Friday, April 30, 2021

“Just At The Right Time” by Thrillhouse – A Song Feature

 


     Early in the single from Thrillhouse, “Just At The Right Time” reminds us of the reasons we enjoy music from Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers. Then, an upper-frequency, more intricate guitar triggered a switch to Math Rock bands, particularly Maps & Atlases. The single has an energy that is contagious and vocals that reflect determination and appreciation. Our favorite segment of the song begins with the build at 2:52.
 
     Thrillhouse is a trio from Brighton, UK. The members are Alistair Scott (bass, keys), Jackie B. Nielsen (vocals, guitar, keys), and Sam Strawberry (vocals, guitar). When talking about “Just At The Right Time,” Sam said:
  “I wanted to say thanks to someone who’s done a lot for me. I’m no good with words in real life so I just wrote a song about them… I should probably send it to them at some point.”
 
     “Just At The Right Time” by Thrillhouse


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

“There's A Locked Up Safe” by The Lanes - A Song Feature

 

      The single from The Lanes features chiming/ringing guitar that is a modernized and slightly more Rock-ready version of the 1960’s The Byrds. “There's A Locked Up Safe” further includes strong vocals, as well as percussion that deserves attention. Moreover, the lyrics carry a praiseworthy message. The Bandcamp site explains:
  “’There’s A Locked Up Safe’ is a shout of support to those stuck in dark places, struggling with the strain of growing up in the modern age on mental health. It goes on to emphasize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, suggesting how it can feel like this happiness resides within a ‘Locked up Safe’ but despite it all, it will get better.”
 
     The Lanes are a four-member band from Norwich, UK. They are Alfie Bowles (guitar, vocals) Max Allen (lead guitar), Myron Endean (bass) and Harry Jones (drums).

     “There's A Locked Up Safe” by The Lanes



Lyrics of “There's A Locked Up Safe” by The Lanes
Take your time to pass it by
Leave the loving left behind
With memories of a time
When everything was fine again
I know it feels like you're the only one
Who feels the pain
But your happiness still remains
 
In a locked up safe
Where your friends are free
In pubs that don't close
And the nights won't end
And you say you need me
For once
 
Take your time to pass it by
Don't forget to say goodbye
You'll regret it over time
When you’re missing everything you knew
It's getting harder to motivate myself
And getting up is still an issue
 
And there's a locked up safe
Where I'm feeling well
And no one really cares for any politics
And the nights don't end
And you say you need me
For once
 
'Cause I've been on this road for too long
Trying to find those reasons I know
But you made it harder for me
(You made it harder for me)
 
And take your time to pass it by
It happens all the time
 
And take your time to pass it by
Leave the loving left behind
With memories of a time
When everything was fine again
I know it feels like you're the only one
Who feels the pain
But your happiness still remains
 
In a locked up safe
Where I'm playing well
And the first team don't seem too far away
And the nights won't end
And I say I need you
For once

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

“How You Been” by Holy Holy – A Song Feature

 

     The songs share little else, but “How You Been” reminds us of the rhythm of “Shuffle” by Bombay Bicycle Club. The recently released single from Australia’s Holy Holy pauses the rhythm 52 seconds into the song and showcases their vocal skills. Then, at 2:37, “How You Been” features the guitar.
 
     The website of Holy Holy provides an interesting explanation of the single:
  “How You Been” incorporates Pop influences alongside a foundation of synth, programmed drums and percussion.  Tim Carroll and Oscar Dawson lean into their natural talents as storytellers, exploring life’s complexities through the lens of a broken heart.  Says Tim:
  “It has a lot of the hallmarks of what we do. At the core of it, it’s a classic Holy Holy song in the sense that there’s real storytelling. A character based, lyrical theme plays out. Then there’s Oscar’s emotive chord progressions that subtly influence the way you feel. They feed into the lyrics. You don’t realize why, but you’re listening to the song and certain emotions come up.”
 
      In addition to Tim and Oscar, the performances of Holy Holy include Ryan Strathie (drums), Graham Ritchie (bass), and Matt Redlich. Embedded in this post is “House of Cards,” which is the song that caused us to begin tracking the releases of Holy Holy.
 
     “How You Been” by Holy Holy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/holyholymusic
Website: http://holyholymusic.com/
 
Lyrics of “How You Been” by Holy Holy
How you been since you broke your heart?
Were you waiting for your blood to run again?
How you been since it all fell apart?
Are you finally where you should've been?
 
Did you see from the other side?
Was it raining on your windowpane?
Did you laugh when you were alone?
Did you feel like you could feel yourself again?
 
We could remember the life (Life, life, life, life)
We could be where it was bright (Lies, lies, lies, lies)
 
Then one day you wake
And you're you again
Then one day you wake
And you're you again
And you're you again
 
How you feeling since it all fell down?
Is it always just a little bit hard?
I was watching in the open crowd
And I felt like you were always on your guard
 
I could see the light came into you
I could see that you were only true
I could see that time was catching up
I could see your pain, soaking you like rain
 
We could remember the life (Life, life, life, life)
We could be where it was bright (Lies, lies, lies, lies)
 
Then one day you wake
And you're you again
Then one day you wake
And you're you again
And you're you again
 
(Waiting for the long night to be bright)
And if you fell, you would find that we were broken
(Waiting for the long night to be bright)
And it was always on time, we were broken
(Waiting for the long night to be bright)
And we would find that we would be there in the night
(To be bright, to be bright)
We were waiting, we were waiting
(Then one day you wake)
Waiting for the long night to be bright
Waiting for the long night to be bright
(Then one day you wake)
Waiting for the long night to be bright
To be bright, to be bright
 

      “Shuffle” by Bombay Bicycle Club

 
     “House of Cards” by Holy Holy

Friday, April 23, 2021

"If It Happens" by We Were Promised Jetpacks – A Song Feature

 

      The formula of “If It Happens” binds various elements into an attractive and cohesive whole. A layered guitar-driven crescendo highlights the 42-second intro of the single from We Were Promised Jetpacks. Then, the guitars give way to percussion and a strong bass line, as the song moves into a melodic mode and the vocals enter.
 
     “If It Happens” does not camouflage the origin of We Were Promised Jetpacks. The Scottish accent evidences the country of origin of the Edinburg band formed of Adam Thompson (vocals, guitar), Sean Smith (bass), and Darren Lackie (drums). The vocals are appealing, but the true nature of the band surfaces at 3:20, when the guitars again step to the front of the stage.

     The lyrics of "If It Happens" are included at the bottom of this post. The first two lines explain the song’s view on life – “If it happens, then it happens  / If it doesn't, then it doesn't.”
  Thompson said about the song:
  “I feel that ‘If It Happens’ expresses a lot about what I had been trying to get across to myself. It was all part of my new mindset of trying to be more positive about what I have and not always thinking about what I don’t. It’s about embracing the idea of happiness, doing what you can to encourage it and generally be a lot more ‘c’est la vie’ about everything. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. What can you do?”
 
     The picture at the top of the post was taken in San Francisco in 2014. The performance by We Were Promised Jetpacks was even better than expected.

     "If It Happens" by We Were Promised Jetpacks


Lyrics of "If It Happens" by We Were Promised Jetpacks
If it happens, then it happens
If it doesn't, then it doesn't
And I'm not going to lose any sleep about it
And I'm not going to feel any shame about it anymore
 
All I wanna do is get high and enjoy the view now I'm here
 
And all I wanna do is get high and enjoy that view
 
If I fall on my sword
Would you question why I'd fall in such a stupid spot
And I'm not gonna kick up a fuss about it
Cause you can't make me feel any worse about it than I do
 
All I ever wanted was a future
Somewhere to sit and paint a bigger picture
Somewhere to rest my head and face the music
And all I wanna do is get high and enjoy that view now I'm here
 
And all I wanna do is get high and enjoy the view
 
There's always another
Rung on the ladder
Let's hang on a minute and stay where we are
 
And all I wanna do is get high and enjoy the view
There's always another
Rung on the ladder
Let's hang on a minute and stay where we are

Thursday, April 22, 2021

“Sweeter” by Whiner– A Song Feature

     “Sweeter” showcases the appeal of contrasting attitudes in a musical composition. Depending upon your focus, the song from Whiner is enjoyably methodic, moody or adventuresome. It is the percussion that it methodical. Following a few seconds of establishing itself, the percussion settles into a persistent rhythm for much of the remainder of “Sweeter.” In contrast, the guitar is adventuresome, as it progresses through different demeanors that sometimes show themselves in Shoegaze and other times in clear, short notes. The moodiness is in the vocals, which are simultaneously melancholy and sultry.
 
     Adding to the attractiveness of “Sweeter,” the keys texture the sound and accentuate the different personalities. The bass seldom steps into the spotlight, but should not be underappreciated. Whiner is based in New Jersey. The members are Cameron J. Castan (vocalist), his bother Christian “Boon” Castan (guitar), Bridget Bakie (bass), Henry Heissenbuttel (keys), and Johnny Dynamite (drums).

     “Sweeter” is a single from the Whiner’s album “Peace Out Cruel World.” It speaks well of the album that different blogs have selected other tracks to feature from the collection of eight songs. The album can be streamed and purchased at the Bandcamp site https://whiner.bandcamp.com/     

     Quoting Whiner’s bio:
Steeped in the tradition of “not being able to do anything right”. Whiner is that band from New Jersey you love to hate. Dramatic rock n’ roll anthems about what it’s like when the depraved are let loose for a big night on the town. The dark lords of emotional pop are here to spill their drinks and hearts on the dance floor. Frontman Cameron J. Castan’s bleak operatic vocals equal parts Top 40 and Motown, are melancholically belted like its 1980. Younger brother Christian “Boon” commands the guitar with biting sound that dabbles in the best sounds from each side of the pond, think pixies meets brit pop. The futuristic keys and production of Henry Heissenbuttel add a blissed out hypnotic alternate reality of melody and texture. Asking the listener, what just happened? Rounded out on the rhythm section by hard hitting human drum machine and lost boy Johnny Dynamite and the tight tasteful disco punk bass grooves of refined Glam rocker Bridget Bakie.

     “Sweeter” by Whiner



Monday, April 19, 2021

“Wild Bill” by Opus Kink – A Song Feature

     “Wild Bill” pours nuances of the type that draw respect from music lovers who demand a certain level of sophistication into a vessel that is designed for the more-hedonistic fan. Truth is, we all include portions of both of those personalities. But in a concert setting, the dominant personality is the one that favors exhilaration over sophistication. With music venues reopening, the performance of “Wild Bill” by Opus Kink will be a universal-participation celebration, as the concert attendees join in the band shouts of the song’s title.
 
     Brighton-based Opus Kink looked to the American Wild West of the 1880s for lyrical inspiration. The song describes gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok as the man that you cannot kill. But subject matter is not the main means for separating “Wild Bill” from other high-energy Indie gems. The song is a genre bender/blender, with influences that can be arguably identified as Latin, Afro, Gypsy, Jazz, Punk, and Funk. The rhythm section is invigorating, the horn section is extraordinary, and the band shouts are inviting.
 
     “Wild Bill” was released on Nice Swan Records. Opus Kink is a six-member band comprised of Angus Rogers (vocals, guitar), Sam Abbo (bass), Fin Abbo (drums), Jazz Pope (keys, synth), Johny Giles (trumpet), and Jed Morgans (alto saxophone). Quoting the promotional material, “Wild Bill” takes the frontier lawman-gunslinger Wild Bill Hickock and ungraciously twists him into a poster boy for the Western gentleman’s assault on God, death, judgement, nature, women and foreigners.”
 
     “Wild Bill” by Opus Kink


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

“Not Dead Yet” by Lord Huron – A Song Feature


      Lord Huron are releasing singles that are destined for their fourth full-length album, “Long Lost.” The album will be available on May 21. Thankfully, the early entries show that the LA-based band continues to embrace its signature sound. Their sound features warm, welcoming vocals and guitars that blend Folk and Rock. As a result, the music of Lord Huron has worked into many television shows, as well as movies.
 
     The intro of “Not Dead Yet” is a combination of gentle acoustic guitar and Theremin-like electric guitar. When the vocals arrive, the rhythm takes an attractive approach that is similar to the feel of a consistently progressing train. The lead and backing voices are soothing, but not the lyrics, “It's hard to make friends when you're half in the grave // But I ain't dead yet // And I've got something to say,” which is followed by an Elvis-esque “Uh-huh-huh.” Later, the guitar and bass control “Not Dead Yet.” It’s this combination of dissimilar contributions that make it likely that the song will join the many other Lord Huron songs that withstand the test of time.
 
     Lord Huron are a Los Angeles-based band comprising Ben Schneider (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Mark Barry (percussion, vocals), Miguel BriseƱo (bass, keys), and Tom Renaud (guitar, vocals). From a personal perspective, they played a major part in the dream sports/music combination. After attending a 2012 World Series game in which an SF Giant (Sandoval) hit three homeruns, we immediately headed for our favorite small venue to see Lord Huron. Frontman Ben Schneider noted that he was a fan of the Giants’ opponent, because as a Michigan native, he still follows the Detroit Tiger. But the band’s performance was not affected.
 
    The second single from the upcoming album is “Mine Forever.” Interestingly, the song includes guitar that a suitable for a Spaghetti Western.

       “Not Dead Yet” by Lord Huron


     The song and music video arrived in tandem with the second installment of their four-part series - Alive From Whispering Pines.
    During its first episode, viewers were introduced to Mr. Tubbs Tarbell, fell under the spell of commercials that may very well be lost tapes from the past, and were treated to some incredible performances by Lord Huron. The band played some old songs including “Meet Me In The Woods” (view video here) and provided a sneak peak at some new songs. The episode also featured a hotline where fans could call in and ask Mr. Tarbell questions and request songs from the band for Episode 2. Last night’s performance included some fan favorites and even an unreleased song called “Mine Forever.”

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lordhuron
Website: https://www.lordhuron.com/
 
Lyrics of “Not Dead Yet” by Lord Huron
All messed up with nowhere to go
I stare at myself in the mirror alone
It's hard to make friends when you're half in the grave
But I ain't dead yet
And I've got something to say
Uh-huh-huh.  Yeah
 
You got holes in your clothes
Booze on your breath
You look like hell
And you smell like death
Uh-huh-huh. 
 
There's a stranger in my eyes again
I swear to God I don't know him
You're tired of me
I'm tired of you
So turn around and leave it to myself
Uh-huh-huh. Yeah
 
You got holes in your clothes
And booze on your breath
You look like hell
And you smell like death
Uh-huh-huh. 
 
I've been out way too long
Heading right for the edge
If she asks about me
Tell her I'm not dead yet
 
You got holes in your clothes
Booze on your breath
You look like hell
And you smell like death
Uh-huh-huh. 

     “Mine Forever” by Lord Huron



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

“Into the Blue” by The Joy Formidable – A Song Feature

      Welsh Rock trio The Joy Formidable showcase their versatility with the release of “Into the Blue.” At times, the single features the vocals of Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan with equal parts of seductiveness and vulnerability. But there are also segments of power Rock. As an example, at the 2:26 mark, the thunderous combination of instruments abruptly ends to clear the path for the more melodic presentation of the next verse.
 
     The members of The Joy Formidable are Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, vocals) and Matthew James Thomas (percussion). It is Dafydd’s voice that is featured during the verse that begins at 1:09 of “Into the Blue.” In an explanation of the single, Bryan said:
   “‘Into the Blue’ is about surrendering to love and magic. Having the courage to enjoy a new journey and the mystery and excitement of something unexpected. It’s about opening your eyes to beauty and love again. Making it to the other side. Whilst not conceived as a metaphor for the times we all live in now, it certainly turned out that way.”
 
     The Joy Formidable will always be tied to a favorite live performance of Indie Obsessive. The first festival the staff attended together was 2011 Outside Lands (even before the blog began). The Joy Formidable put together a strong setlist that ended with “Whirring.” Before the start of that final song, the band announced that they were returning to Wales and had no intention of carrying their instruments. The song culminated with activity that was reminiscent of The Who and their emphatic destruction of instruments. Like The Who, a motivating factor was showmanship, but it didn’t matter to any of the attendees at Outside Lands.
 
     The Joy Formidable now have ties to Utah. “Into the Blue” was written in North Wales and completed at their homes in Utah. Hopefully this will lead to more U.S. performances when venues safely reopen.

     “Into the Blue” by The Joy Formidable

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thejoyformidable
Website: https://www.thejoyformidable.com/
Streaming options: Streaming links

Regarding the video, Ritzy Bryan said:
 “I am always daydreaming in the bathtub between recordings. That diffuse thinking where your mind wanders freely - I always finish songs when I’m in that state. The idea that your imagination, that escape into another, deeper world can sometimes create a stronger connection with yourself.”


Lyrics of “Into The Blue” by The Joy Formidable
You see me
For what I am
I don't have to guess anymore
That slow doubt
That won't speak up
Gets just enough then withdraws
 
Cause things go bad
But it's real and there
Better than slowly emptying me
Into the blue
Into the blue once again
 
Just one big wave
Just one big wave
Just one big wave
 
When I watch you
From across the way
Everything's still until I hold you again
Just that moment of being attached
Let it split you in two
 
Cause I'll be here
Inside outside
Grateful that we at least felt something
We went into the blue
Into the blue once again
 
Cause now I see this place was here all along
The more it changed shape
You pull it close
Please pull me closer
Don't fear the move out of the past
Let time take your hand and guide you
It's time to move
Into the blue once again
 
I know it's rare
When you tremble again
Remember what others have lost
Go back to the place that we won't go again
Did I make the most of it before?
I go back to the place that we won't go again
To live it over and over
Into the blue
Into the blue once again
 
Just one big wave
Just one big wave
Just one big wave
 
Don't fear the move out of the past
Let time take your hand and guide you
Into the blue
Into the blue
Into the, into the outside without you

Friday, April 2, 2021

“There Must Be So Much More” by Pink Turns Blue - A Song Feature


     The single begins with a hook that is the functional equivalent of fanfare, as it announces the entrance of a song that is regal in its role as a swirling, surly anthem. “There Must Be So Much More” is a warning to avoid complacency and promotional materials note that it is an urgent call to refine oneself and make the world a better place. But to listeners, it is so much more.

     The song from Germany’s Pink Turns Blue is a reminder of why the guitar (bass and lead) will always rule the Rock universe. “There Must Be So Much More” isn’t a guitar-driven single until its final 75 seconds, but the instrument is the feature that sets the song apart from others that are destined to be in “Best or 2021” setlists at the end of this year. The hook that begins the single resurfaces periodically, including during the guitar-layered conclusion.

     Still, there is so much more. The vocals are appealing and the piano that initiates the bridge at 2:37 is attention-grabbing. Pink Turns Blue are from Germany and have a sound that is a fusion of New Wave, Post-Punk and Dark Guitar Wave. The members are Mic Jogwer (vocals, guitar), Reubi Walter (bass, keyboards), and Paul Richter (drums). The band’s first album was released in 1987.

     “There Must Be So Much More” by Pink Turns Blue



Lyrics of “There Must Be So Much More” by Pink Turns Blue
Your smile can cure me
Your kiss can heal me
So give it a try now
Come on
 
You wanna be careful
It’s so important
Ya need be friends again
With you
 
So stop being cross now
And stop all fighting
Been sad for so long now
So long
 
We need to have faith in us
We need to be good to us
Cause love is so precious
To me
 
There must be so much more
There must be so much more
 
So clear with hindsight
So easy inside
But often we’re sorry
Again
 
Do better next time
If there’s a next time
We catch our fall
So come on
 
There must be so much more
So much more
There must be so much more
So much more
There must be so much more
 
You’ve caught me all naked
You’ve caught me all naked
[Repeating]
There must be so much more
[Repeating]