Tag Archives: Indie

Eddie Yang Encompasses Soulful Sound With Split The Night

17 Mar

Eddy Yang debuts with his newest single Split the Night and it encompasses everything one could think of when thinking of an artist with soul power. The sound of his music can only be characterized as reflective, yet has a full and folk inspired rhythm. Influenced by a wide variety of artists ranging from Beach House to Kanye West, Yang gives himself just a start into a peek in his debut upon the indie music scene. Eddy Yang proves himself as an indie musician who gives listeners a raw and full sound destined for greatness in the future.

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It’s a Sin to Live So Well – “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger

16 Jul

The plethora of one-hit wonders that exist in the wide world of 20th and 21st century music is indicative of just how hard it is to hit success twice as a band or musician. It is somewhat analogous to striking gold twice. This makes the multi-level houses of gold that could have been constructed by the Beatles or Michael Jackson all the more impressive. That said, this section is about one-hit wonders, and we are going back to the 1990s, an era that spawned long lists of the one-off greats for this song.

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Before we get into “Flagpole Sitta,” let me clarify that a one-hit wonder does not mean that the band broke up directly after the release of the song. On the contrary, as is the case of Harvey Danger, the band played together for 15 years, released three albums, and performed a large amount of shows. A one-hit wonder indicates that a band/singer found wide-ranging chart success with only one track, and that was “Flagpole Sitta,” the alt/punk classic that exposed the mainstream alt/punk/grunge scene, as impacted by Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

“Flagpole Sitta,” and, in larger part, the album it is housed on Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone is a true indie success story. Initially released on an independent label based in Oregon called Arena Rock Recording Company. “Flagpole Sitta” was recognized as the awesome song it is, and it started seeing airplay all over. The band had sent demos of all the songs on the album to music industry professionals, including Slash records, in 1996, and Slash ended up re-releasing the album, cementing the album and its lead track as a 1990s staple and, now, best hits collection item.

What makes the song so good? It’s angry. The song doesn’t let up. It starts with a rising guitar riff that blends into Sean Nelson’s pleading vocals. The chorus is a amalgamation of yelling harmonies and a crashing instrumental. The lyric reflects the potency of the rhythm effectively; it is a catharsis of frustration and candor (“been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding”). The song also has a timeless quality (even with the reference to ‘zines and Rage Against the Machine). It is a excellent portrayal of societal angst that uses a head-banging, toe-tapping instrumental that pumps the tune on repeat in your head for hours.

Before I end this post, it would be averse if I did not mention the passing of the founding bassist Aaron Huffman who died in March of this year of respiratory failure. Rest in peace.

Stuck In My Head — Bear Hands

30 May

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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

Music Palace – Rival Sons, Adam Sullivan and the Trees

28 Feb

I must proclaim that I am a little late to the game with both Rival Sons and Adam Sullivan and the Trees. I first heard about both bands back in 2014, and, well, there they sat on my list of bands to write about for around two years. Since then, though, both bands have continued their drive to the top of their respective genres, creating excellent music that, if you have not heard of yet, you should have (and you will now).

 

Rival Sons

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Hard Rock is tough to come by these days. And, no, I’m not talking about the loud, “hard rock” proto-punk sound that occasionally serves as a substitute to traditional hard rock. I’m talking about Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer 1960s/1970s hard rock that took blues music and shaped it into a driving sound that rocked the socks off of my parent’s generation. Lucky for listeners today, Rival Sons is doing just that. Much in the vein of modern bands like The Sheepdogs and Gary Clark Jr., Rival Sons is creating old-style rock n’ roll music with a keen blues sound, driving percussion, and raspy vocals. This is not going unnoticed. The Californian band, which formed back in 2009,  was handpicked to be the main support for the entire Black Sabbath farewell world tour. That’s a high compliment from one of the originators of the genre.

Released in 2014, on the 4th studio album from the band – Great Western Valkyrie – “Open My Eyes” was a large reason why the album reached #1 on the US Heat charts as well as charting in several European countries. Hit play on that track and tell me it does not sound like you just lightly placed the needle down on an LP. The crashing percussion and satiating riff – purveyed by Mike Miley and Scott Holiday respectively – are jaw-dropping. Lead vocalist Jay Buchanan belts the vocals from the first note, calling forth comparisons to Paul Rodgers and Lou Gramm. Dave Beste provides a solid bass guitar to round out the quartet. The song even features a Bad Compary-esque acoustic interlude. This is a tremendous release from an up-and-coming band, and I cannot wait to hear more from them.

Adam Sullivan and the Trees

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After years as a solo artist, Adam Sullivan needed some more roots to shape his music career, so he recruited some NYC trees and started making music with them. The result? Adam Sullivan and the Trees, a four-piece Indie/Folk/Pop outfit whose music relies on catchy melodies, dulcet rhythms, and, according to the Facebook page, halal food and whiskey. The band, which consists of Adam Sullivan (keys, vocals), Mason Ingram (drums), Rob Ritchie (guitars), and Zack Lober (bass), formed in 2013 and since then released a self-titled LP (2014) and Live and Acoustic album (2015).

“Cool Kids” – the live version – is off of the band’s most recent 2015 release. It is a ditty in every traditional sense. The band describes its genre as happy/sad music, and this song encompasses that genre perfectly. Ostensibly, it is a melodic acoustic track with pleasant vocals and cheery instrumentation; the lyrics, though, are about trying to fit in with the cool kids and are, well, sad; however, the lyrics fit perfectly with the track and in that are successful.

Monks of Mellonwah – Disconnect EP Review

9 Sep

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Following the release of their debut LP last year and accompanying U.S. support tour, exciting Australian band Monks of Mellonwah are back with a brand new EP and Stateside trip to boot.

The alternative quartet has just released ‘Disconnect’ with seven new tunes. It follows a stunning few years for the band, as they took home awards in 2012, for International Rock Band of the Year and Best Indie Rock Band at the LA Music Awards and AIM Awards, respectively. Now though, with Grammy-nominated involved in the production alongside band member Joseph de la Hoyde and A&R Worldwide’s Monte Malone and Sat Bisla producing, they have bigger goals to achieve in the upcoming 12 months.

While 2014 album ‘Turn the People’ was an eagerly-anticipated release after years of promise, ‘Disconnect’ seems them aim to step up through the gears ever so slightly. Opener to the EP, “Never Been Good”, is a bouncy pop tune with a crunchy drum beat in the background built for the live arena and getting audience members to clap along. It’s a strong start and a good pre-cursor of what is to come.

Lead single “Even When It Burns”, is the highlight of the new collection of songs, it has an electrifying guitar riff that accompanies some haunting vocals; as electro-pop goes it’s catchy and has that haunting quality to it. Having listened to it a few times now, it has that essential ‘sticking’ factor, hours after listening to it, you’ll remember its familiar melodies and the chorus of ‘Even when it burns/ the simple things that I know I have learnt’, will be going round and round in your head!

“Show Me Something” has a building quality to it too, that drives the pace slowly but surely with a piano and drum kit. It has a dance music vibe to it too, with echoes of Chris Martin of Coldplay’s falsetto vocals on show too. It probably epitomises what the band are about perfectly in a three-minute pop song- with impressive vocals, catchy drumming and crisp production sound.

And that’s one half down, “Interlude” connects us through to the title track, “Disconnect”, in a Muse-style of theatrics. I’m instantly reminded of The Fray when the song kicks in, but the song develops into more of a love-lorn ballad with a pulsing electronic riff beneath it. It’s a warm, emotive song that strips back a lot of the bouncy tunes before it, and shows the lyrical warmth of the Monks song-writing.

In stark contrast, “Look At Me” opens with a Nile Rodgers-esque spiky guitar riff, throws in some ska drumming and the vocals of British band Don Broco, and a perfect song is made. It feels as though it is a song to be listened to only when the sun is blazing in the afternoon, cloudless sky, and an ice-cold beverage is in hand. It could be argued the song is a bit stagnant in how it really doesn’t develop and maintains that riff throughout, but when a song is this catchy (and yes that’s a word that has been used throughout this review, for good reason!), can you blame it for not going anywhere else?

And that’s almost the end of the road, with closer “Feel It Coming” signalling the end of a short dash of an EP. It is another familiar tale of a journey that sees the band build and build and build to a satisfying musical climax. This sounds as close to an emo-pop-punk as the band manage, with drums that belong to a heavier band during the breakdown late on. But it leaves food for thought, as that’s a possible direction the Monks could eventually take their music perhaps?

All in all, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not “Disconnect” can help the Monks of Mellonwah make that jump up to the top step in terms of musical quality or not. It sounds exceptionally well produced and is diverse enough to suggest that there’s something in the Australians. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out in the future for this promising collective.

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