I’ve had a chance to listen to a lot of Sirius XM radio lately, and in my listening binge I have found myself on the Alt Nation channel much of the time. On it, Bear Hands, an Indie Rock/Punk band formed in Brooklyn a decade ago, has found much play with a song called “2 a.m.” from the band’s 2016 studio album You’ll Pay for This. The song is just one in a vast library of excellent music Bear Hands has released since its first LP was introduced to the listening populace in 2010. Let’s explore two of Bear Hands’ most popular songs.
“Agora,” an ode to the phobia that shares the prefix, is a jaunty, paranoid song with fragmented guitar, pleading harmonies, and a spooky key motif. With the repetition of agora in the verse it almost sounds like the band is the music video’s protagonist’s deranged mind. Oh, and the song is pretty awesome too; a sub-3-minute ditty that hits the ears hard and sticks.
“2 a.m.” has marked differences that demonstrate the band’s multifarious skill. The song is more methodical in its pace, featuring slow keys and muffled drums. The vocals reflect the instrumentation; at times they even some strained and depressed. The song serves a wonderful contrast to “Agora” and other fast-paced Bear Hands songs, and the slowed down style is impressive. It also reflects the lyrics, which sings of getting older.
You can find out more about Bear Hands at the band’s website
You can present a cavalcade of incredible instrumentation, and I will still say that nothing beats tradition vocal harmony. I can listen to traditional doo-wop for hours, for that 1950-60s vocal groove is so beautifully infectious. Thus, when I stumbled upon The Koi Boys audition for The Voice AU and their version of Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass,” I nearly fell off my couch. The Koi Boys are superstars of vocal harmonies. Don’t believe me. Listen to this.
Link to Performance of “Sh-Boom”
I’ve always been partial to “Sh-Boom” by The Chords. I wrote about the song all the way back in March of 2013, and you can check out that post here. The song is a ear-dwelling ditty, and by ear-dwelling, I mean it takes up residence in your ear and rents an extended stay room with a kitchen. “Sh-boom,” sh-booms your head. The Koi Boys put such a wonderful spin on the piece, that it is hard not to fall in love with the classic over and over again.
In what will probably surpass the 100,000 view mark (and more) before one knows it, The Koi Boys cover of Trainor’s funky piece even displays the voices in the band more. Each vocalist has a unique style, from Frank Sinatra croon to hip-hop smoothness to true vocal power. This makes for a three-headed vocal monster that can take down any room, like they took down The Voice stage during their performance.
Keep up with the Koi Boys at their webiste or follow the band on Twitter and Facebook
I’ve got another great release for you all from a good friend of the Music Court, Christoffer Øien and his Future Sounds. The new single, which was released on the first of this month, is the perfect way to break away from the long winter in both Norway and New York – you see, Øien, as always, his international appeal. “Reach” is carried by a steady chord progression and a lightly plucked melody. The verse finds Øien’s sultry voice utilizing a Colin Hay-like tone that sounds analogous to a nicely steamed latte or a perfect Spring day. Øien is not afraid to bounce his voice up to a falsetto once or twice and this serves as a perfect complement to the crashing drums of the drums. Shout out also to the excellent melody in the chorus and dulcet strings. “Reach” also features a slide guitar solo interlude that fits snugly into this multifarious release.
As has been stated several times now on this blog, Christoffer Øien and the Future Sounds are an exciting band creating exciting music, and you should be listening to them!
Take one listen to Cali Blake, and listeners will be flooded with soul and a dark finesse. Hailing from New Orleans, female singer/songwriter presents a mixture of heartfelt songs, poignant narratives, and elements of the dark turn of love as well from the album Cicadas In The Sun. Those who are fans of female musicians who are self-reflective, while still making a conscious effort to connect with the audience will have Cali Blake on repeat in their play list. Some examples of such lyrics, from the track High include “string you about like broken Christmas lights, and when I breathe you in/that’s how it all begins”. Whether you have had that relationship that you want to hold on to or otherwise, Blake’s lyrics set themselves up for multi-faceted interpretations.
For more listening:
With an upbeat-club like ambient sound starting off the track, Falling, Totemic puts the listener right into a futuristic experience. Performing at well-known festivals in Eastern Canada, their roster list of credits include Harvest, All Stars, OM, and Solstice. Amidst the musical scene that Toronto has to offer, Totemic’s unique fusion between electronic and futuristic sound sets them up for musical success. Set to release May 17th, tracks of the Falling EP, include a combination of violin with the heavily synthed and EDM undertones. In addition to an impressive impact within the festival scene, Totemic has also performed with Daega Sound, Funk Hunters, and Gremlinz. Fans of EDM music, sounds of the future, and experimental artists, Totemic will have you experiencing something new and unfamiliar to your ears.
For more listening: