Tag Archives: Radiohead

Spines of The Heart Sets Standout Sound For Bryan Diester

22 Feb


Completely setting the dark and mysterious tone for the album Spines of The Heart, Bryan Diester mixes his classical piano training with heavy vocals. Drawing influence from the dark and grungey sounds of 90s grunge, Spines of the Heart sets the tone for deep and reflective listening for listeners. Diester’s musical background shows the variety of music he is capable of performing. He has previously trained in the genres of classical, jazz, blues, and progressive rock.  With spotlighted tracks such as All That I Have and Into The Sky, Diester delivers an overall steady grunge anthem of his own in his album. Citing the great Kurt Cobain as a significant influence, listeners should take note Diester is definitely full of ambition alongside his musical talent, as he currently is studying Writing & Composition at Berklee College of Music.

For more listening:

Magical Mystery of the Day: Idea for a Film

21 Sep

Have you ever wondered what a Jónsi-fronted Radiohead would sound like? Well Idea for a Film, the newest band on the scene, proves that it is very similar to a Thom Yorke-fronted Radiohead, as it turns out, but there is a subtlety to it that makes it very compelling. Listen to the track, “Can’t Sit Still,” below.

Idea for a Film is really just that- an idea. This is their only track and there is so little information on the group that I am not entirely convinced this is a real band. But I am looking forward to whatever may lie ahead, real or fiction.

Keep checking back with their website for more information.

The Wizard of Norway – Christoffer Øien

20 Feb

Christoffer Øien

What kind of music can you expect from a 25-year-old singer/songwriter from a small fishing village in Norway? Did you guess enchanting folk with a hint of haunting strings laid over an enigmatic vocal? You did? Wow, good guess!

Christoffer Øien is a true find, and in a burgeoning musical world, he represents a perspicacious musician with tremendous ability that should be recognized by a global audience. Øien’s music is expansive folk; it mixes the style of some of Joe Purdy’s slower, lugubrious pieces with a mystical Radiohead flavor. The sound is bewitching, and one wants to continue listening to the wizard of Norway.

Let’s take a listen to two songs; the first a disturbing lullaby called “Sandman.”

The song is, well, creepy. It’s creepy in a good way. Øien clearly wants to elicit the feeling of an unsettling lullaby. Øien combines drawn out strings with light keys and acoustic guitar. The music culminates in a beautiful combination of strings that soothe the listener. His lyric is imaginative, and he sings such distinct lines as “it feels like rain, tastes like wine” and “it sounds like pain, but it’s all in my mind” Eerie and oddly enticing.

“The Wizard” begins with a plucked acoustic guitar and transitions to Øien’s unmistakable vocal. The song, like “Sandman” combines several influences, and, in some parts, almost takes the form as a gloomier early Coldplay composition. I can continue to search for Øien’s style in other musicians, but it may be wise to simply describe him as refreshingly original and tell you all to listen to more of his first album, Monster.

Check out his website, Facebook

Rocking Babies to Sleep…Musically!

11 Dec

Beatles Baby

Let’s face it, babies just do not understand good music. While we adults turn on Beatles’ tunes and pretend we are Paul or John, babies are content with any mellifluous sound that distracts them from the poop they just made in their diapers. Why pick any old pleasant sound, when you can show your baby what “good music” is before they even have the opportunity to grow up and shriek at some teen idol with meticulously practiced dance moves and vocal manipulation?

Meet Rockabye Baby, an extraordinarily creative music project that since 2006 has created CDs of instrumental lullaby versions of popular rock bands. Since the first releases in 2006 (Coldplay, Metallica, and Radiohead), Rockabye Baby has put out nearly 50 albums, the latest a tribute to U2. So, parents, here is the perfect opportunity to introduce babies to “Enter Sandman” without traumatizing them. “Enter Sandman” goes from advising babies to ignore the voices they hear from the beasts under their bed, closet, and head, to an instrumental that, while also rather freaky, is significantly more baby-friendly than Kirk Hammett’s guitar. Hammett, by the way, bought the Metallica version of Rockabye Baby for his son.

Not a Metallica fan. No worries. Bathe your baby with Beatles music. Here is a lullaby version of “All You Need is Love.”

I am caught between singing along and falling asleep. The version is just…so…relaxing. I *yawn* think I am going to just rest my eyes for a little bit. Forget about the baby, I want this as the soundtrack of my nighttime snooze. A parent (supposing the lyric is appropriate) can sing the song to their baby while rocking them to bed. “All You Need is Love” is certainly appropriate. I might not suggest singing the lyrics to the rendition of “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd. Even though the baby may not understand what you are saying quite yet, it is probably unwise to alert them of the lunatic in the hall.

The Pink Floyd CD (and The Beatles) will certainly be in my future child’s music collection. Start them young, right? Don’t laugh, a child’s impressionable ears are a horrible thing to waste. My father would play “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt when I was a baby. I consider it one of most incredible pieces of music I have ever heard. It was hardwired into my fledgling brain!

Talking about Rhapsody, why not introduce your baby to Queen. The lullaby version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” may be the best of all the albums.

Buy the CDs at Rockabye Baby.

Elijah Behar and Hollow Body

29 May

Elijah Behar

What happens when you combine influences like The Doors and the Velvet Underground with Radiohead, then stir the concoction with soulful singer-songwriter’s Jose Gonzalez and Leonard Cohen, and then top it off with a taste of modern electronica. Well you certainly get an intriguing blend of experimental folk, and Elijah Behar, a 22-year-old Californian musician now living in Los Angeles, has proven that such a blend of influences can not only work but also flourish.

Elijah released a solo EP entitled Hollow Body in April (which can be downloaded for free on his bandcamp page), and I do not hesitate in saying that this five-track release is fresh and exciting. His deep, lush voice invokes the engaging baritone of The National’s lead singer,  folk powerhorse Matt Berninger, and it also features a sensual quality like Jim Morrison himself. The voice suits the music perfectly as expressed in the first track on Hollow Body, “Black Sage.”

I had the opportunity to interview Elijah through e-mail where I asked him about his influences, music, and future. Before I post our conversation, I want to pull out one apt comment he made when asked about the creation of “Black Sage”

My aim for a track like Black Sage and the whole EP in general was to do only as much production as the song needed to deliver its full impact. I have been involved with projects that get produced and “perfected” to the point where the songs turn sterile and lifeless. On this EP I wanted to start with an acoustic guitar and a voice and build elements around those two instruments that simply compliment the original intention of the song.

Here is “Black Sage”

I would stress to Elijah that what he is doing here is what he should continue doing. The haunting piece features this dark acoustic riff that mixes with his slippery voice that is almost surreptitious and devilish. The song shifts at 1:30 into a Radiohead-like keyboard riff that purposefully lags with the percussion. The following echo is just a total mindscrew. The effects are well done. It is a treat to listen to Elijah manipulate the music and I think this has a shot to be the title track on full LP.

Here is the rest of the interview:

1) When did you first start writing and recording tunes?

 I started playing music at 14 and by the end of high school I was writing, recording and playing with a handful of bands in my hometown, Ojai, CA.

 2.) When you were growing up who were some of your biggest influences and how did those musicians shape you?

Growing up my biggest influences were The White Stripes, The Doors, and The Velvet Underground; pretty much the basic rock and roll package. Over the last few years I have become a diehard Radiohead fanatic (post OK computer), and have been loving more direct singer-songwriters like Jose Gonzalez, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Elliot Smith. I also love electronic musicians like Modeselektor and Aphex Twin. These musicians continue to shape how I approach songwriting and performance.

3.) Is Hollow Body your first release? What were you trying to accomplish with the songs?

Hollow Body is my first solo release but definitely not my first project. I put out an album with the rock band I fronted, Marquee (www.marquee.bandcamp.com) a year ago, and have released a few other projects before that.

With Hollow Body, my goal was to define myself as a musician who combined the raw intensity of rock with the emotional honesty and directness of a more stripped down form, like folk music. I would define my genre as Experimental Folk.

4.) What is your favorite part about recording music?

My favorite part of recording music is towards the end of mixing where I feel like I can finally let go of the material that has bouncing around my skull for months. It’s a relief to have the music exist outside of me.

5.) I always ask this and it is often the most difficult question. If you had a chance to have record a session with three musicians (alive or dead) who would they be and why?

If I could have a recording session with anyone live or dead it would be with any members of Radiohead and Nigel, their producer. Actually I would be happy just bringing them coffee and cooking for them while they recorded new material.

 6.) What is in the future for Elijah Behar?

 In the immediate future, I will continue playing shows in and around LA, make some music videos, and record some demos of new material I have written since Hollow Body was released. Beyond that, I hope to tour the west coast as soon as possible, and I have been meeting with some heavy hitters in the music industry (can’t mention names) who want to help me expand.

One more song for you and then I urge you to check out his Facebook for more details.

A pretty standard folk tune that accentuates Elijah’s killer voice. Good luck to him!

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