Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

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.

Ben Sefton is a fresh singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan. Stepping off the success of alienation diary entry “Humans,” Sefton has released his third tune and attached short film, Harrison. The sound is theatrical and layered, bringing up flavors of Queen or even Jellyfish in its evolving structure as it travels though different channels of pop and rock. Harrison’s narrative is an archetype of the isolated high school geek, with lyrical hints towards suicidal ideation (that I prefer to ignore). Though awkward teen narratives are often cliche, it’s important to see a story of an isolated kid that doesn’t put on a trench coat and blow away the lunch room. It’s a reminder that some kids just need to be heard. Keep an eye out for the guitar-shredding bear.

Ben Sefton Instagram

Ben Sefton Bandcamp

Cover art by Graeme James

This one comes from New Zealand by way of Amsterdam. Graeme James, multi-instrumentalist and composer, is releasing a new album called Seasons on Nettwork Records. Inspired by his relocation from New Zealand to Amsterdam, the album is rich in layers of strings and delicate vocals. All together, James is a one-man band. He wrote, produced, and plucked nearly everything on this record, sans a few guest vocals, percussion, and brass. For the most part, James is as self-made as it comes, even drawing the album’s covers himself. James’s complex and earthy tunes capture cycles of life and weather with masterful precision. All in all, it’s a great flavor of indie folk that recalls shades of Villagers and perhaps Mumford and Sons (with better vocals and more optimism).

Seasons is a thoughtful and reflective set of tunes. Using the changing of seasons as larger metaphors for changes of life, he paints portraits of love and growth. Summertime sweet “Field Notes on an Endless Day” has tonal shades of Zeppelin’s “Going to California” amid its joyful ease. Single “Everlasting Love” is a straight-up country toe-tapper rejoicing one’s long-term affections: “If all that I had was you, I’d be the richest man on earth.” To use the lingo of the kids, that’s relationship goals right there. Autumnal ballad “All the Lives We Ever Lived” reflects on youthful exuberance, lamenting “We only wanted to live forever – was that too much to ask?” The whole album is a gorgeous mid-afternoon listen, curled up with a long term lover or a sleepy dog, warm like the cup of cocoa you’ll crave during “The Weight of Many Winters.”

The standout track for M-S-G is “The Voyage of the James Caird.” It is as dramatic a saga of a shipwreck survival as you can get, and as engaging as it sounds. Graeme’s voice takes on a more soulful thickness even than his other tunes as he tells the story of a real ship that near missed at rescuing its inhabitants. The percussion adds a rock beat to the gut-tingling drama of plucked high notes and rolling deeper tones. The cymbals crash like the waves against the resilient boat hull. From where it’s placed on the album, it feels like just the kind of tale you’d tell around a crackling fire on a cold winter evening, when one might need a message of persistence in peril. You know, kind of the way sea shanties became a thing during COVID for the same reason. No wonder Rolling Stone highlighted the track as a “Song[s] You Need to Know.”

If you’re into indie folk, check out Graeme James. Seasons comes in like a lion on April 1st.

Graeme James Website

Graeme James Instagram

Graeme James Bandcamp

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

Instagram

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))