Archive for the ‘Alternative’ Category

Martha Zed’s debut – Cat Song

Posted: September 21, 2022 by Kat Meow in Alternative, Indie, Martha Zed, Rock

First off, let’s start with the fact that Martha Zed is an absolutely bangin’ grunge rock name.  It’s earnest but still has that rock and roll purr, much like “Cat Song,” Zed’s debut tune.  This track is ice cream and hot fudge alt-rock, a classic slacker rhythm with cutie pie vocals.  The wailing guitar at the end is the cherry on top.  This song is dedicated to the greatest love story ever told – a human and their sweetie baby murder floof.  It’s all love, and this love is one you’ll want to gobble up over and over.  Check it out.

Martha Zed BandcampMartha Zed InstagramMartha Zed Website

Les Cooper knows how to set the mood. Hailing from the Toronto area, this multi-instrumentalist and producer has a long history of orchestrating ambivances through working with musicians, symphonies, and television shows. With his new release Noise, Cooper uses his decades of skills to paint portraits of uncertainty. Gentle but tinkling rhythms and a solid emotional core make Noise a really flavorful listen.

Noise starts with “Stranger,” a tune that gets a little deeper under my skin with each play. The album’s second track, “Noise,” shimmies with a bossa-nova flavor and hummingbird vocals of Caroline Marie Brooks. Despite its anxious lyrics, it vibes more like abandoning Saturday evening plans for Hulu rather than braving the outside world. It ends up being a standout track, the most upbeat of the bunch, and the one with the “date night with the boo” flavor. It’s also a great showcase of Cooper’s vocals, which are warm with a touch of elevating rasp.

Gorgeous video for Best Of You by Anne Douris

“Best of You” is a thoughtful nodder about being stuck under the weight of others’ good intentions, when the world, even at its best, can be smothering. “And the world pulls you ’round/and the sky pulls you down to the ground,” Cooper illustrates, that illustrates powerlessness to one’s routines. Further, “Keep It Down” seems like an answer to “Noise,” like the far end of a relationship when curling up doesn’t seem like the safe place it used to be. Cooper conveys that sense of and tension isolation in his lyrics. It rolls with a country melancholy played on something with a bow (“cinematic strings” he calls them in a blurb). Together, these three songs seem to (in my mind) illustrate the conflict of whether internal spaces are fences or prison walls, or perhaps a bit of both.

Noise is a great record for lovers of acoustic guitar sounds with not-too-much electrical diddling. It’s just so carefully put together that it’ll draw you in and trap you. I get flavors of Massive Attack and later-years Talk Talk. Check it out.

Noise LPLes Cooper WebsiteLes Cooper Instagram

Trying to write while neck deep in the grind means sometimes good tunes fall through the cracks. Here I’m going to offer my inbox some relief while sharing worthy musical goodness with you lovable clickers. Five tunes not to miss coming right up!

Opeongo – tragedy

Artwork by Patrick Decourcy

Opeongo’s voice is so uniquely clear that it paints “tragedy” in bold colors.  His tone is sweet and vaguely nasal that it feels like Steve Harley, making “tragedy” feel very glam. It nods so good and demands your attention.  The lyrics tell a grim story of Canadian-indigenous genocide, but end in the potential for hope as voices like Opeongo’s try and remember history so it never repeats.  It’s gorgeous and sorrowful, and that voice will stick to you.

Listen to “tragedy”Opeongo FacebookOpeongo Bandcamp

Down With Space – We Were Strangers

“We Were Strangers” has a post-punk drum flavor and an electro agenda.  The chorus has that kind of foot-stomping energy that is completely magnetic.  The result is a pop tension that feels a lot like 1am with four drinks in the gullet, about to make a very exciting bad decision.  Vaguely nostalgic, exacerbated by the video’s visuals as the viewer perpetually leaves everything behind. There’s just something about that combination of tones that is so compelling.

We Were Strangers VideoDown With Space InstagramDown With Space Bandcamp

Lydia Persaud – Good For Us

Soulful, smooth, and cool as hell, Lydia Persaud’s “Good For Us” is the flavor of self-care and new clarity. Simple rhythm and delicate guitar let Persaud’s voice wash over and cleanse the soul as she sings the praises of time away from one’s lover. The video sees Persaud smudging away the bad vibes and spending some much-needed personal time with her besties. Send the other half out for groceries and roll out the bath bombs to melt into this one.

Good For Us VideoLydia Persaud InstagramLydia Persaud Bandcamp

John Orpheus – House of Cards (Radiohead Cover)

It’s hard to top an original, but John Orpheus gives and old favorite new breath in his Afro-pop cover of Radiohead’s “House of Cards.” Capitalizing on the original’s minimalist percussion, Orpheus adds delicate Caribbean rhythm that gives the song a new optimism. His vocals feel a bit like Phil Collins at moments. Refreshingly honest, video director Patrick Hodgson illustrates the tune with images of real couples in love, from the joyful to the mildly erotic, which capture the (often underrepresented) love shared in a long-term relationships.

House Of Cards by John Orpheus VideoJohn Orpheus InstagramJohn Orpheus Bandcamp

Agath Christ – Blood

It starts like a post-punk electro tune until the beat takes on this off-kilter syncopation that rests on the border between darkwave and electro jazz, if there is one. Noisy and tense, “Blood” is trying desperately to break through the weighted chains of our algorithmic technological oppression. “Blood” is visceral, and stressful, and so very easy to connect with if you’ve ever felt overburdened by the world as it has been engineered. Visuals show (what I interpret as) sufferers escaping their homes to find the last vestige of land free from the looming pressures of technocracy, only able to find rest by laying in the woods in snow. I get it – screens can start to feel like prison walls. Engage with this one.

Blood VideoAgath Christ InstagramAgath Christ Bandcamp

Try ’em out! Let me know what you think in the comments or hit us up on Instagram.

Finally! After years of wait, our own Soda Survive has finally brought his newest project into the daylight. Coventry Carols is a reunion of (e)motion picture’s Soda and drummer Terry Taylor, along with bassist Clifford “Sugarbear” Catropa. Together, the trio have emerged victorious from their first gig in nearby Connecticut, and have released their premiere track “The Well,” due to hit virtual airwaves on Friday (but purchasable from bandcamp at this very moment).

“The Well” is a alt-rock bopper, or as was recently noted during an interview on Bitten Apple TV, “a 90s throwback to the future.” The Well starts with a jaunty guitar riff over Terry’s tip-taps, that sound much like a rock-and-roll kid’s jaunt in a playground. Soda’s vocals come in, bringing in a little Billy Corgan flavor along with the lyrics that make me wonder if “The Well” is a metaphor for the darkness of the pandemic (Will we ever see the light again?/These times they are so cruel). Alternatively they might reference Soda’s recent years of medical challenges, a well from which he has emerged victorious. All in all, The Well is a 90s-ey, garage-y, grunge-y rock tune that will woo a few of the emo kids to boot.

The well single has four tracks, including an instrumental, and a remix by Coventry Carols album producer Joey Zampella (Life of Agony). Long Island can find Coventry Carols playing at Mr. Beery’s at the end of the month. Keep an eye open for their forthcoming cassette and CD, too – Coventry Carols has just joined the roster at Rescord!

coventrycarols.com

Coventry Carols on Bandcamp

The Magus due out March 4th

This mustachioed magician’s new EP has left me spellbound. Peter Cat (Cat Cat) is the mostly solo project of Graham Neil Gillespie, the dapper “sophisti-popster” behind glam-o-rama hit The Saccharine Underground. Peter Cat brings his brand of wry humor and introspection to a new four track EP, entitled The Magus. I was lucky enough to get to listen to the whole shebang before release and it is fan-flipping-tastic.

It starts with “Blue Raspberry,” the second single off the EP. It’s got a dreamy surreal quality over the beat, meant to illustrate the song’s theme of projecting a fantasy and expecting it to be real. The lyrics start with a touch of meta humor and end in a melancholy that I found really easy to connect with. “Blue Raspberry” sets the tone for the rest of the EP in that The Magus balances introspection and darkness with wit and rhythm throughout the four tracks. For every chuckle, there’s an equal tug at the heart. But for every earnest admission, there’s a knife twist, too.

If Peter Cat played Skyrim…

Track two, called “The Magus” (named for the John Fowles novel) is the inspiration for the characterization you’ll hear in this song’s Billie Eilish-adjacent sprechgesang. Here, Gillespie is taking on the role of the magician as he welcomes you to his show, where he plays with both the heads and the hearts of his victims. It grows atmospheric and tense before exploding into delicious baroque pop.

The EP’s biggest star is also its first single – “Melon Dating Simulator.” It is an instant head-bopper with an absurd twist. Again, the speaker is willing to skewer himself for his bad behaviors, but now he has found his other half in the form of fruit, inspired by Gillespie playing (and having high praise for) a dating simulation game called Superstorm Melon Date. Insert a series of puns and a vaguely dystopian atmosphere, and this one is a certified earworm. Listen for the one off-beat Meyers-Briggs joke that makes me cackle every time I hear it. It’s so very sing-able that I have subjected it to dozens of people in my day job who are forced to listen to me (to which I respond “yer welcome.”

Closer “Disappearing Act,” starts with a piano cabaret-type tune that illustrates when the singer is reasoning with a lover versus narrating his actual intentions. It lends itself so beautifully to a theatrical visual (in my mind), complete with 2d urban backdrops backdrops and the depressing glow of a street lamp. The main character is revealed to be just another manipulative bottom-feeder of relationships, who gloats out the side of his mouth about how he patronizes his lovers so he never has to face himself. Behind it reveals the emptiness that causes such a chasm where a decent man would otherwise be. The piano grows moodier as it takes on more finality and the EP is carried to an end.

All in all, it feels like a piece of theater, lends itself to fun mental visuals, and carries an EP-long narrative if you look for it. I keep being struck about my own willingness to empathize with the character speaking in these songs even though it would be misery to be in a relationship with that kind of person. It all makes my brain go tingle, and that makes me happy.

This EP is not to be missed. Peter Cat play shows around Glasgow so definitely check ’em out if you’re lucky enough to be in Europe. I would love to hear how these tunes sound live, but alas, I live across an ocean from where they play, so let’s cross our fingers and hope for a stateside visit one day. The Magus comes out on March 4th – GO GET IT!

I also got the chance to have a brief 1-on-1 with the man himself. We will have that up for you soon!

Peter Cat Cat Cat Instagram

Peter Cat’s Bandcamp

Peter Cat’s Official Website

Les Cooper Himself

Les Cooper a Toronto’ based producer, mixer, multi-instrumentalist, JUNO award winner, and very cool name haver, has released his debut single, “Stranger.” It starts with buzzy tones before Les’s haunting vocal slides into consciousness. Layers upon layers of swirling instrumentation weave through Cooper’s mellow voice. The speaker of the song seems to carry a very intense and public hurt as it tells the pain of feeling left behind after someone else’s success: Everyone will say that you’re the one that shook them up/the one that tore them down. There is a sense of the speaker struggling through this rawness as they encounter this person’s exploits in other places: Everyone may write about the things you did, the lies you told, the hearts you broke. I get the sense that the hurt may be public, but the speaker feels quite invisible, like they’re the one becoming a stranger. It’s a good atmospheric mellow. I wonder what he’ll come up with next.

Listen to “Stranger” on your preferred platform

Les Cooper Instagram

Fresh face Smudgeout, also known as 19 year-old Deanna Fielding, delivers a driving rock track called “Cheap Jewelry.” Smudgeout tells us her frustration with crass consumption and the fashion industry’s stranglehold on people’s wallets and minds. Driving guitars and contralto vocals make me think she’s got shades of Florence sans the Machine in there. But she’s got that punk energy and anti-consumerist ethos for those of us sick of the mindless cycle of buy-break-discard-buy that comes from ugly fashion practices. This song has gotten some brain-replays, a sure sign of a keeper. Enjoy!

Check out Cheap Jewelry on Spotify

More Smudgeout from her website: http://www.smudgeout.com/

A big thanks to my buddy Soda for giving me the space to share some tunes with you!

Thumpasaurus greeted the world with their 2018 sensation “Mental Karate,” and now the rest of us will have to spend our lives scouring eBay for hard copies of their brash debut, Book of Thump. Now they’re back with their sophomore effort Thumpaverse, a flavor bomb of dance, punk, funk, and jazz that has Spotify addicted to their sound.

Thumpaverse’s twelve tracks are a journey.  The album opens with “Emotional Pain,” a building tidal wave of funk that hits the peak of falsetto tension before slamming you against the beat.  From there it’s like you’re listening to rest of the album through your hips. Try to stay still when songs like “I’m Pissed” and “Struttin’” cross your eardrums.  These tracks are guaranteed to get your body shakin’ at maximum wiggle and laughing at their ridiculous setups.  But this is not a one-note band – they bob and weave through musical genres with equal parts appreciation and irreverence. Vocalist/Guitarist Lucas Tamaren gives every song a whole different persona. There are no two songs on this album that sound alike, and yet they all THUMP.

These guys are eclectic and often swing in unpredictable directions.  Zeppelin reminiscent “Reaching” weaves delicate instrumentations and tense vocals through a journey until the song literally gives birth to itself. But they can also swing in the entire opposite direction and deliver something folky and sweet like “High School.” Somewhere behind the beat and humor is a kind of emotional self-awareness that can sneak up on you after a few listens, like in “Emotional Pain” or auditory hug “End of the Night.”

Thumpasaurus is a band that is at home in the cosmos (by way of Los Angeles).  But a real ride on the Space Barn can only happen when you see them live.  Fortunately, they recently recorded a live album, an exciting development we hope to see soon.

Buy Thumpaverse on Bandcamp

Thumpasaurus.com

Instagram

Pinc Wafer – New Single “0%”

Posted: January 12, 2022 by Kat Meow in Alternative, Glasgow, Pinc Wafer, Pop

Glasgow artist Pinc Wafer’s newest track, his first since his dreamy Needed EP, is a crisp lo-fi constitutional through the struggles of managing a relationship through problematic drinking. Not unlike a good brandy, “0%” wraps you in its smoothness, but finds a moment midway to add a little gravity to the groove. It’s a worthy track for your chillout playlist.

0% by Pinc Wafer on Bandcamp

Pinc Wafer on Soundcloud

Pinc Wafer on Youtube

Last Friday I decided to do somewhat of a reissue of my old band, Violet Daydream’s album, Meow as a Bandcamp exclusive digital only release. I can absolutely go on and on about this record because it is certainly one that changed my life. So, why an EDITED reissue of all things? Well, for a number of reasons. First, as a music nerd, I personally love when bands do this kinda stuff. If I dig a band I’ll take any and every version of whatever I can get. It’s just part of the universe that’s created. Second, this version of the album was never commercially available ever before. This features the clean edits of “Taste” and “Sucker” and a radio edit of “A Certain Chemical” with a bonus track remix of “Taste” by our bass player. It cuts out all of the untitled/noise tracks that were sprinkled throughout the original release. And, if you want to get into the very fine details I even shortened the title of “Through A Forest, Up a Hill, Into a Dark Room” to just, “Through A Forest…” The whole point of an edited version initially was to better promote the album to radio and stores due to some of the language and some song lengths. Finally, the color of the cover was altered and includes “Edited Version” stamped across the front. Ultimately it makes the record, dare I say, more commercially viable. To me this. is. not. a. compromise. But rather a step up in artists development and maturity for myself personally. It also had a bit of a remaster by Tyler Green at Tyler Green Sound Services and has never sounded so loud, which is great. I do have more plans for VD music in the future which would be the absolute final offering I could muster up from this era. And third, well, I just wanted to! The band is long gone and we left behind two records (I did try for a reunion a time or two). Our shows were really noisy, raw and gritty and fairly dangerous. It was a great time. There are many stories that can be told about this time period in my music making and creating history. Many memories and stories. Some I’m quite sure you wouldn’t believe. Many people said we were just “too early”, in fact, that was probably said the most out of anything. We were just a trio of weird kids from Long Island that shook my house with our noise on a weekly basis (my Ma was a saint) and in the end learned a hard and shocking lesson about the music “industry” which in turn spelled the end of the band. But these are all stories for another time.

P.S.- After VD: I haven’t stopped creating, it’s been quite an adventure. Mike went on to play with me in ABCSoda and His Mighty Robot, he’s quite a wonderful musician. He now plays in Graces Of Chaos and Blockhead. The drummer, Leo, I don’t know much about.

https://officialsoda.bandcamp.com/album/meow-edited-version

https://officialsoda.bandcamp.com/music