Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

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 already gathered over 100,000 album streams on Spotify.

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

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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

WHERE RETRO MEETS NOUVEAU – CALIFORNIA BAY AREA BAND THE JENNY THING RETURNS WITH AMERICAN CANYON, A HAUNTING EIGHT SONG ALBUM THAT PLAYS LIKE A SWEEPING FILM SOUNDTRACK – STREET DATE JUNE 18

The original quartet showcases a modern approach to the New Wave sounds that made them San Francisco Bay Area favorites in the 90s.

BERKELEY, California — The Jenny Thing came together on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1991 when singer/guitarist Matt Easton met guitarist Shyam Rao. Matt and drummer Mike Phillipshad grown up together, and both had been friends with bass player Ehren Becker since junior high. “It took most of freshman year in college before I noticed Shyam had a guitar under his dorm room bed,” Easton recalled. “Turned out he was good, and he knew how to put a demo together. I was a serious pianist and could sing but had little songwriting experience. We were very compatible co-writers and started playing our first handful of songs around dorms and student houses in Berkeley, on acoustic guitars. Once we pulled in Mikeand Ehren, we quickly made our way to playing clubs and making an album at Live Oak Studio in Berkeley.”

That first album, Me, was recorded shortly after the band played their first live shows. Its semi-acoustic sound is emotionally raw, with a style balanced between pop and youthful experimentation. It became the best-selling independent album of the year at Berkeley’s Rasputin Records. 

The band’s follow up, Closer and Closer to Less, was more polished, drawing on the sounds of The Cure, The Smiths and New Order. The arrangements had been honed by live gigs and captured the band’s onstage energy. According to Easton, “We had national distribution for Closer and Closer, and got quite a bit of college radio play. We toured in a van, up and down California, playing colleges, small clubs and The Roxy and Troubadour in LA. We even made it through one round of Star Search.” 

The last album before the group disbanded was 1999’s Nowhere Near You. It showed them transcending their influences to deliver waves of atmospheric guitars, fragmented rhythms and honest emotion. 

“We had become a mature band from a production perspective. Knowing it was going to be our last album, we put a lot of heart and soul into it,” Easton notes. “We were only 27, but we began to move on. Shyam moved away for grad school. All of us eventually got jobs and started families, but we stayed in touch.”

Five years ago, everyone in the band was living in Northern California again. Easton and Rao began writing new songs, recording them in Easton’s home studio in Berkeley. “At first, we were just getting in the room and finishing each other’s demos. Sometimes I’d send Shyam a completed song and he’d hack it up and make a completely different production from it, or he’d come over and we’d pass a guitar back and forth. Then we’d call Mike and Ehren in to track parts, sometimes pre-arranged, sometimes more jammy. It was very non-linear. On three or four songs, we all played live together. Most of the time we worked together in pairs, rotating through the sessions in a random fashion.”

The first track they completed, “Lightfield,” is a love song that balances feelings of resignation and yearning. Dark synthesizer chords, Rao’s chiming guitar fills and Easton’s chilling vocal, intensify the song’s emotional impact. The band put it up on social media and got encouraging comments. 

“American Canyon,” a song that combines an anti-war stance, while celebrating the psychology of war, eventually became the new album’s title. It’s a synth-heavy track with a dark, popping bass line and ghostly vocals. It describes the desire to cling to love, even in the midst of destruction and chaos. “From that song forward, an intensity in the sound and themes began to build. We realized an album was coming together. We started rewriting completed material, reworking vocal parts and lyrics and pushing everything as far as we could. Through this process, the songs told us they wanted to be an album. Even though we’re still separated by some distance, it became our reunion project.” 

The music The Jenny Thing created for American Canyon has a cinematic sweep. Synthesizers, sampled and real drums, and vocal processing were added, and unexpected tempo shifts were made as the songs were rewritten, deconstructed and revamped. And a storyline gradually emerged, enhancing the direction the project was taking. 

“The songs are not expository, but there is a thread,” Easton said. “Each track describes the characters’ emotional reactions at pivotal points in a story where they struggle with faith and doubt, urgency and resignation, love, hate and mortality.” 

“I think this moment—this record and our rejuvenation—isn’t so much a turning point; it’s like a rededication point. We want to keep making urgent and emotional stuff and riding the creative wave. Working in my home studio we found that, if we pour ourselves into the writing and the actual moments of performance, we can make almost anything sonically we care to make.”

https://thejennything.com

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))

Hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, J-Minu$ is a true hustler in every sense of the word. With an early attachment to music at a young age, J began recording and writing music at the age of 16. J-Minu$ brings a unique sound to the industry with a cinematic approach at contempoary bedroom pop & hyper pop with musical influence from the punk wave of the ’80s along with modern superstars such as Juice World, All American Rejects, Michael Jackson, Post Malone, & Big Sean. Priding himself in his hard work and dedication towards his craft, J has been recording music out of his family’s food truck while juggling a full-time job and various side hustles since 2016. Early in his career J-Minu$ has released over 70 tracks independently with a song going viral to earn him a verification badge on Instagram before completely rebranding himself and starting fresh in 2021. Since hitting the scene with his unique sound J-Minu$ has released two singles that have garnered him attention of blogs such as Buzz Music, Tha Produce Section, Roadie Music. J-Minu$ has managed to build himself an online community with various underground music outlets and streamers supporting his music such as iListenLive & The Creative Hills. J-Minu$ is not anticipated to slow down in 2021 with a project on the way with eOne’s Audio Network (music library) and a debut album release this summer there is much more anticipated from this South Texas artist.

NEW SINGLE “OPTIMISTIC” OUT ON JUNE 9TH: PRE SAVE HERE! https://jm.cubemusic.ca/optimistic

“Optimistic” is the 3rd single from J-Minu$ releasing June 9th anticipated to be followed up with a debut EP releasing later this summer. This track tells a story of the internal struggle J-Minu$ has faced in his music career. Although J has been finding success with his new sound, he uses this song to speak how he’s been feeling stuck in the same spot despite these recent accomplishments. In this song, J delivers a catchy memorable chorus spreading an optimistic approach to his craft to tie together this story of his struggle while bridging together verses that outline the mental and emotional barriers he has been facing. This song speaks to the mental health struggles that musicians face every day while taking an optimistic approach to the mentality and vision they need to keep persevering through these obstacles. J hopes this song speaks to listeners to keep positive throughout their journey; although they may not be seeing changes right away from their successes it is important to keep moving forward and manifesting their goals.

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))

Audiokicks – Independent 4-piece rock band from Aberdeen, Scotland

Life long project of frontman Iain Jamieson, Audiokicks have survived in various forms through highs and lows with countless gigs and well received releases. A stalwart of their local Aberdeen scene the 4-piece are prolific with writing and touring, making use of every small opportunity in 2020, recording with esteemed producer Mark Morrow. 

New Single “Grow”:
On March 6th Audiokicks release new single ‘Grow’, an anthemic track with pop stylings, pulsing drums & bass, catchy guitar hooks and an engaging melody.  Originally written for the bands frontman’s two children, the song carries themes of personal growth which are relevant to the way many people will be feeling as the world remains an uncertain place.

Audiokicks are working with Mark Morrow to release a string of singles over 2021 including “Grow” that will be released on all Major online platforms including Bandcamp. 

Press- 

“What an absolute f****** BELTER of a track!” – Iain Sinclair at Supersound Radio. 

Audiokicks are a 4-piece indie / alt rock band who blend anthemic riffs, soaring vocals and a juicy driving bass-line into a powerful sound that always entertains. These guys have nailed the live sound; whether it’s a more soulful ballad or an energetic blast, they pulverise the expectations you might have of a “local band”. These guys have made focussed distortion their friend, contrasted it with crisp lyrics and injected an overdose of energy into their music – the world is better for it. – Mike Rushby MNPR Magazine

Follow Audiokicks and Pre-Order Grow- 
https://linktr.ee/audiokicks

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))

Black Glitter Music Promotion​ in association with ​Church Dundee​ and ​The Captain’s Cabin will be kicking off 2021 with ‘Only In Streams’ a series of exclusive livestream concerts, featuring six up-and-coming artists from Scotland’s alternative music scene.

‘Only in Streams’ will present a different livestream every Friday at 8pm from the 12th February – 19th March, and will feature exclusive performances from Justboy, Esther Marie, Man Upstairs, Poür Me, Jordan. (How I Learned To Doubt The World) and Blind Unicorn.

The first Only in Streams performance will come from ​Justboy​, the solo project of Alkanes frontman Dale Sutherland. While Alkanes fans are more used to Sutherland’s abrasive vocal delivery and manic stage presence, Justboy’s music is rooted in delicate acoustic arrangements and vulnerable lyricism, as an opportunity to reflect on the more tender moments of life. Debut single ‘Better Off’, released 29th January, showcases Sutherland’s songwriting skills in a newly refined and grandiose form that fans of Bon Iver, Hozier and City and Colour will find especially moving.

As part of ‘Only in Streams’, we will also be encouraging viewers to donate to the Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurVenues campaign which aims to support Grassroots Music Venues in the UK facing imminent closure as a result of lockdown restrictions to live music. More information on the campaign can be found here: https://saveourvenues.co.uk/#/

Black Glitter Music Promotion ​is a new music promotion company founded by Andrew Davidson, formerly of Dundee concert promoters Pink Emo Promotions. In addition to Only In Streams, we have also produced several episodes of The Black Glitter Music Hour on Mixcloud, which plays music from different up-and-coming artists from all over the world.

Black Glitter Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blackglitterpromotion – Twitter: @blackglitter20
Instagram: @blackglittermusicpromotion
Mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/BlackGlitterMusicPromo/

Almost a month thru 2021, and all is pretty good! <pandemic aside> My first post on M-S-G for the year was an awesome interview with Tim Smith (The Lickerish Quartet, Jellyfish, Umajets)!!! Now, I am excited to drop an artist feature from an exciting duo all the way from Scotland. Check it out!

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Post-Everything Talk Rock music from the North, formed of Jamie Reid and Colin Brennan. Diverse and creative song writing using a vast range of vocal and guitar styles. Since 2015 the spontaneous two-piece has been consistently playing ambitious live performances and challenging themselves creatively on all fronts. Prolific with sharp emotional vocals, Before Stories have been slowly accumulating a fanbase from Scotland and beyond since 2015.  New EP “The Next Reason to Breathe” is their 4th released on Ripcord Records in December 2020. Since release it has received great response from all over the globe. 

-About The EP- 
“Our idea was to make art that said exactly what we wanted to say and then stopped, abandoning traditional song forms for enough music to make an idea a song and no more. This has not changed in our 5-years together. We are working hard on making sense of a world that has dramatically changed, which is reflected not only in the lyrics but also in how we’ve made this. Recorded in our own houses with minimal interaction apart from emailing ideas back and forward, it’s been a journey in accepting each other’s vision and having a lot less individual control over how the songs have been formed.”

-Press- 
“‘The Next Reason to Breathe'” is their fourth successive EP, and is a defining mood of an unnerving society, and instills this impactful memory throughout. This new source of music is a dystopian-like fairytale, instilling elements of dark mystery, raising awareness to some of the most crucial questions we ask ourselves about ourselves.”  – Man V Music. 

“It is an authentic and completely unique body of work that will no doubt attract a lot of attention!”  – Charlotte Talks Music. 

“This integrity and originality has been recognized by Ripcord Records, who have picked up on the merits of the duo and released the EP as a cassette on top of its digital release. Will there be more stories to tell? It’s probable; in this fast changing world, we might need their voice.”  – Pictish Prism. 

*Catch up with the band on IG: https://www.instagram.com/beforestories/

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1pfKujJCEaRofrY931NUhK

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))

Jamie Reid/”Poür Me” was brought up in Ackergill in the far North Highlands of Scotland. From learning the guitar through High School and taking up bass and backing vocal positions in School Bands Jamie learned that there is no better feeling than performing live. Now Much older, slightly wiser and based in Aberdeen Scotland Jamie has been working on his ever changing solo project for years with no sign of slowing down. With Experience in various positions across a large scale of local and touring bands Jamie’s songwriting and influences vary greatly from track to track leading to an unpredictable live set. 
It’s not been the easiest road and Jamie writes very personally about his struggles hence the name “Poür Me”  Hoping that certain themes will relate to his audience as his soul-bearing, raw music catches them. 

New Single Taciturn Out now only on Bandcamp (Pay what you want download)

https://pourme.bandcamp.com/

About Taciturn- 
Taciturn means “reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little”.
Set in the late teen/early 20’s era about repeatedly saying things you regret while at parties.
On occasion I’d try and train myself to be more reserved on nights out in order to avoid saying anything regretful which is where the title comes from.
This also isn’t a vague admittance to committing anything shockingly horrible it’s about the kind of moments everyone else laughs off and forgets instantly but you hold onto it and judge yourself harshly for it. There’s no other person being referred to in this- It’s in the moment vs morning after.

Why? Something different innit.

After a prolific series of releases in 2020 to kick start “Poür Me” Taciturn is the first single to be part of an album to be released in 2021. 

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))

Dream Finisher is a self-aware record. Plain and simple. High on the current times and slick like a greaser’s coiffed hair. Ear LSD on a sonic bed of nails. Andee Blacksugar has fleshed out the end of his 2020 trilogy with his signature moves all rolled into one. Smartass lyrics adorn lead single “Twatted”,  “Nobody cares what’s inside your underwear or who went to your fucking party.” A record and sound that all the current soulless pop jackoffs could only dream of having their merry men cook up. Instead, this whole recipe was concocted mostly in a Brooklyn apartment by an eloquent dude with beautiful hair and guitar licks for days who DOES NOT CARE what you think. After one listen you’ll be ready to go for a victory lap. Tracks like “A Prayer Trapped” will get your head bopping, kinda Beach Boys meets Blur.  It bleeds NYC (“Thrill of a Lifetime”) and as much concrete as that may elude to it easily blasts you off to outer space in “Don’t Make It Easier”. Certainly a great achievement, better still is that Dream Finisher is part of a trilogy just as lush and lavish as it’s two counterparts. For those of us who love substance to their music, Black Sugar Transmission has all you need and more.

For enthusiasts of Shudder To Think, Abandoned Pools and Blur

And hey, if you like this review please poke your head in to my reviews of part one and two of the BST 2020 thrillogy. 

 https://musicsurvivalguide.org/2020/06/03/black-sugar-transmission-the-flowering-album-review/

https://musicsurvivalguide.org/2020/01/29/black-sugar-transmission-wandering-into-the-bullseye-album-review/

I’m tellin’ ya, you gotta give it to a patient, consistent and polite artist. Jerad Finck is THAT guy. And, to top it off he’s got some great sounds to go right along with it. Jerad and I have been back and forth for a few months to get him a feature on M-S-G and well, life happens and it’s already October, (BOO!). I am happy to finally give them/him a bump.

Blazar is hot on the heels of brand new single “Precious”. Great timing too, it’s upbeat, fun, danceable. All the things needed to close your eyes for a few moments on such a soulless year. No surprise it’s as good as it is, the work has been put in and quite a team was behind it.

“Precious” was released on September 18 and was produced by BLAZAR & Anthony (Ajax) Resta (Duran Duran, Elton John, Perry Farrell). It was mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Shakira, Stevie Nicks) and mastered by Hans Dekline (U2, Lisa Loeb). It was written by BLAZAR, Anthony (Ajax) Resta, Jay Condiotti (Collective Soul, Raven-Symone, Tiffany). So, yea…HOLEY MOLEY.

Want to hear more? Check out the song “Better” which debuted in February before the utter chaos we have all come to know.

As always, I am happy to share and spread music that you may not know. From the underground to the outer space, it’s been featured here at some point. So, give Blazar a chance. Tell your friends and just spread the word. Together we have to keep art alive, especially now.

(*ALL ARTIST FEATURES INFO IS SUPPLIED DIRECTLY FROM THE ARTIST(S))