All posts filed under: Music

overgrowth

5 Songs That Inspired the Otherworldly Talent of Robert Nix

“No, I won’t go with the flow, because if I do, I’ll end up where everybody else goes.” Those are probably the most descriptive and autobiographical words taken straight from Robert Nix’s lead single, “Won’t Go With the Flow” from his new album, Blue Moon. Self admittedly inspired by music from a plethora of eras and venues, he’s created a subgenere all his own, with a blend of rock, New Wave, indie, and a bit of psychedelia all his own. (If you with Talking Heads would have collaborated with early Syd Barrett, you’re in luck.) We were dying to find out more about how Nix invented his infectious sound, so we asked him for five influential songs that inspired him. Here’s what he said. 1. “Magical Mystery Tour,” The Beatles The energetic opener to the Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece of an album and probably some of the first music I ever heard courtesy of my sister’s vinyl record. This album in particular made its way into my bloodstream — I never did get off that bus, it seems. 2. “Strange Days,” …

feelies_onbench600-600x300

ALBUM REISSUES: THE FEELIES, “Only Life” and “Time For A Witness”

I’m pretty sure that I won’t be saying anything new or different about The Feelies – I’m sure it’s all been said before since the short summation about this band is that they’re great; they’ve always been great and are not only great, but legendary.  Nevertheless, their back catalog from A&M Records has now been lovingly re-issued by Bar/None; both albums – 1988’s Only Life and 1991’s Time For A Witness also come with download cards for bonus tracks, more recently recorded, and liner notes by Rick Moody and Michael Azzerad, respectively.  So although that’s more than enough to buy both, a few thoughts on the actual music… “It’s Only Life” is about a sweet a melody as you can ask for and a perfect way to open an album; the inevitable Lou Reed-styled vocal delivery can’t be overlooked but it fits the song’s mood and those little guitar fills shimmer; “Too Much” has a quasi-psychedelic and hypnotic feel; “Deep Fascination” is one of those wonderful pieces of dream-pop from the era and “Too Far …

12513985_1729754407253666_4971278184288749982_o

ALBUM REVIEW: VAS, s/t

I’ve written about and shared with you music over the last few months from a wonderful new band, VAS (originally known as “Elder”).  We premiered three tracks previously and now Popdose is happy to be the first to bring to the national stage the self-titled debut album from VAS.  I once said that this band’s sound is built around great slabs of soundscapes that are dramatic and lush – and that not only holds true, but is shown/heard to greater effect with these new songs that are unveiled.  Most importantly that this is a young band who already have a great, intuitive sense of sculpting a melody and will, undoubtedly, go from “already very good” to “predictably great” in not too long a period of time. The track “Vipers” is a perfect example – starting quietly and subdued with a tautly understated guitar/rhythm/keyboard that immediately builds up in a dramatic manner with a hypnotic guitar riff and then exiting on a quiet piano/vocal fade; “Soda Pop”, which was their introductory bow, has a swirling keyboard …

5 Songs That Inspire Musician and Social Commentator Vince Grant

When I first told you about Vince Grant almost a year ago, he’d just release his album, My Depression Is Always Trying to Kill Me, a heady title that’s sparked a conversation about mental illness that’s severely overdue and warranted. Now, his new video, “Oceans II,” takes a track from that album and translates it into a visual that’s compelling and demonstrative of both the music Grant makes and the movement he’s spearheading. We wanted to delve further into his musical processes, so we asked him to tell us about five influential songs and were pleasantly surprised to see some of our own faves in there also. 1) “Heroes” by David Bowie To me, this is one of the most emotionally powerful songs ever written. The musical hook and melody combined with the poignant, poetic lyrics is nothing short of epic. Love the way the track builds in both sound and emotion, and it’s something I try to achieve in my songs as well. Bowie starts off singing in subdued fashion, but by the end he is almost screaming in …

Edward Rogers 2 pc Melani Rogers

POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: EDWARD ROGERS, “Denmark Street”

Popdose is pleased to present the premiere of “Denmark Street”, the first official video from Edward Rogers’ latest album, Glass Marbles (reviewed here on Popdose).  Denmark Street was London’s version of Tin Pan Alley in the ’60’s and the stark, haunting melody fits hand in hand with the vintage images floating by with the lyrics. A story in song is always a good thing, but here, the history lesson learned, courtesy of Edward Rogers, makes it even more poignant.  Sit back – watch, listen and enjoy. Glass Marbles is available now  

Mould

ALBUM REVIEW: BOB MOULD, “Patch The Sky”

There’s always a certain amount of expectations when a new release comes out from a long-established artist that you’ve admired over the span of time and I will grant you, it’s not always fair – certainly to the performer nor to yourself because, of course, you’re bound for a letdown sooner or later.  Bob Mould is one of those musicians who I come to expect the unexpected from for a lot of reasons.  Mostly because it isn’t fair.  But what I do expect – if nothing else – is consistency.  And on Patch The Sky, his 12th solo album, starting after Husker Du with two and resuming after Sugar in full, there is no lack of consistency, coherence and (I know this word gets used a lot when referring to Mould) catharsis.  Of his more recent return to louder guitar/faster tempos, the sound and production of this album is possibly one of the best he’s done yet, so it shows at 55, he’s still reaching and stretching, rather than resting on his laurels or legend. …

Grayshot_Magno

ALBUM REVIEW: GRAYSHOT, “Borders”

This Minneapolis trio, consisting of two brothers, Aaron (guitars/keys/vocals) and Christian (bass/keys/vocals) Ankrum and Reese Kling (drums) deliver their sophomore effort and I’m liking what I’ve heard – once again, trading on the warm soundscapes of ’80’s synth-pop and veering but never plunging into modern theatre-pop/rock, which is Borders‘ saving grace. “Far From Me” has all the right textures of a great lost China Crisis track – something out of 1982 in all the ways I appreciate – pure ’80’s synth; “Echo” is a little more modern pop friendly, but has enough restraint that it remains a quality song and doesn’t go into bombast and “Opposites” is a sharp, taut, pop song with a capital “pop” (and this track shines with great production) – easily has hit potential by its radio-friendly timbre.  “In Control” has some shades of Joy Division (because of its tempo) but the melody is bright, which would lead it more to a New Order-influenced piece; “Mystery” is another excellent and interesting track, as it starts as an acoustic-strummed number but then …

glenn-morrow

BAR/NONE RECORDS: It Was 30 Years Ago Today – Honestly!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the newly opened Bar/None Records labels shipping its first release, catalogue number AHAON 001. This was the self-titled debut album by Rage To Live, a band led by label founder Tom Prendergast’s good friend, Glenn Morrow, formerly of The Individuals and “a” – the first band to call Maxwell’s home base (the other 3 members of “a” became The Bongos). Rage To Live managed to get on MTV for a moment and garnered some commercial radio support but never got out on the road, because of family and day job commitments. Instead, Glenn managed to convince Tom into making him his partner. His first contribution was a band he’d discovered in a wild and woolly Brooklyn neighborhood with the quaint appellation “Williamsburg,” the act having an even more unlikely name: “They Might Be Giants.” Strangest of all, the band were a huge, immediate success and Bar/None was off to the races! Prendergast recently came across ledger entries that show some of the costs involved with setting up an independent …

12802879_1143430542356123_429233193083978132_n

POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: THESE PEACHES, “So Glad”

This great new video and track comes from Chicago’s These Peaches; “So Glad” is the latest focus from the album Almost Heard The Ocean, which was released in October.  Primarily the vision of Rich Klevgard, this band has a poetic and melodic sense that balances perfectly and this track obviously fits the idea of warmth (which the images and theme of the album exudes). Sit back, watch and let yourself be carried by the waves of music on this terrific track – as supplied by the very fine video below: Almost Heard The Ocean is currently available https://thesepeaches.bandcamp.com/album/almost-heard-the-ocean

VanessaForero1

E.P. REVIEW: VANESSA FORERO, “From The Uproar”

This British-born (with Colombian lineage) singer songwriter makes her initial bow with a self-financed E.P. called From The Uproar.  Five songs deep, this is a wonderfully rich collection of songs that immediately leave you wanting more.  Having had another two lives as a composer for television and movies AND as a best-selling author in Britain, it’s nice to see she’s putting herself in the spotlight with her incredible voice and melodic sensibilities. “Heaven Knows” has a hypnotic acoustic riff, rooted in South American flavors but has all the elements of radio friendliness; “Same Boat” is a rollickingly warm, catchy piece – again, employing the “native” feel of her Colombian roots; “I’ll Be Wrong Again” is a sweet and emotionally touching piece with its delicate melody and lyrics of a broken heart.  “Raven” is a vividly colorful piece; Ms. Forero’s vocals shine by showing her (quite dynamic) range and “Anhela” is sung in Spanish and is slow, silky and simply lovely. Every now and then, it’s a pleasure for me to get out of my usual …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ALBUM REVIEW: EAST OF VENUS, “Memory Box”

This release makes me alternately happy and sad.  Happy because of who the musicians are; knowing them as well as I do from their amazing work (and actually knowing some of them) and sad because of losing one of their members before this album saw the light of day.  I take a great deal of solace in knowing that Omnivore Records has seen to preserve the legacy of East Of Venus with Memory Box, which is simply beautiful – as it will become timeless in your hearts and minds upon hearing. To give you a brief background on East Of Venus – they were (I hate having to use the past tense) Michael Carlucci (Winter Hours), Glenn Mercer (The Feelies, Wake Ooloo), Stan Demeski (The Feelies, Luna) and Rob Norris (The Bongos, Living With Elephants – who was reviewed here on Popdose). The music is a wonderful mixing and melding from all of those bands, but still is their own. The album features original material, as well as covers of The Red Buckets’ “Jane September,” …

Around the Soul of Daniel Grinberg in Five Questions

Just when you think you’ve heard everything there is to hear in pop, along comes Daniel Grinberg. His new album, Short Stories, is the kind of audio journey that takes the listener from wherever he or she is and sonically transports him or her to a completely different realm, one where speech is replaced by song and where emotions emanate audibly. If that sounds like purple prose, you obviously haven’t heard Grinberg’s stuff. (But you will at the end of this post.) It’s no wonder, then, that we were clamoring to grill Grinberg on his decision to devote his life to his music and leave behind his past in the world of tech. Here’s what he had to say. 1. Everyone has a turning point. What was it that made you say “I want to be a musician”? I don’t think anybody decides to be a musician. It is something that happen and you cannot avoid. Music is part of you, and you are part of it. It is not necessarily by playing an instrument. It is by …

PB1A7661web-e1443793635100

ALBUM REVIEW: PETER BUCK, “Warzone Earth”

Good thing I didn’t let this one slip through the cracks.  This guy just doesn’t slow down – rocking harder than before and belting out ballsy numbers as if he’d led a band all his life.  I mean, he did – except not as the frontman, but as the guitarist who influenced an entire generation.  And on this, his third solo album, the aptly-titled Warzone Earth, Buck’s taking no prisoners. “It Ain’t Killing Me” is a high octane, full-throttle rock spitter that Buck unleashes with his deadpan vocal style and it just kicks hard and fast; “World Spins Around You” features Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy’s lead vocal and is gentle and emotionally charged and “Gun Shaped Heart” is an instant Stooges-styled classic with a clever chord structure of minor chords bouncing off the poppier major notes. “Saturday Sunday Monday” has a complete Jesus & Mary Chain/Velvets feel, awash in noise and heavy fuzz and yet, by virtue of the lyrics, it’s a sad and mournful track and “I Hate My Life And The Way I Live” …

Music in Motion: How Chris Wirsig Sets the Scene in Films and Video Games

In music’s new frontier, one genre stands as what might become the hottest (and quite possibly only) way to make a living as a creator: video games. Despite Germany’s Chris Wirsig’s classical training, he’s been able to carve out a nice piece of the artistic pie for himself as the composer of music and sound effects for projects like “Alien Tribe 2,” a top-10 iPad game. Now, he’s brought his talent creating ambient and electronic sounds to the soundtrack world for the short mystery film, 20 Matches. We just had to know more about Wirsig’s diverse career and how he got into composing for video games and film. He took a second out of his insanely busy schedule and indulged us. 1. What’s your favorite thing about creating? What inspires you? I really like the whole of the creative process – from the writing of a song, arranging it, to mixing, and finishing the production. It all adds up to the creation of atmosphere and emotion in a musical piece. And I don’t think too …

12390941_10207996636654525_1853709471113494700_n

POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: DAVID FAGAN, “Glorious Night”

Originally the driving force behind the Jersey Shore’s Snowball 37, this wonderful new track has been released by David Fagan, songwriter/singer extraordinaire.  The album Declasse, from Snowball 37, was a Popdose favorite, but unfortunately the band is currently on hiatus.  However, Mr. Fagan’s been hard at it, writing a slew of new material and here is one very fine sample of his newest works.  Bouncy and joyful – like a cynical Lovin’ Spoonful – “Glorious Night” is a perfect example of good time music. And because this is such a catchy track, we’re very pleased to bring it to you.  So please enjoy David Fagan’s “Glorious Night”.  

Real-Life Puppet Pat Campo’s Pop Passion – And Where It Came From

Lots of musicians claim the title of “artist,” but few really walk the walk. Pat Campo, pop/rock artist from Los Angeles, lives the credo so devoutly, however, that he has a stand-in puppet for his films. As Campo says, “People can find my picture online, and there’s no harm in that. That’s just not what I’m selling.” What he is selling, however, is a sound that, while reminiscent of bands like All-American Rejects, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and recent radio darlings Walk the Moon, is all Campo’s own. His loving care — nay, curation of his craft is evident in every note. His latest release, Clouds In My Head is full of that melodic pop that gets stuck in your head and sounds consistently fresh, no matter the year. It’s not hard to see why Campo was named one of Music Connection’s Hot 100 Unsigned Artists in 2012. It’s a title clearly that still applies today. With such a cool sound, we were dying to know more about where Campo’s influences lie. Here are …

BN-LF135_emittr_G_20151111144640

ALBUM REVIEW: EMITT RHODES, “Rainbow Ends”

There has been a great deal written/talked/whispered about the long-awaited, highly-anticipated return of Emitt Rhodes, with good reason.  His long-out-of-print albums (four, from the early ’70’s) are considered musical prizes to those lucky enough to have them; his songwriting, performances and production styles are almost other-worldly and because he stopped releasing new music in 1973, the myth surrounding him has grown exponentially. There’s more than enough ample history available to read up on Mr. Rhodes and the past; what led to his abandonment of recording, etc., so I’ll leave you to find the details on your own.  What is important is the fact that he has indeed released a brand new album of all new material and it IS worth the advance buzz, hyperbole, etc.  Because it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by – Emitt Rhodes still has it.  That indescribable ability to construct a song with feel, refinement, melody and words that provoke thought.  It’s as if no time has passed by virtue of that alone. The title cut, “Rainbow Ends” is …

The Five Songs That Shaped Vein’s Pop-Infused EDM Sound

Miami EDM/pop artist and producer Vein, otherwise known as Gavriel Rafael Aminov, counts Pitbull, Ashanti, Belinda, Enrique Iglesias, J Balvin, Jay Sean, Leona Lewis, Red Foo (LMFAO) and Robin Thicke as clients and collaborators. He’s toured the world and been nominated for a Grammy. Now, with his new single, “I Feel It,” Vein is finally making sure his name — along with his signature sound — is synonymous with his brand of music. We wanted to find out more about where exactly this sonic chameleon’s inspiration comes from, so we asked him for five songs that influenced his art. Here’s what Aminov said. 1. Bob Sinclar, “World Hold On” “World Hold On” was the record that allowed me to see how big the world really was. I was a bouncer at a club called Mansion in South Beach at the time, and when Bob Sinclair played, the reaction I saw from the crowd was polarizing! 2. The Notorious B.I.G, “Hypnotize” “Hypnotize” was the first song I ever memorized. I was able to sing the whole …

Man Unleashed: Paul Maged is Back With a “Wild” New Single

Back in 2014, I told you about Paul Maged, a socially conscious rocker with an edge and a bone to pick. His new single, “The Wild,” kicks it up a big ol’ notch and finds Maged at a loss, exploring the moment when a human loses the ability to reason and lets rage and emotion take over. Maged as the narrator takes on a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona — someone who knows he’s completely out of control but can do nothing about it. And, to be honest, it doesn’t really sound like he wants to. From your average rocker, the track would be enough of a head trip, but from someone like Maged who has a history of striving to raise social awareness and shove a mirror in front of the populus’ face, it’s obvious that it’s coming from a deep, dark place. Hopefully the whole world takes heed — who knows what Maged will do next. Get more Paul Maged on Facebook.

Utah’s Larusso Catches a “Fever” In New Video

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for pop-punk. I would go so far to say one of my favorite bands ever is Green Day. So when a band takes that hybrid genre, melds it with genuine rock, and stirs in a lot of high energy, it’s like hitting the jackpot. Larusso, a four-person rock outfit from Utah, is just that band. Recalling mid-2000s bands like Yellowcard, All-American Rejects, Sum 41, and even throwing back to groups like the Offspring, Larusso cashes in on the pop-punk revival, but reinterprets the sound in a way that’s wholly 2016. Take their new music video for “Fever,” a hallucinatory trip into one man’s dream world narrated by the quartet. Not only will the song be stuck in your head for days (trust me), you’ll want to watch this professional-quality masterpiece over and over. Check it out below, and stream “Fever” on SoundCloud. Larusso will be touring throughout 2016 are currently prepping a new album for release. Keep up with these heatseekers on Facebook.

Freakwater_Header_2

ALBUM REVIEW: FREAKWATER, “Scheherazade”

Not new to any scene; in fact, been missing in action for over a decade, Freakwater return with their new album, Scheherazade.  A crushing, 12-track collection, this album sees and hears the off-kilter harmonies of Janet Bean and Catherin Irwin, who have been doing this since 1989.   Although they eschew any kind of classifications (rightfully so), their country-fied flavor/twang/vibe immediately send chills right up the spine of the fortunate listener as those voices blend beautifully and the music (sometimes deliberately understated) carries you away. “The Asp and the Albatross” is one such track, filled with a wrenching that you just can’t put your finger on; “What The People Want” starts off in such a deliciously sinister way; dark and swampy and then the vocals – always that little bit disjointed – wrap you up tightly and makes you feel it and “Take Me With You” just makes you ache from those voices and that gentle acoustic guitar.  The only word that applies is exquisite. “Velveteen Matador” sounds like it walked right out of 1968 Nashville; …