No Vacancy

21 Nov

Liza AnneWriting just the title of a song can be a very crucial display of your artistry. Most songs have obvious names, clearly so that a listener may be able to remember it later to look it up and buy it on iTunes. But some bands take a different, but equally tame approach, naming their song something tangentially related or clever. Of Montreal takes the cake for throwing all naming conventions out the window, but my favorite titles are the misnomers. The best example of this is Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You”; the lyrics are actually the exact opposite of how callous the track’s name may suggest: “No one’s gonna love you more than I do.” This is so brilliant, so casually passionate. Liza Anne makes her own mark with “Room.”

Especially after my obsession with Glasser’s most recent album full of ideas of physical space, Interiors, I initially assume Liza Anne’s single is a place, an area of her home that perhaps she has felt emotion that she’ll share in the lyrics. Emotion she shares, but the room she speaks of is not tangible. “I shoulda known you didn’t want me, you didn’t have any room to want me,” she accuses. This “room” is an assessment of space, but there is none left. Contrary to what I assumed from the title, there is no room.

“Room” will have a digital release on December 16th. Check out more information on Liza Anne on her website.

Just for Kids: Sadako by Fairchild

20 Nov

It’s springtime in Australia, so winter’s most energetic music is going to come from that area for the next few months. First, I’ve found Fairchild, who provide power pop that is the appropriate amount of fun and drama to their lyrics. Their first single is “Arcadia,” with a funky accompanying video.

Where the toe-tapping rhythm meets drama in “Arcadia,” the rest of Fairchild’s latest EP, Sadako, follows suit. It builds into anthemic choruses, but something feels so familiar in them; I am reminded of the powerful chords on Coldplay’s Parachutes. “Outside” is nostalgic, but not for the past, for the present. It is full of emotion, as is what I find the strongest track on the EP, “Waiting For It”. The buzzing guitars and horse-trot rhythm; then the anthemic chorus comes in, meant to be whispered rather than shouted.

I also would like to share the story behind the title of their EP:

‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes’ was a book written by American author Eleanor Coerr and tells the story of a Japanese girl who was two years old when the devastating Hiroshima atomic bomb was dropped. She became very ill and was told of the legend if you make 1,000 paper cranes it can make you better. Feeling inspired by this story, a friend of vocalist Adam Lyons made him 1,000 paper cranes for good luck while he was at university. They hang above his bedroom, where the band recorded and produced the EP.”

I remember reading this book as a kid. I remember wanting to have those cranes hanging in my room. I picked up origami shortly after, but never with enough enthusiasm to make one thousand of anything. This was definitely a daydream I’ve had, where I would fold day and night until I had completed the task, and I would hang each one carefully from the ceiling, making sure to make them varying heights, as if they were all part of a flock mid-flight. I suppose this EP could be a sonic interpretation of that daydream, this nostalgia.

I have no doubt that Fairchild could be a crossover hit, on both mainstream and independent radio. It’s only a matter of getting people to pay attention.

Fairchild’s Sadako EP is out now. For more information, visit their website.

Snippets of Feeling: an interview with Kathleen Mary Lee

14 Nov

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a delightful new folk artist, Kathleen Mary Lee. I discussed her latest single, “Hours Gone By,” and now she is back with a video for the track. I was also privileged enough to virtually sit down with Kathleen (we were both at computers in our respective homes), and ask her some questions about her music and the new video. Continue reading

Drowning in melody: Marika Hackman releases first single off debut record

9 Nov

Marika HackmanMarika Hackman is a well-kept British secret. Rather, she was a secret to me, and I am happy to have discovered her at this point in her career. So far, “Drown” is the only track released off of Hackman’s upcoming debut album, We Slept at Last; however, she’s released two EPs and a mini-album prior to “Drown,” and I am ready to devour it all. With quiet melodies so gorgeously crafted, it is no surprise that I am left wanting more.

The structure of “Drown” is familiar: slow instrumental intro, enter vocals, enter percussion, bridge, conclusion. As is the case with any truly great music, though, there is a quality in the track that breaks it free of this familiarity. The subtle effects on certain vocals during the verses complement the melody without getting in the way of the rest of the song. Despite the morbid nature of the track, I find myself listening on repeat.

We Slept at Last will be out 2/16 on Dirty Hit; you can pre-order it here. Find more information on Marika Hackman’s website.

Badass Banoffee

8 Nov

BanoffeeAustralia’s done it again with a ridiculously talented young artist. Banoffee hails from Melbourne, origins of the world’s best coffee, and has released a series of impressive singles these past few months. She’s also gone abroad on tour to the US to play in LA one week, then NYC the next, and she already has plans to come back to the city of angels. I don’t think she sleeps.

Martha Brown, or Banoffee, is an old-school strong woman. She is an avid kickboxer who oozes confidence. She writes songs in a tone of voice completely her own, but she refuses to be romantic or tawdry. You could call her songwriting apathetic, but that makes it seem uncaring- instead it is a relatable mix of colloquialisms and indifference, with a whole lot of empowerment thrown in for good measure.

Take Banoffee’s first single, “Ninja.” The track opens up with a loving image of a girlfriend making breakfast out of adoration for her still-asleep partner, insisting that she’d be there when things got tough. Slowly though, she gains her independence. No longer does she want or need someone always there. “It’s funny how things have changed,” she remarks. Electronic bubbles of synth burst around her delicate falsetto, and she becomes more defensive: “I’m a fucking ninja now, I won’t let you bring me down.”

I had the good fortune to catch her set when she played at Culture Collide in LA, and witnessed her way-too-hip dance moves in the flesh. She introduced “Reign Down” and jumped into the lyrics, with the airy rhythm backing her vocals. Then, during the bridge, she danced with more enthusiasm than she did for the rest of the set. Banoffee’s lyrics always feel personal, but never cryptic; “Reign Down” is the epitome of this, as it’s an anecdote on how she has grown after a severed relationship. Later she admitted this was her favorite song to perform, and it is easy to see why.

I highly recommend listening to the other tracks on Banoffee’s debut EP, as I love those tracks even more than the two I’ve discussed here. Buy the EP here. Find more information on her Facebook.

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