Wednesday, September 29, 2021

“Sentimental” by GRAACE – A Song Feature

     GRAACE reveals honesty and courage by exposing her vulnerabilities within her songs. That is particularly true for “Sentimental,” a song she describes as a letter to her past self. The lyrics are included at the bottom of this post.
      The intro to “Sentimental” is an electric guitar on an atmospheric foundation. The choice of an electric guitar is interesting, since most “confessional” singles opt for an acoustic guitar. Soon, the instruments are joined by the voice of GRAACE, which is the performance name of Sydney-based vocalist/songwriter Grace Pitts. Her vocal approach is well tailored for the vulnerability of the song, then becomes spectacular during times of harmonic layering (first heard at 0:49).
     While explaining her single, GRAACE said:
   “I wrote 'Sentimental' as a letter to my past self. I've spent the past two years hibernating from most people, moving on from my old life and growing up. I needed to break out of the mental jail that I put myself in: accept my flaws, not give up on myself, and permit myself to grow. For years I felt so lost in old memories, wishing I could go back to how things were, who I used to be and change the narratives. It detached me from reality. I had turned into a disassociating zombie. I had to fall apart into a crippling depression to feel my past, learn from the mistakes and allow myself to grow into a new person with no opinions of what I should be beside the mirror. Once I forgave myself and others for mistakes and our pasts, I grew closer with people and suddenly felt freedom for the first time in years. I'm always going to be a sentimental person, but the biggest thing I've learnt from my early 20's is that memories are just lessons for the future.”
     GRAACE was introduced to the Indie universe in 2017, when she co-wrote and was featured in Hayden James' "Numb.” Riding high from the success of “Numb,” in 2018 GRAACE released her "Self-Sabotage" EP, which has amassed 40 million streams to date. But her inspiration occurred earlier in her life. She lost her father when she was only 14. She turned to music as a form of therapy. “It was the one thing that gave me purpose,” she recalls. "I think it’s kind of beautiful to finally be able to write about it; to move on and grow.”
     “Sentimental” by GRAACE

Lyrics of “Sentimental” by GRAACE
Give me a reason
And I swear I’ll stay
I’ll forget the memories
And all your mistakes
So, I’ll wait
I’ll wait
Through all of your phases
And all your bad days
You’re too sentimental
For your own good, Babe
Oh, I’ll wait
I’ll wait
I’ll wait
Is this how the future’s supposed to be?
Seeing it, I’ve got this sinking feelin’
I’ll wait for the right time to tell you
Your stubbornness won’t help your issues
Come here baby, I’ll hold you tightly
Let’s get lost with each other, blindly
Was flipping through faces in every place
Hoping I’d find someone to keep me safe
I was so hard to love in every phase
So trust me when I say I won’t run away
Is this how the future supposed to be?
Seeing it, I’ve got this sinking feelin’
I’ll wait for the right time to tell you
Your stubbornness won’t help your issues
Come here baby, I’ll hold you tightly
Let’s get lost with each other, blindly
Oooh I’ll wait
I’ll wait
You’re too sentimental
For your own good, Babe

Thursday, September 23, 2021

“Brother” by No Money Kids – A Song Feature

      Banjo samples, Black Keys-esque sensibilities, and a song title that is inexplicably one of our favorites. What is not to like about “Brother” from No Money Kids? They are the duo of Félix Matschulat and JM Pelatan from Paris, France. They describe themselves as “Indie-Rock / Electro-Blues / Lo-Fi.”

     “Brother” by No Money Kids

Monday, September 13, 2021

“Breakaway” by The Replicants – A Song Feature


     “Breakaway” delivers a three-part, emotion-filled single that is progressively more powerful. For the first minute, the song from The Replicants bears the characteristics of a single/songwriter release with an emphasize on a gently played acoustic guitar. The lyrics have the feel of being directed to a young daughter who is having sleep difficulties because her father is troubled with thoughts of a lost love.

      The second part is introduced by emphatic percussion and by a guitar with the tonal richness of a 12-string. Layered vocals also increase the richness, relative to the first minute. The passion is dialed up as well. The final part begins when the strings receive attention at 3:35. This portion has a 1970’s feel, particularly the band Kansas and its use of the violin.

      The Replicants are signed to Number Vun Records and are produced by the production team Vortex Music. According to the Vortex Music webpage, “The Replicants are a Belgian/American band consisting of members Ingstar and Skeelo. Their musical influences range from Singer/songwriter to Alt Pop, Modern Folk and Indie Rock, with a little Scandinavian Folk Dance for good measure.”

     While we don’t agree with their assessment of the prospects for upcoming success, we enjoy the statement by The Replicants: “We like composing and playing music that we are really passionate about. Unfortunately, this is probably not going to get us out of our mother’s basement. Actually, it’s not that bad down here...”

     “Breakaway” by The Replicants

Friday, September 10, 2021

“Union Station” by Irish Basement – A Song Feature


     Currently, it is fair to describe Irish Basement as minimalist, but only with respect to its internet footprint. The content on the website and Facebook page of the project isn’t helpful in researching the identity of Irish Basement. However, Spotify tells us “Irish Basement is the solo project of Washington, DC-based writer and producer Mike Toohey.”
     The debut single of Irish Basement is “Union Station.” The entire song is praiseworthy, but it shines particularly bright during the guitar-driven bridge that begins at 1:49. In its description of the single, Irish Basement says:
   "Union Station" explores the concepts of love, loss, and nostalgia over a sparkling soundscape of C86-esque chorus-soaked guitar riffs, Juno synth pads, and a driving LinnDrum beat.
     We had to look up the term “C86.” The detailed Wikipedia explanation is available at Briefly, C86 is used to identify a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures.
     “Union Station” by Irish Basement 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Heartfelt Folk - Arts Fishing Club, Brother Castor, and Unknown Neighbour


      Arts Fishing Club gives a nod to Bob Dylan, then provides an update – “Cause the times they are changing, and they always will.” In their song ““With Us All,” the Nashville-based band asks parents to open their hearts when they become aware that the sexual orientation of their child does not fit their narrative. Vocalist Christopher Kessenich explained:

   “There was a week in which three separate friends detailed an eerily similar story about how their respective parents had at one point disowned them because of their sexual orientation. My heart broke more with each conversation, and I wrote the first version of the song with a lot of anger towards the bigotry, racism, and religious shame present in our society. However, it felt like I wrote a ‘holier than thou’ song, and I sure as hell ain’t a saint. I asked myself, ‘How do I draw hard lines against the behaviors I don’t agree with, without attacking the humanity of those caught up in the behaviors?’ ‘With Us All’ is my attempt at that.”

     The members of Arts Fishing Club are Brian Kempson (drums), Christopher Kessenich (vocals, guitar), Jimi Greene (guitar), Peter Eddins (keyboards), Rhees Williams (bass).

     “With Us All” by Arts Fishing Club

Lyrics of “With Us All” by Arts Fishing Club
Come all you parents open your heads
It’s time you heard your children
Cause the times they are changing and they always will
So forget what you know and listen
Come all you fathers soften your hearts
No it’s not your fault your fathers never opened up
But you don’t have to live like them
Look your boy in eye and say you love him
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love with us all
With us all
All us religions it’s ok we can settle down
Cause there’s no love in the shame we put out
Heaven ain’t about being right or wrong
It’s about tearing the pain away from us all
And everyone afraid to open their eyes
To call out the truth in our ancestor’s lies
All us racists, and sexists, and anti-gays
All of us drowning in all of our hate
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love with us all
With us all
I got one last message for the darkness, Allah, or God
If a man can’t love a man, I don’t really care to belong
Cause my friends are lovers and I love them
If you send them to hell, you better burn me with
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love with us all
With us all
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love
Oh I’m in love with us all
With us all

     Brother Castor is the performance name of songwriter and producer Joshua Taylor. He is based in Northumberlan, UK. His single “Crown N' All” is described as a driving Indie Folk song with an intimate vocal intro and big build, a la early Dermot Kennedy or Foy Vance, with elements of Hozier-style Roots Rock in the crescendo and big gang backing vocals.

     “Crown N' All” by Brother Castor

     Unknown Neighbour is the performance name of German singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sascha Zemke. Unknown Neighbour often includes a female vocalist in his songs; happily that includes “Greater Heights.”

     “Greater Heights” by Unknown Neighbour

Monday, September 6, 2021

San Francisco. Bay Area Artists

      2021 has been an important year for artists who are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We recently sang the praises of releases from The Bins and Decent Docents. This post features other 2021 releases that we recommend.

     EllaHarp is the performance name of Ella Dawn Jenkins. She is a harpist, vocalist and songwriter based in Half Moon Bay. She notes, "Happy sounding song that's really not that happy. Played on a one of a kind harp I designed to fit in an airplane overhead bin.”

     “Sunshine and Roses”


     Their press content describes TREASVRE  as five San Francisco Bay Area natives who blend elements of post-rock and shoegaze with rich synth textures, heavy guitar riffs, and electronic rhythms. The members are Sabrina Simonton (synths, vocals), Sam Peña (bass, vocals), Julian Balestrieri (guitar), Jason Zaru (guitar), and Evan Dulaney (drums, synths). 

     "Scarlet Mark" by TREASVRE

          Deafheaven formed in San Francisco in 2010. The current members are George Clarke (vocals), Kerry McCoy (guitar, bass), Daniel Tracy (drums), Shiv Mehra (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Chris Johnson (bass, backing vocals).
     “Infinite Granite by Deafheaven“Infinite Granite" by Deafheaven 


      No Vacation claims a duo presence of San Francisco and Brooklyn, They are Sabrina Mai, Marisa Saunders, Nat Lee, and Harrison Spencer.

     “Waltzing Back” by No Vacation (The Cranberries cover)

     In talking about her song “Stand Clear,” Isabella Rosetta said, “This was one of those songs that took me ages to finish because I didn't know what it was supposed to mean, yet. The ending chorus is my favorite part- submerge your senses into this Pacific Highway tune best served at sunset.”
      “Stand Clear” by Isabella Rosetta

     Elliott Ok is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist in Santa Cruz. In “72,” the harmony is particularly appealing and the handoff from the acoustic guitar to the electric is particularly praiseworthy.
     “72” by Elliott Ok


     The Hot Takes are based in Oakland. They describe their music as “drawing on the sounds of anthemic 70s punk and neon-drenched 80s new wave.” The members are Chad Roxxit (drums), Jared Savas (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Kyle Smith (guitar, synthesizer), and Dan Wade (bass, vocals).

     “Hallelujah Superstar” by The Hot Takes


     Geographer is based in LA, but was formed in San Francisco. The band has changed over the year, and is now established as the moniker of Mike Deni, who describes his sound as “soulful music from outer space” using analog, electronic, and acoustic elements to craft dense layers and unique sound textures.

     “Never Let You Down” by Geographer

Thursday, September 2, 2021

“Alive” by murmurmur – A Song Feature


     “Alive” shows instant acceleration and reveals very few signs of letup. The song from murmurmur should be a favorite for those who favor guitar drive; but that statement should not read as evidence that we underappreciate the role of the percussion.
     There is an urgency and a sense of progress to “Alive.” The vocals are somewhat “distanced,” but not Dream vocals. Still, the focus is on the instrumentation. murmurmur  is based in Melbourne, Australia. The members are Will Fletcher (vocals, guitar), Alex Crosara (guitar), Jack Davies (bass), and Luke Haaja (drums). murmurmur’s EP, “Moving Objects,” is scheduled for release on November 25 on PIAS Australia and Inertia.
     “Alive” by murmurmur