Thursday, April 29, 2010

Golden Bones

I find it really hard to believe that there is no Southern Rock tag on Jamendo!  However, here we are - without any southern rock from my favourite free music website.  I didn't want to give up without a fight though; luckily, the blog A Truer Sound put out a "Free Album Alert" on a really great album.

That album is a self-titled effort put forth by Golden Bones.  It's not exactly southern rock, but it's not pure country either.  It is, however, very good.  It's your standard Americana-type music, complete with typical songs about girls (see Laureline and Adeline), and other things related to the south / the country (see Beatin' a Dead Horse and Bearskin Rug).

I don't have a favourite track for this album, but I am really liking My Kind.  Overall, I find that the lead singer's voice sounds a lot like James Taylor, and the music sounds like something Taylor might play as well.  A Truer Sound likened Golden Bones to groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America, and older country rock in general.  I would have to wholeheartedly agree!

Check out the above link to stream or download Golden Bones.

Evel Kneiser

Joey Kneiser is not, in fact, a dare devil, but I thought his name was similar enough to merit a reference to Knievel.

Yesterday I wrote about the group for which Kneiser is lead singer, Glossary.  Where Glossary's album, The Better Angels of Our Nature, is a great example of what southern rock should sound like, Kneiser's solo effort is a bit of a departure from that sound.

There are still some elements of southern rock in The All-Night Bedroom Revival, it's mostly a quieter album full of acoustic tracks.  I am associating it with more of a reflective album, but to be honest I haven't paid much attention to the lyrics - I could be way off, is what I'm saying.  It really DOES sound like a reflective album, though, but that's probably because acoustic solo albums tend to be that way.

I am slightly disappointed in the album, but not because it's of poor quality.  I was expecting something a little closer to Glossary's sound, and I wasn't really prepared for an album with a downer kind of sound.  That momentary disappointment did not stop me from picking a favourite track, however.  That honour goes to The Big Ocean.  I like the story behind it, and the music that Kneiser plays beneath it.

Free Albums Galore compared Kneiser's sound to Tom Petty - and that's not far off.  It's a good album and I think you should spend some time listening to Joey Kneiser and Glossary.

I think I'm going to try and find some more southern rock for the rest of the week!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Clavis is a Synonym for Glossary

I thought I'd try my hand at clever titles for my posts this week.  I don't think I have the knack for it right now, to be honest.  I like the word Clavis, though I doubt I'd use it in regular speech.

Which brings us to its synonym: Glossary.  A while back, Free Albums Galore linked to a solo album by Joey Kneiser, who happens to be the lead singer of Glossary.  I haven't listened to that solo album yet, because I wanted to get a little background listening in first, which led me to Glossary's album, The Better Angels of Our Nature.

I knew going in that the style was going to be a sort of southern rock with a little country flavour.  That's how Kneiser's album was described, and from all I read Glossary plays a similar sound.  I am a fairly big fan of southern rock, and I believe my top artist in that genre would be Matt Mays (and the now defunct El Torpedo).  Listening to Angels of Our Nature, I was not disappointed.

This is some solid stuff from the beginning.  It didn't even take me 5 tracks to get into it, as I was hooked from the very first note.  It's always hard for me to pick a favourite track when I listen to an album for the first time, because they're all so fresh to me that they all sound equally fantastic.  I mean, Only Time Will Tell was a very good song, encapsulating the southern rock feel perfectly.  To be honest, I haven't finished listening to the album while I type this; even so, Shout It From the Rooftops is standing out as the best thus far.  The instrumentation in it is phenomenal.  However, I'm going to just hold on for a little bit before continuing the write-up while the rest of the album plays.

Yeah, definitely Rooftops is the stand-out track for me.  Chase Me Out of The Dark is a close second, though.  That said, the entire album is very good.  The vocals, the gritty guitar solos - it all fits together to make a fantastic album.  If Joey Kneiser's solo album is half as good as this, I know I've got another great album coming up next.

If you're interested in the latest from Glossary, check out Feral Fire - it's available to buy on Amazon and iTunes.  It's supposed to have a little R&B infused into it, so it sounds interesting.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snow

Did anyone else wake up to snow this morning?  I mean - snow, at the end of April?  Seriously?

Anyway, I'm working away at this week's blog posts.  By working away I mean finally listening to a boatload of music I had sent to my inbox.  I thought until then, I would find something related to snow.

What I've found is quite different from my usual links.  It's some classical music by composer Terry Snow.  The album is called Theme and Variations for Strings.  It's a short album, only 4 tracks long - a Classical EP, if you will.  It's very good, and in fact reminds me of something I might hear in a movie score.

The first track, Allegro: Life sounds like it should be in a thriller.  Actually, they all sound like they should be part of a thriller of some kind.  Larghetto: Love is quite clearly a love track, but there's a hint of some other action going on in the background.  I think it's almost like someone is dying, and in their throes are proclaiming their love.  Or something like that.  At other points it sounds more like someone has just been killed when they weren't supposed to be.  Does that make sense?

Cantabile: Dream is an odd one though.  I can hear it being in the same soundtrack as the other two, but at the same time it sounds like it could be something from a period piece (for example, England in the 1800's).  Actually, I'm not sure if it has any place other than in a period piece...it doesn't fit the thriller movie mould like the first two tracks.  That's okay in my books, though.

Actually I take what I said back about all the tracks being part of a thriller score.  The first two tracks, I would definitely place them there.  But when you hear all four, it seems that Life is the one that's out of place.  The last three, including Allegro vivace: Laughter, all make me picture British folk in elaborate suits and dresses.

Well there you have it.  My incredibly silly breakdown of a very good classical music album.

Friday, April 23, 2010

#5 - The Notes and Scratches

Episode 5 is here!  Late due to last night's marathon Sens game, but it is here!  Some abbreviated show notes:
- Check out The Notes and Scratches at http://www.notesandscratches.com/
- I was having a tiny bit of mic trouble, so my apologies for that - but I eliminated most of the popping p's!


Sens Win!!!!

Well folks, I didn't do a podcast last night - because the Ottawa Senators were facing the Pittsburgh Penguins in an elimination game.  If Ottawa lost, they'd be out of the playoffs in 5 games.  As it happens, they beat the Penguins in triple Overtime to win 4-3, and subsequently force a Game 6 back here in Ottawa.

So, I'm going to record the podcast when I get home from work tonight.  In the meantime, I thought I would find some high-energy music to inspire the Boys in Red.  I opened up Jamendo, and typed "kick some ass" into the search bar and found these artists:
  • Arkane - Come Get Some - I'm singling out the song Dissipation on this two-track album.  Solid rock, and fits the bill to a tee for high energy.  This song is dedicated to the Penguins: "Why don't you go away??" I think that's one of the lyrics, anyway.
  • Some Living - The First Try - A mix of ska and alternative, this group is pretty good.  The song I'm picking from this two-track album (what's with that?  Give me 4 at least) is Little Trombone.  I'd pick Pure Vitality but Little Trombone is a faster paced track.
  • Lizard Loo - Some Wonder, Some Don't, So What If I - What a mouthful of an album name.  Doesn't matter though - this is a cool punk band from Germany.  Pretty much any one of these tracks would fit the bill for high-energy, but because of the title, I'm going to pick One in a Million.  I'll dedicate that to Daniel Alfredsson, who is a one in a million player.  Spotlight is a good secondary choice.  And oh gosh, Reviving Life is really appropriate for the team right now too, they've got some newfound confidence from that win!
That's all that I found from that search.  So just for kicks, I decided to see what "Hockey" turned up, and here's what I got: The's Wil I Gome - DJ's Hockey.  I really don't understand the name, but hey, it had an interesting beat to it.  Something tells me there is a bit of a language barrier involved here.

That's it!  By the way, the picture at the top of the article is of Peter Regin, an awesome rookie who has just been playing fantastic hockey in this playoff series - his first ever!  I think he might be my next favourite player after Alfredsson.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jamie Rumley

Continuing my list of folk/pop tagged artists on Jamendo, we have Jamie Rumley, a Canadian artist.  While her album, Renovations, is tagged as folk/pop, it is really more like a pop/rock album.  There's not much folk to be found, but it is still a really nice sounding EP.

Rumley is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, but I can't tell if that's really reflected in her lyrics.  I don't think it really matters, because she's not really singing about any geographic locations.  I checked out her website, and it turns out she's playing a European tour in 2011!  That seems to be how a lot of Canadian bands start to gather a following, so I hope it goes well for her.  From what I understand, making a stop in Japan might not be a bad idea either.

After all that, I guess my point is that you should listen to Renovations.  It's just under the 20 minute mark, and sounds really good.

Also: I wasn't in the right frame of mind to record a podcast last night, but the plan is to do it tonight either before the Ottawa Senators game, or between periods.  It'll get done tonight, either way.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pink Noise

Don't let the name of the band fool you - Pinkle is a really great group from Lausanne, Switzerland.  I found this group when searching for similar artists to Bella Ruse.

The album is called Pink Noise, and you can find it over at Jamendo (where else?).  To describe it briefly, it is 12 tracks of beautiful folk-pop.  As many of the reviewers have done already, you will no doubt draw comparisons to other famous artists (some examples include Jason Mraz or David Bowie, but I'm not sure I hear that myself).  There's also a little hint of some alternative roots in there, which automatically increases the appeal of the album for me.

Give it a listen if you like folk-pop albums, I think you'll enjoy it.

Stay tuned for a couple more albums this week, plus a new podcast tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bella Ruse

Thanks to the wonderful blog Free Albums Galore, I discovered Bella Ruse's music yesterday.

I really liked it!  It's a wonderful folk/pop self-titled EP.  There was very little information on Jamendo (http://www.jamendo.com/), so I did a little research and discovered that Bella Ruse is not actually a person, but a duo.  They are originally from Minneapolis, and have played shows across the US - that's good to hear, because the music is very good.  That they are from the States also surprises me, because Bella Ruse has a good grasp of French (see the song J'ai presque peur).

The vocalist appears to be a very talented woman, Kay Gillette.  She has a great voice, and reminds me of a few Canadian singer/songwriters.  Her bandmate - according to their website, http://www.bellaruse.com/ - is Joseph, but I couldn't find a last name.  If you want to check out more of Bella Ruse, they have a live album up at Band Camp.

This musical discovery led me to some other great artists on Jamendo - look for some more posts by similar artists this week (including a couple of good Canadian artists!).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Are you a Broken Social Scene fan?

If you are one of the many who enjoy a good BSS tune, then you probably already know that their next album - Forgiveness Rock Record - is due out May 4th.  Well guess what?  They're streaming it online, for free, in its entirety!

Exclaim.ca has the full scoop.  I haven't heard the album yet - but I do love that bands are streaming their stuff online - it's really a very good thing.  I think I'm going to talk about that in this week's podcast.  Gosh, is it time for a new one already? ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rock psychédélique

Stay with me on this one, it requires a very open mind.  Well, unless you're a fan of extremely eclectic, improvisational music.

Le Truc Ensemble - Beding! Bedang!

Before listening to this album, I expected to hear some funny stuff along the lines of Radio Radio.  Not so; in fact I don't think it could get any further from Radio Radio.  Beding! Bedang! consists of what I picture to be a group of guys just having some fun with various musical instruments - mostly drums, guitars, and a saxaphone.  No vocals, just pure instrumental improv.

In places it sounds messy and disorganized, but I think that's the point here.  You should definitely not expect anything remotely close to a clean sound.

I'll be honest, I wasn't really too hyped up about this thing after listening to it.  I could definitely see myself putting this on in the background while working on something at home, but I found it to be distracting while at work.  I definitely wouldn't put this on in the car (though it might serve a purpose to keep you awake on a long haul).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I feel embarassed

To any artists who have left a comment on my blog (including but not limited to: The Notes and Scratches, Sylvain the Librarian, and I Am Not Lefthanded), I apologize for not reading the comments earlier!

You see, I have not figured out how to get Blogger to notify me of new comments.  If there is a setting in there to activate it, I haven't found it yet.  I'm a little disappointed in that aspect if it isn't actually an option.

I will do my best to keep on top of my comments in the future!

EDIT: I just figured it out.  I think.  I need to test it out.

GLITCH56

GLITCH56 - GLITCH56 AKA Jason Gosling

As much as I'd love to think Jason Gosling is a huge ReBoot fan - hence his stage name - I don't think that's actually the case here.

So what exactly is GLITCH56 all about?  In short, it's an electronic pop album.  This is not something I would normally put to my ears, but I thought that I should be fair and at least check it out.  I remember having a particular dislike for hip hop or country music years ago, but I was proven a fool when I found out I liked it.

Having said that, I'm still not a huge fan of electronic music.  So it really helps that GLITCH56 has a big pop element backing up the electronica.  I would ALMOST classify this as "Lo-Fi Pop", but I think that's still another category on its own.

My favourite track from GLITCH56 is a toss-up between 92 and Beautiful Now.  I definitely did not like the one (I think it's just one) track that was pure electronica, but as a whole I think it's a solid album and worth checking out if you're looking for something beyond your normal tastes.

Oh, ALSO this artist is Canadian too!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Flowers with Viking Powers

I really don't know how to explain this one, other than it sounded weird and I didn't understand it.  Still, it's only two minutes so you might as well give it a listen.

Trike - Flowers with Viking Powers

Alison Crowe - Spiral

I meant to write about this album a few weeks ago, but life got in the way.  That's not important now though, because I *am* writing about it.

Alison Crowe - Spiral

Alison Crowe is one of the first Canadian artists I discovered on Jamendo after starting this podcast.  I already knew about Brad Sucks (http://www.bradsucks.net/), but when I started out, I wanted to find some good Canadian artists.  Crowe is a singer/songwriter, and is quite frankly really good.

She produces some high-quality stuff, and Spiral is no different.  The songs are often light and - this might make no sense - "friendly".  I'm not even entirely sure what I mean by that, except that they're easy to listen to and aren't about heartbreak or whatnot.  Or if they are about depressing things, the music behind the lyrics are bright and positive.  It sort of evens out I guess?

To break everything down into a simple statement, Alison Crowe has a great voice and has a lot of musical talent.  I recommend the album Spiral, and her earlier work while you're browsing Jamendo (http://www.jamendo.com/).

I'll be listening to some more albums today as I work through my long list of things to listen to, so expect some more posts throughout the week (and maybe another today).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Feel the Funk

In yesterday's podcast I mentioned ScriptFrenzy (http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/) at the top of the show; I ended up deciding to take the plunge and participate.  The goal, if you've not heard, is to write a 100-page script in 30 days.  Or in my case, 22 days.  If you're in my boat, that's approximately 4-5 pages per day to reach the goal.

Personally I'm aiming for 30 because of time constraints.  That would create a script for a 30-minute short (1 page = 1 minute of screen time, after all) - which I may try and push onto my friend who likes to make movies.  Or not, I don't know.  Was there a music-related point to this post?

Oh yes, there is.  I thought I'd pick out an album from Jamendo (http://www.jamendo.com/) to use as a writing soundtrack.  It might even serve as the actual soundtrack to the film, if it's ever made if I like it enough.  My choice is based on my current prediliction toward soul / funk music; so I checked out the tags on Jamendo, and found this:

  • Foxapet - P-F-M - A funk EP featuring a song title called "SEX IT UP".  I was immediately drawn to it, and was not disappointed.
  • Cool Cavemen - All Cool Hits - Yep, just cool hits, none of the lame songs.  In all seriousness, some good sounds coming from this group.  Who is from France, just like Foxapet.  It's a mix of some rock with funk.
  • Kiff'On - Nés Funky - Je suis né funky! Funky pour la vie!  Woo!  Yeah, a very very French group (from France), but it is some solid funk to be heard here.  Wow, there are a lot of funk groups out of France on Jamendo...is there a France Funk Scene?
  • The TenGooz - Inertia - Here's a curveball - this group is from Japan and plays funk, pop, a little reggae...a whole whack of stuff. 

Please don't ask me why I'm choosing funk as a writing soundtrack, I don't have an answer.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Episode 4 - Paper Navy

Episode 4 is here!  Albeit late!  But I sat through a thunderstorm while recording this, risking losing all my work in the process.  Today's podcast features Paper Navy, and their album All Grown Up.  Here are some notes:

  • The opening track was called Here Comes the Rain by Wilson Noble
  • My poor dog was freaking out for the duration of the podcast; I dedicate it to him
  • I recorded this with my bizarre set up again - using two different Skype accounts between two computers.
  • I apologize for the popping p's.  I am going to try to fix these next episode.
  • The closing track was called Heroines, by Diablo Swing Orchestra.  Read their mythology at their official website.  Seriously, check out their music.  It is nuts.  I think I will have to do a podcast for them alone one day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Free Download from Stars

If you are a fan of Stars - and trust me, if I was able to play them in the podcast, I would - be sure to download a free track from their upcoming album The Five Ghosts.

Details are here: http://stereogum.com/328772/stars-fixed/mp3s/