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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 18th December 2014 at 4:00 pm
Just released today as a live video from The Boatshed Sessions is this from Model Aeroplanes performing ‘Whatever Dress Suits You Better’. The Dundee filmed this in a tent at Inverness event Belladrum Festival 2014 in August. Enjoy it below.
The more! aspect of this post: also included below is a stream of the band’s current single ‘Club Low’, which I was remiss to have not posted earlier. The energetic track has already gotten over 56,000 streams on Soundcloud, which is pretty amazing! Read all our past coverage on MA here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
The stage name Rival Consoles suggests either a love for gaming or a love of electronic wizardry. I’ll have to ask London producer Ryan L. West in person in Austin where this name comes from, but in the meantime, I’ll focus on the minimalist yet amazing soundscapes he creates.
One of West’s masterpieces, an EP entitled ‘Vemeer’ under his previous moniker Aparatec, was London indie label Erased Tapes’ first release. West has stuck with the avant-garde company, having released his latest six-track EP under the Rival Consoles name, ‘Sonne’, this past September. While “Sonne” is the German word for sun, the opening title track begins with a feeling of cold, not warmth, for the first third: there is an iciness to the bouncy notes with a slight echo. At about the 1 minute, 30-second mark, the tune turns warmer, more optimistic. I can’t help but feel like this is West’s way of electronically demonstrating a sunrise. Track three, ‘Helios’ (aka the God of the Sun to the ancient Greeks), seems to be the happy, peppy big brother of ‘Sonne’, doing a hop, skip and jump across a sun-dappled sequencer (listen to the track below). ‘Haunt’ is driving in the electronic way: never staying in one place, yet with handclaps placed in all the right places to keep things ever interesting.
West’s ‘Sonne’ is the latest in a string of Erased Tapes releases that confirms his is a still very much unique perspective on the often popularly overlooked art of electronica. The title track to Rival Consoles’ 2013’s EP ‘Odyssey’ (blimey, he must really be in love with them Greeks of yore), has already amassed an impressive over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud. Clearly, he must be doing something right.
West is currently hard at work at the Rival Consoles’ debut album, which I hope will be out in late 2015. Ahead of that, he’ll be making the rounds at SXSW 2015 in Austin in March, likely soothing the savage beasts that all too often lurk after too much drink has been consumed by the wee hours of the morning…
California singer/songwriter Jameson Burt, known on stage simply as Jameson, is currently in the midst of a UK tour supporting fellow American West Coast band Rival Sons. His new EP ‘Carnivore’ features five tracks of emotionally evocative, banjo-laced Americana rock. Often the bright, twangy sound of a banjo indicates a light-hearted thematic approach, but Jameson uses the instrument to add interest and color to the dramatic, minor-key sound of his songs. Listening to the virtuosity of his banjo melodies, it’s hard to believe that he is self-taught, having only picked up the instrument about two years ago while working at a roadside fruit stand.
Jameson cites among his musical inspirations “bourbon, sleep deprivation and the writings of Ernest Hemingway”. His current single ‘Breathe Your Last’ is a searing, uptempo folk rock number that displays all three of those influences. From the opening moments, the banjo and percussion provide a sense of frenetic insomniac agitation. His powerful vocals evoke the dark, rich flavor of American whisky, while his lyrical “tales of travel and restlessness, love and listlessness, passion, desire and regret” have a certain existential trace of Papa Hemingway about them.
Aside from his unique banjo style, the standout characteristic of Jameson’s music is his singing voice. On the surface his delivery is raw and emotive, but close listening reveals that his voice is technically strong and flexible as well. His full vocal sound is displayed throughout the EP, but more impressive are the virtuosic moments, such as the melodic run in the chorus of ‘Falling’.
The single version of ‘Breathe Your Last’ includes a reworked version of a track called ‘Liar’ from Jameson’s solo acoustic ‘Pronto’ EP. While ‘Liar’ doesn’t feature on ‘Carnivore’, it’s worth a listen just to hear the progression of Jameson’s arrangement. The addition of percussion and backing vocals transforms the song from simple country folk to something much more sensual, giving an ironic twist to the gospel flavor of the lyric “come on preacher / pass the plate around while we’re listening / you talk up your faith, downplay your sin”.
Following on from ‘Pronto’, which was released in March of this year, Jameson wrote, performed and recorded ‘Carnivore’ single-handedly before enlisting producer Dallas Krusse and Rival Sons bassist Dave Beste to polish the final sound. Beste subsequently invited Jameson to open as tour support on Rival Sons’ UK shows in the summer of 2014 and then on their current European and UK Fall Tour, which began in November.
‘Carnivore’ was released on the 8th of December and is available now. If you’re quick, you can catch Jameson opening for Rival Sons as they wrap up their tour of the UK; find all the dates on Rival Sons’ official Web site.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 15th December 2014 at 11:00 am
Irish singer/songwriter duo The Lost Brothers put out a great album this year (‘New Songs of Dawn and Dust’), so naturally we wanted to get into their brains so they would tell us about their musical upbringing. In case you’ve been living under a rock, last week we ran a two-part interview with Oisin Leech of the duo, which you can catch up reading here and here. However, the epically bearded half of the trio Mark McCausland wanted in on this too, having kindly answered our TGTF Quickfire Questions. He tells us about his first and sadly ill-fated love, and the fond memories of a song that he and Leech cover at live shows. Read on…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
Sitting on my grandfather’s knee and him singing hundreds of Irish songs, blowing a harmonica that he kept on a string around his neck.
What was your favourite song as a child?
My mother and my uncle used to sing ‘Dream Dream Dream’ by the Everly Brothers. It’s probably the first song I ever knew how to sing. We cover it now at Lost Brothers shows.
What song makes you laugh?
Garth Hudson’s organ solo in ‘Apple Suckling Tree’ on the Basement Tapes (Bob Dylan) is pure joy and always conjures [up] a smile.
What song makes you cry?
‘I’m So Lonesome I Could cry’, Hank Williams.
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the Righteous Brothers.
It’s the first song I ever danced to with a girl. I was a squirt, weighing in at 12 years and 4 feet. She was 4 years older than me and mountains taller.
It didn’t last.
Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘What a Wonderful World’. [It’s probably not what you’re supposed to think when you hear this song, but I can’t help but be wistful about the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC miniseries. – Ed.]
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
For books…John Fante. Willy Vlautin. John Steinbeck. William Kennedy. And Nick Cave’s two novels are brilliant.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m pretty much unemployable.
Cheers to Mark for answering our questions and also to Terry, who arranged for all of these Lost Brothers interview bits for us.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 11th December 2014 at 10:00 am
The Lost Brothers have written and recorded an absolutely beautiful song – yes, it’s sad, but sad in the “aww…” heartstring tugging way – called ‘Little Angel’. After listening to it below, you can download it for free from the duo’s SoundCloud, but Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech ask that instead of paying for the song to instead donate to UNICEF to make a child’s life brighter this holiday season. Dig deep, folks!
Stay tuned for the first half of my interview with the bespectacled Leech coming your way in an hour; the second half will post tomorrow morning.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 8th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
Since early tipping by Gary Barlow 2 years ago, the release of early singles ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Love Like This’ and the amazing response to their debut album ‘In a Perfect World’ released in June 2013, TGTF friends Kodaline have been riding high and playing sold out shows across the globe. This autumn, they suffered a temporary setback when bass player Jason Boland suffered a wrist injury, causing the band to cancel their North American tour. But not all is lost. The band have been hard at work in between all those live appearances this year to work on album number two, whose title has been revealed to be ‘Coming Up for Air’. While the LP’s release date in 2015 is still unknown, last week Fearne Cotton had the first play of its lead single on Radio 1.
‘Honest’ is, for all intents and purposes, is a song about communication. This makes a whole lot of sense, since misunderstood communication usually stems from insufficient frankness and dishonesty. The first thing I thought about when I heard the song on their YouTube was “wow, this would make an amazing track for further examination on Music in Notes!‘ In early November, I analysed SOHN‘s ‘Artifice’, which follows a similar theme of a breakdown in communication in a couple. I know some of you aren’t examining song lyrics with a magnifying glass like I am, so I’m going to go over the music side of the song first, then briefly give my thoughts to the meaning of the song. I’ll leave the detailed interpretation for a future post on MiN.
Kodaline have headed in a slightly different direction in this single, which from my editor’s perspective I find intriguing. And in a good way. It continues the Irish band’s successful pop formula, which will serve to solidify their current fan base. But the overall sound is more muscular, more richer than anything on ‘In a Perfect World’, going into power ballad territory. Further, the single seems to represent Kodaline’s stepping away from their folk / country and western (‘Love Like This’, ‘Way Back When’) and gospel (‘All Comes Down’) leanings, so one has to wonder if they’ve decided to permanently retire the harmonica and mandolin. What is left is a more classic pop sound that will appeal to a much wider audience.
Thankfully, they aren’t saying goodbye to their gorgeous harmonies, which are on full display on the rousing chorus of ‘Honest’. The words “Say what you want to say / but if you lie to me again / I’ll be the one who walks away / is it in you to be honest?”, bolstered by a huge-sounding, buzzy synth line, are resolute, yet somehow oddly uplifting, as the chords change from minor to major. This shift feels especially nice, as the verses are purposely minor, indicating conflict.
What I especially like about this song and so many that I have interpreted on Music in Notes is it has a clear message, set within a theme that everyone can relate to, whether you’re 8 or 80. Even if you’re a Kodaline fan who’s too young to drink and has never had a boyfriend or girlfriend, the message is still applicable. We’ve all been given the silent treatment, all been lied to before. Some relationships can be repaired by better communication. But sometimes, if the other person refuses to be honest, the only solution is to walk away. We also don’t know which way this relationship went, so there’s a cliffhanger that may or may not be explained in the new album expected in early 2015. Regardless of what happens with ‘Coming Up for Air’, you can be sure that Kodaline has closed out 2014 with a real winner.
Stream ‘Honest’ below. You can pre-order the single now; it will be released on the 1st of February 2015. Stay tuned for the release date of ‘Coming Up for Air’, the band’s second album.
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