Tag Archives: Indie

Y. Dan Rubenstein Weaves Stories of Growth In Single Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix

2 Apr

Y. Dan Rubenstein channels his inner storyteller in the single Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix from his debut album Stolen Moments. Set to release this summer, Rubenstein is already setting a strong foundation with his diverse songs filled with jazz and Latin influence. Yet, do not compartmentalize that sound as Rubenstein intertwines traditional rock arrangements in there as well. Comparable to others within the songwriting space, musicians are taking on the world issues head on by singing about them. Through the song, he points out the themes of resistance and fighting with strong lyrics that fill heavy hearts. “It’s easier to insist than break what you cannot fix” is just one highlight of how he expresses some of the political state of America and how people view it, and promote change. While some may not warm up to hearing about current issues within music, the single expresses a mixture of concern, reflecting, and activism all rolled up into one. Musicians like Y. Dan Rubenstein may not fill your car radio’s playlist day in and day out, but I can picture at a show a whole audience being moved by his activism and musicianship driving the steering wheel of inspiration.

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Mark Peters & The Dark Band Get Their Folk Vibes On With Sum of All Parts

20 Jan

When listeners tune in to Mark Peters & The Dark Band, they will immediately think of the sound of Davey Jones from the band The Monkees. With that in mind, his voice and sound of the group points to the stylistic vibe of that era and this is reflected within the lyrics and musical setup of his songs. Lyrics such as “you’ve been talking me down” will make those who listen think about the messages he’s trying to convey within his music. Half journal entry, half anthem Mark Peters & The Dark Band sings to his audience on a personal level and it shows in a transparent way. The meaning behind all of these songs on the EP all found their purpose back to the band after they finished the album. With the joined efforts of Fabian Natter on Drums, Martin Burtscher on Electric Guitar, Markus Manahl on Bass and Mark Peters singing vocals and playing acoustic guitar, be prepared for all of the realness to hit your core.

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Sebastian O Reveals Rock Sound In Latest Album In Your Room

10 Jun

When taking a listen to In Your Room, one can hear all the beautiful melodies that this Italian musician makes sure to highlight in his music. From the various instruments that make their appearance on the album and the raw and real sound, Sebastian speaks to those who listen with an open mind and open heart. Comparing his vocals to the likes of Conor Oberst, Devendra Banhart, and Turin Brakes, Sebastian carries his strong musicianship with a powerful force. In regards to his writing approach, Sebastian approaches the song writing process as a flow of thoughts leaving the music he creates to be something so much more than just lyrics on a page. Adding no extra editing or tuning makes In Your Room something even more special for listeners wanting to hear original and fresh music. With a different approach than most musicians, listeners should be eagerly awaiting his newest creation.

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Riding a Moon Taxi Two High

14 Jan
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Photo Credit: Harper Smith From L to R: Tyler Ritter, Tommy Putnam, Wes Bailey, Trevor Terndrup, and Spencer Thomson

In the category of bands that finally got their due in 2017 is Moon Taxi, a band that existed prior to the original iPhone but has just now signed on with RCA Records. On the heels of the band’s fifth album (and first on RCA) which will be dropped in less than a week, I figure now, albeit a bit late, is the best time to introduce this five-piece Alt/Indie outfit to a growing world of listeners.

Moon Taxi follows a classic band tale, a piecemeal collection of bandmates through high school, college, and the local music scene. Stationed in music hotbed Nashville, Moon Taxi originally played a variety of music closer to jam rock, and this is where they cut their teeth with their first few releases – hence their casting as opening acts for bands like Gov’t Mule and Umphrey’s McGee. The band transformed with the times, taking on a style emulating the trend in alt/rock, a sound most similar to infectious riffs and creative instrumentation. This is where Moon Taxi found a true comfort zone, and this is reflective of the tracks that one will hear when listening to the new album – Let The Record Play. Already festival darlings, Moon Taxi is soaring to the, well, moon, and perhaps the greatest indication of this meteoric rise is “Two High,” a track that reaches the stars with its optimistic lyric and uplifting sound (count the space references in the previous sentence).

First released back in May, “Two High” has amassed more than 70 million streams on Spotify, which is most certainly in the not too shabby category. It’s success is for good reason also. The song begins with a saturated guitar riff – think brighter X Ambassadors. The vocal features that twangy southern charm that one expects from a Nashville band. The song has a couple of stand-out components that have helped propel it to popularity – one the horn fill in the chorus because everyone likes horns in Alt/Rock music (I’m surprised they are not used more) and second the slowed bridge with drowned percussion. Towards the end there is even some subtle Spanish guitar. It’s a strong track from what will most likely be a strong album.

Moon Taxi is a band you want to keep an eye on in 2018 – it’s time for them to touch the sky.

We Don’t Deserve Everything Now – New Arcade Fire

31 Jul

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Arcade Fire, the uber-eccentric Canadian Indie Rock band, released its fifth studio album last Friday. The album follows the natural progression for Arcade Fire who embraced the dance rock feel with their last LP Reflektor. For Everything Now the band brought in Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and the sound reflects this collaboration.

Arcade Fire and I have a volatile relationship. I embrace a few of their tracks, placing those songs in the rare coterie of “listenable no matter what,” but there are many tracks that just fall flat to me. Hence, I judge Arcade Fire releases accordingly. Everything Now features a few absolute clunkers – dance rock needs to be pretty infectious for me to enjoy it and, well, several of the tracks on this album just don’t do it for me. That said, I will say that Arcade Fire’s focus on lyrics this album was a big success, and I enjoy the theme. The big release is the title track, which serves as the central motif for the album – its melody opens and closes the record. Here is the track below:

Sensationally catchy, right? That melody is toe-tapping goodness. The sampling of “The Coffee Cola Song” by Francis Bebey works well – I always appreciate some well-placed pan flute in music. The song is even electric in lyric – “Every song that I’ve ever heard
is playing at the same time, it’s absurd” – a Delillo-like wall-of-sound image. The song is one of Arcade Fire’s finest since The Suburbs. However, it is not the best song on the album. That is reserved for the song that closes out the album (putting aside the reprisal of the title track).

I’m not sure why “We Don’t Deserve Love” has not received more attention in the critic’s reviews of the album. Perhaps it is the type of song that will grow on listeners. For me, though, the song’s significance hit immediately – this track is Arcade Fire’s most sincere in years – a true testament to the excellent band that Arcade Fire is when it gets down to its Indie roots. The song’s electric rhythm calls to Radiohead’s most recent release – a bit morose but eclectically beautiful. The dulcet and eerie melody reflects the lyric perfectly – a song about trying to persist with a loving connection in a sea of confusion and mixed messages. Consider the lyric below:

The men you love always leave you alone
You hear your mother screaming
You hear your daddy shout
You try to figure it out
You never figure it out
Your mother’s screaming
That you don’t deserve love
If you don’t deserve love
And if I don’t deserve love
Could we deserve?

The string of lyrics are telling and the rhetorical question at the end is so sad but oddly hopeful because who the heck cares if one “deserves” love – love is love – even in the infinite content wasteland portrayed in Arcade Fire’s album. Through its warped melody is clarity and that seems like an eloquent concluding message for the album.

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