey. The blaze increased in intensity when it was fanned by “Now That You’re Lonely.”

     Adams’ voice has a soulfulness with a bluesy vibe, and his lyrics are poetic, eloquent and passionate. In “Resurrect Me,” the “Deadman walking” shout at 1:28 and the lyrical layering after the three-minute mark are features that we particularly enjoy.

     “Now That You’re Lonely” is a clearer demonstration of Skrizzly Adams’ range. He seems equally comfortable whether in the falsetto register or using a deeper, resonant voice. The song also includes a short harmonica solo.

     Skrizzly Adams is the moniker of Daniel Zavaro, a New Jersey-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His other source of income is selling Skrizzly Adams Beef Jerky (CLICK HERE for information about the product).

     Quoting bio information:
  Skrizzly Adams says he wants to “make the Americana of the future.”  And, by all accounts, the future is now.  The New Jersey-born singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer has made name for himself by seamlessly blending elements of indie rock, pop, and hip hop – a nod to whom Skrizzly considers the Holy Trinity: Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Kanye West.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

“Socotra” by Two Face Twin – A Song Review

     Two Face Twin is Carla Fellinger and Janick Pfenninger in Zürich, Switzerland. Janick is the founder and lead singer of the band Tim Freitag. Carla is working on a solo project and on her Master’s Degree in Pop Singing at the Zurich University of the Arts.

     According to their creative bio:
  At their birth in the Hawaiian wasteland, the twins Carla Fellinger and Janick Pfenninger were still anatomically attached via their little pinkies. A nuclear accident changed all that, in the blink of an eye, severing their uniovular unity, irrevocably. Lost and uncoupled from each other, they aimlessly wandered the earth until the unfathomable vagaries of fate re-joined them on the island of Socotra during a 3-week Ayurveda retreat for felines. From the time of that reunion, the twins swore never again to lose sight of each other and to, henceforth, irradiate the music world as TWO FACE TWIN.

     “Socotra” by Two Face Twin 

The Woman: Natalie Neumann
The Man: Omar Hetata
Directed by: Henry Gillis
Edit: Janick Pfenninger
Studio-Shots: Achille Lietha (
Lorenzo Demenga: Runner
Color Grading: Dion Merz

“Medicine” by JC Stewart – A Song Review

     The sophistication and elegance of “Medicine” are shaped by its layers of contrast. The lushness of the vocals contrasts with the sparseness of the instrumental support. Piano walks beside the voices through much of the song, with percussion being predominantly what sounds like a kick drum and wood-on-wood rhythm. Thus, while the instruments take a minimalist approach, the vocals are increasingly expansive.

     Additionally, the anguish in the lead vocals of JC Stewart contrasts with the near triumphant resolve in the gospel choir-like chorus. During the early occurrences of the chorus, the voices are united in the lyrics. In the final minute of “Medicine,” Stewart and the backing vocals stray from each other, providing a multi-dimensioned texture.

     There is even contrast in the message of “Medicine,” based the common perception of love as being a joyous emotion. Still, while love is pain, it’s a consequence that should be embraced:
If love is pain
Set me on fire
Keep lifting me higher
In your flames

If love is pain
Throw me in the water
When I’m going under
Save me again

     Speaking about the song’s inspiration JC Stewart explains “Medicine started as a couple of lines in a deleted note on my phone. I went over the chorus melody again and again for about 4 months before I figured it out! Over the awe-inspiring setting of building a set of flat pack drawers in a Brighton student house, it just popped into my head and that was really it. It’s a super simple song with real lyrics which is why I think I connect to it so much. I am so excited for people to be able to hear it and the other songs coming out over the next few months!”

     Stewart is a singer/songwriter who now resides in Belfast, but was born in the small town of Magherafelt, Co. Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

     “Medicine” by JC Stewart

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Marc Baker and Wolfjay - Free Friday/Saturday (“FL&R”)

     Free and Legal Downloads? Yes, at least temporarily. Bands often temporarily permit free downloads of their releases.  The end of an offer may be based on the expiration of a set period of time or on a limited number of downloads.  But at least for now, here are songs that qualify as Free, Legal and Recommended (FL&R) downloads.
     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 FL&R song each Friday/Saturday.
     Marc Baker is now living in Los Angeles. His New Wave single “No Place I'd Rather Be” is still available as a free download.

     This week, “She Calls To Me” dropped. The single from Wolfjay has an infectious energy. Wolfjay hails from Adelaide, South Australia. According to his Facebook page:
  “’She Calls To Me’ is about letting go of the things you have no control over, but you stress over and wrestle with anyway. It’s about leaving the past in the past, and focusing on what matters most.”
      To access the free download, go to the Triple J site and click the download arrow:

Lyrics of "She Calls To Me" by Wolfjay
I put on Masakatsu again,
Try give in to the simplicity,
Stop overthinking everything,
But probably not this time.

I just want to hear your voice,
Get to know your history,
Somehow you see the best in me,
But probably not this time.

Watch the sun set from my roof,
Pastel shades wash over us again,
Used to do this more often,
Before we had to grow up.

Remember when I wasn’t myself,
You visited me everyday,
We’d talk until you fell asleep,
Beside me on that hospital bed.

Where did we go wrong?
What happened to whatever we had?
I miss you more than anything,
More than the sun after it sets.

A message unread,
Intent misconstrued,
I should of been selfish for once,
And not worried about you.

     Also “High Sierra (feat. Bjéar)” by Wolfjay – To access the free download, go to the Triple J site and click the download arrrow:

Lyrics of “High Sierra (feat. Bjéar)” by Wolfjay
Well we drove it to the moon’s soothing sight,
Thought that north was for the wild,
Didn’t sleep until we we landed in,
Daybreak’s calming cry.

Laid down our weary heads in Idaho,
Dreamt of rivers, wolves and silver snow,
There’s surely nothing like the road,
We’ve finally found our home.

When all is said and done,
I caught a plane back home to you,
And I feel you’re the one.
Now you’ve run,
Now you’re gone.

Lauren Ruth Ward and Magic Giant at The Chapel - A Concert Review

     It was an evening well-suited for study by any band searching for the most effective approaches to engage with an audience and grow a fervently loyal fanbase. Neither Lauren Ruth Ward nor Magic Giant was satisfied with merely relating to the gig-goers with banter. Both made the attendees feel they were part of the performance and both ventured off the stage and into the appreciative crowd.

      Lauren Ruth Ward went first, walking onto the stage at precisely the prescribed start time (9:00 pm). Her charisma was on full display, as she talked with fans near the stage and acknowledged fans who were further away or in the balcony.  Ward’s sensuality was also undeniable, which was sometimes tender and other times crotch-grabbing aggressive. Her decision to remove her jacket was welcomed by everyone.

     Ward writes with her guitarist, Eduardo Rivera, to generate songs that are introspective, often revealing, and always praiseworthy. The songs in her setlist included "Well, Hell,” which is a discussion with parents whose child doesn’t fit into their “tradition” sexual preference, and “Sideways,” a track reflecting upon the difficulties of acclimating to a significant life change.

     Embedded in this post is a short clip showing Ward and the rest of the band. The smile of the drummer was perpetual. And Ward’s multi-colored pants were not the only reach into the late 60s and early 70s. For example, at one point Ward went into the arms-extending-and-pumping style of a go-go dancer.

     “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”

     “Did I Offend You?”

     Magic Giant didn’t settle for the standard arrival for their performance. Instead, they made their way to the stage through the center of the crowd, with instruments ablaze. The on-stage energy never waned. The core of Magic Giant is three multi-instrumentalists. Lead singer Austin Bisnow plays cello, synthesizer, and percussion. He holds the cello as if it’s a guitar. And the man can dance. Zambricki Li plays viola, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, and mandolin. Li also sings backing vocals. Brian Zaghi plays guitar, upright bass, bass, percussion and sings backing vocals.

     For many, including us, the highlight of the Magic Giant performance came when the trio took temporary residence in the center of the crowd for a pair of songs.

     "Set On Fire"
     "Shake Me Up"

Setlist of Magic Giant at The Chapel in SF

Let's Start Again
Eyes Wide
Glass Heart
Love or Die
Celebrate The Reckless

Acoustic in audience
Great Divide
Nothin' Left

Shake Me Up
Let It Burn
Set on Fire