Monday, August 29, 2016

Delta Rae - Bottom of the River (Indianapolis, IN)

Friday night was supposed to be an awesome night seeing an amazing concert with a band that I have grown to love over the years but nature had other ideas as it sent torrential rains to Indianapolis, a city that doesn't appear to be built to handle that type of punishment. There isn't nearly enough drainage and the water had nowhere to go. So here we are on our way to the venue and it's still raining, the streets are still flooding and we are hoping for the best.  We get to The Vogue and find the members of the band outside taking pictures of an amazing double rainbow over the club. That's got to be an awesome omen, right? Not so much.  The venue had flooded and it was a safety hazard for anyone to be allowed in.  This does not look good for our concert.

3 bands had been contracted to play. Jessie and Amy, Castro, and Delta Rae. The staff at the venue and the bands were working on some compromise so that they could reschedule the concert but no one's schedule would line up properly.  And when you think that Castro drove from Dallas and Delta Rae from Raleigh, there were some people that wanted some opportunity to do what they came there to do. So it was decided that the 2 opening acts would do 2 songs each and then Delta Rae would do what they could for as long as they could.

We knew that they had a ton of new music they wanted to play for us because we talked with Brittany, Eric and Liz. They were excited to share with us the new songs they were crafting for their next record and we were equally as excited to have them play them for us. So Jessie and Amy led the charge with a guitar and cajon and killed with their two songs. This was my first time hearing them and I immediately fell in love with their soulfulness and gorgeous harmonies.  Family band, Castro was up next and they knocked it out of the park with their two offerings. With an album dropping on September 2, 2016 - they were really excited to sing for us and show us what they had as well and they did not disappoint.

The light was fading and Delta Rae rolled out their bass drum, the garbage can, Eric and Ian's guitars and Grant's acoustic bass.  They were super apologetic for having to cancel but the small crowd that packed in front of the venue understood and we were just happy to have them there with us. They sang between 6 and 8 songs, each one of them showing the range and versatility they had and just the amazing ability to overcome adversity and kill a performance. I think that's something that each of these 3 groups did. They showed an amazing amount of professionalism by sticking it out and doing something that a lot of groups wouldn't. They decided that the fans, the people that had ventured out to see them deserved something and it was something that none of us will ever forget. I was amazed at how they gave so freely of themselves and they did it in a way that elevated them even higher. They didn't rely on technology. They didn't have anything but their voices, their talent and their instruments to work with and they were amazing.

We got 2 new songs, "The Wrong Ocean" and a song I am going to call "When Mama Starts Singin" and they were on opposite ends of the spectrum but both filled with so much emotion and love it was crazy. Eric took lead on "The Wrong Ocean" and it was just a hear-wrenching song about loving and longing and finding your place in the world and it's something that we all can relate to on some level. Brittany grabbed the reigns on "Mama" and took us to church. The voice that comes out of this woman is ridiculous on the most fundamental level. She's got so much power and range that you're just awestruck of what she can do. It was a story song about someone's mama and her power to wield a voice that could make the devil cry and it was good and full of energy and made you feel revitalized.

The rest of their set was amazing. I know I am forgetting songs but we got, "If I Loved You", "Morning Comes", "Dance in the Graveyard", "Chasing Twisters", "Bottom of the River", and one of the most powerful and amazing versions of "All Good People" I have ever heard. The raw emotion of that song is incredible to begin with but to have it so powerfully rendered in such an intimate setting was glorious.

So if you get a chance to see this group, do yourself a favor but know, that quite by accident - I have seen probably one of the greatest shows they will ever do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Knaves - Stranger

Sheffield, England based Knaves have been making a name for themselves around England but it's time that they become more of an international household name. When the music is this well put together and lets you escape reality for a handful of minutes, they deserve to be heard around the globe. This is amazingly solid indie pop music with an incredibly wide, mass-market appeal. I believe that even though an artist may be making music to express themselves but without the most people being able to hear it, it's almost like the "If a tree falls in the woods" argument. So let's get them out there for everyone to hear so that they can continue making music and expressing the things we need them to put to music for us. But I digress. I think this is a pretty killer track that will fit in alongside any of the major indie pop acts. I want to hear much more from these guys.

Brenda Bennett - OK Enough

I don't necessarily think that we settle as much as we think we do, we merely rise to the circumstances of our situation and become fine with the outcomes in life. Sometimes we need a reminder that it's perfectly fine to not get everything in life that we thought we would. It may not be exactly the turnout we expected but that's okay too. Brenda's voice is amazing in this video. Her timeless vocals prove that you don't have to be young and scantily clad to make amazing music. You don't have to shake your ass to be relevant. Music documents different areas and times in our lives so having someone make amazing music at any stage of their life is a gift we should be thankful for. I have always been a fan of Brenda's ever since Vanity asked her how they were going to get to the party.  She makes me very happy and sings the songs that we need to hear on the days when the world isn't going our way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Leagues - Alone Together Sampler

We are going to call this a sampler of what's to come off their new album, Alone Together, that drops on September 9, 2016 and if this is what we can expect then the whole album is going to be crazy. These 3 songs are full of electro-synthy goodness that just exemplifies the awesome music that Leagues are able to conjure up with ease. The way Thad's vocals seamlessly work in conjunction with the production work done on the tracks is gloriously effortless. You can hear the palpable chemistry these guys have and a love for the music they are creating.

"Lipstick Coffee" kicks off this playlist and it has this "grunge-y, sitting down on your heels, making a stank face" vibe to it. The bass line and the percussion takes the track and pushes it forward in an almost military like precision. The guitar solo is nuts. The progression of the song is just grimy and good. It is one that deserves to be listened to on repeat. It's such a cool fucking song. I am really, really enjoying this more than I have a lot of songs of late.

"Dance With Me" is a little more straight-forward. It's more indie pop and less an experimental dance pop/indie fusion. I think that it's a solid departure from what you had just heard in "Lipstick Coffee". It has a bit of retro new wave how the build up to the first chorus is designed. There is a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in it. You can maybe hear some Tangerine Dream or maybe a little OMD in the DNA of this song. It shows a versatility that still showcases Thad's vocals and Jeremy's production/programming/general all around badassness in a way that is intriguing and pushes you further into wanting to know more about what they have up their sleeve. It makes me close my eyes and just sink into the groove.

"Slow and Steady" is yet another facet of the gift they are trusting us with. Much more melodic and vulnerable, this song seems to work along it's own methodic pacing. It's a bit softer and more introspective. It's less synth heavy and Thad's vocals really shine as you're focusing on what he's saying and really digging deep into how they have power to make you feel different things with each offering.

I honestly can't wait until this album comes out. Their debut album, 'You Belong Here' is one that is never too far out of my own personal rotation. I think these two guys make a helluva team and they make incredible music.  I want to see them do HUGE things because they can. And can we just talk about that cover art for a second. These are two dead sexy dudes with an incredible glint in their eyes for mischief and shenanigans. I applaud the art director for deciding on this for the art.

Also, preorder the album here and get a free download of these three tracks and "New Money"!!

Adore Delano - Dancing on My Own (Robyn Cover)

So Adore took a song that was already heart-wrenching, slowed it down and made it even more mournful. The unrequited feelings of love, loss, and heartbreak are all carefully executed in her version of Robyn's song. The emotion she's able to inject into this cover is ridiculous and to think that she's not a super star is mind boggling. If she were to release a proper cover of this song, I would buy it in a heartbeat. This is truly an amazing performance.

MisterWives - Not Your Way

Generally I don't blog about the bigger acts but I adore MisterWives and this video is just fun. It's got a cute concept and is very well put together. I don't want to distract too much from the video, just know that it's easily one of my favorites that I've seen in a while.

Monday, August 22, 2016

SelloRekT/ LA Dreams - IRIS

Take the intro of  Michael Jackson's 'Bad' turn it on it's side and make it a little more sinister and you've got Iris by SelloRekT / LA Dreams. One of the cooler synth instrumentals I've heard in a while, this track would fit into any 80s noir film or show when the shit was getting ready to hit the fan. It's dark and twisty. It's slow, methodical pacing makes you a bit uneasy and I think that any movie that would have a dark cloak and dagger style plot would definitely benefit from a track like this. It's got an ambivalent ambiance that makes you look over your shoulder a bit to make sure you aren't being followed.  It's a groovy track and another excellent example of what this genre of music can sound like.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Liquid Diet - Luminary

Sexy. Sinister. Seductive. Alliteration aside, the music video for the first track off New York based, electro trio Liquid Diet's new album is one that may make you gasp. The track is a departure from the high camp that we've become accustomed to with Liquid Diet as it tends to have a bit more mainstream appeal while never stepping fully away from what they do best. Georgia's vocal delivery on this song is dreamy and commanding while never being overpowering. She's in control throughout the song and guides you where you need to go. If you close your eyes and just listen to the song, it's an evocative sensual trip from start to finish. The tempo, the build up, the way the synth is laid down, there aren't any mistakes that I hear in this track. It makes you want to go back and listen to it again and I think that's the power of a well written song.  It pulls you in, spins you around and shakes up your ideals for the length of the track and makes you want more. You want the song to stay with you and the way that Georgia's voice leads you through this adventure certainly does the trick. She's mesmerizing and I think it's safe to say that she is one of the more compelling vocalists in the industry. She makes me think of Dale Bozzio or Aimee Mann or Debbie Harry with the choices she makes in her delivery.

"Luminary" is a stunning example of what can be done when you do it on your own. The video is really amazing. It's sexy. It's got a quality to it that makes you feel a bit uneasy. You are concerned for Georgia and in the same breath you want to know more about her and her mystery suitor. Has she escaped some nefarious play for power that would have left her at his mercy or was she in control and held the power the whole time? Is she a disenfranchised socialite trying to see how the other half lives? Is she an Eliza Doolittle character and has been swept away to something grander than she would have otherwise been privy to? What are the ties to the Illuminati? Was she going to be held against her will if she wasn't able to escape? I think this is a great example of storytelling that makes you want to know more about the narrative. The styling and the choice to shoot it in black and white were amazingly well thought out and it is just a great video that they should be very proud of. Jonathan and Georgia are gorgeous in their respective rights. Jonathan has a terrifying seriousness to him that makes him sexily damaged in a very dangerous way. Billy as the chauffer/man servant is executed with a precision only he could pull off and manage to look a bit deranged but stylish and sexy as well.

I am a huge fan of this group because they don't play by any rules other than their own. You like them or you don't. They aren't pandering to the crowd because they can. They are making art and music because it's important and they have something that needs to be said. I'm a bit biased because I am such a fan and want amazing things to happen to these guys. So watch the video, share it on your social media and then get ready to buy their album, "Double Life" when it comes out on September 9th. Then come back here to hear my thoughts on the album when it's released.

The album is available for pre-order -- if you order now, you get to download "Luminary" instantly!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

David Gray - Smoke Without Fire

I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing this man in concert twice and he is a genius. He's one of the most amazing singer/songwriters I've had the honor to have in my life. This song is no different than the rest of the pieces of work that I've dotted my life with. It's just warm and comforting and just envelopes you in an old familiarity. It's a conversation with an old friend. It's all the good things that you've come to expect from David. It's languid and it's deep breathing. I've listened to it a couple of times now and it's not nearly long enough. I need this to be like his 13 minute live version of "Night Blindness". I want to hear more from this song. Because it is so easy and you have a big exhale at the end and you start it again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Autoheart - Possibility

This track is great. It's just got a vibe all on it's own that's funky and poppy and amazingly full of just the most perfect synth choices I've heard in a song in a long time. It's got an outstanding arrangement that has been well orchestrated by the group. Jody's vocals are just fantastic. He is suited well for this genre and style of music. It's just a solid song that makes your head bob and you easily get wrapped up in the synth. I would love to see them on stage beside Erasure or Marc Almond or even the Pet Shop Boys. They could easily hold their own against some of the biggest names in the synth world. I am a fan of this group and can't wait to see where they go. This is the lead single off their new album, "I Can Build A Fire" which will be released on August 26. I can't wait to get a copy of it and see where they can take me.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dana Jean Phoenix - Komplicated (Silent Gloves Remix)

Dana Jean Phoenix and Silent Gloves are a match made in heaven. They both are so rooted in the New, New Wave movement that this is nothing but spectacular from them. Dana Jean's vocals are beautifully nostalgic and you could easily expect to hear her sharing a stage with Martika or so many other talented artists from the 80s.  Silent Gloves has been killing it mixing and remixing so many amazing tracks in this genre and this mix is no different than the quality you've come to expect to hear from him.  Amazing remix. Amazing track.  Want to hear so much music from them.

Skelton - Podcast 002

If 90s house and techno is your scene, then I suggest you give the next 32 minutes of your life over to Oli Skelton because what he's crafted here is rooted in so much nostalgia, you will expect Pepper Mashay and Technotronic to bust up on the scene and start some beef.  This podcast flows exceptionally well from start to finish. It's easy and it's just something that you can easily get into. It's fun and the energy level never drops below banging. I had a great time listening to what he's done here and would really like to hear more of him in a single format. He's clearly talented and I want more of him.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Come With Us

There are underrated artists and then there are artists that don't get the chance they deserve in the United States. Sophie Ellis-Bextor absolutely falls into the latter category. I've been a fan since theaudience days and I think she makes some of the most amazing music that you've never heard. This song is just super chill and she's beautiful in it. It's just a song you can just get lost in. There needs to be so much more Sophie in our American musical diets every day. 

The Shadowboxers - Build the Beat

It doesn't really matter what challenges The Shadowboxers face because it seems they can do almost anything musically. Whether it's tight 3 part harmonies on a heartfelt ballad or a rocking, 80s funk fueled jam; these guys know how to create music that's going to make an impression. There's no secret that I love them as an act. I think they do amazing work and it's good to see them getting the recognition they deserve. I'm glad they are building a legacy for themselves because the music is that good and needs to be heard for years and years to come.