You may remember Portland, Oregon based Otis Heat from the video / review posted for Gold Mine around two years ago. Well, the second long-player, ING, from the group is finally out (by the time you read this, September 2014) and with it comes Brow (see this video), Gold Mine and twelve additional tracks. Since I’m writing this review prior to the release, it is going to have to exclude most of those tracks, as I have not heard them yet, but Otis Heat has the ability to rock out (Brow) or weave a beautiful melody (Circles) and then there is the not-so-tongue-in-cheek comedy about how success changes you and the people around you, Gold Mine.
There is a host of information on Otis Heat, most available from their web site, complete with all of the social and purchase links that you require. You can also pick up the band’s earlier long-player, Yoon (July 2011) and the EP The Ugly (May 2012) as well as ING, from the group’s bandcamp.com site.
Check out this wonderfully diverse band now!
As promised during the review of Bridie Jackson and The Arbour’s We Talked Again on August 27, 2014, from the quartet’s second long-player New Skin (May 2014), here is another dark tale from that long-player. Scarecrow tells the story of a bride who dies on the night before her wedding day. It is a beautiful, haunting song and, as was the case with We Talked Again, it is full of the quartet’s signature harmonies.
Scarecrow is one of the few songs not penned by vocal lead Bridie Jackson. It was written by Louis Barrabas. You may remember a post by Louis Barrabas and The Bedlam Six here about 8 months ago. It fits seamlessly with the rest of the tracks on New Skin, as if it were the group’s own track.
Three young women who create beautiful, complex songs infused generously with three part harmonies is nothing to be sneezed at. Combine this with their skills as session vocalists and instrumentalists for the last ten years and it would be hard to even believe that the average age of this trio is just 22. That’s an incredible feat!
Here, Saoirse Duane, Caoimhe Barry and Karen Cowley, performing together as a group called Wyvern Lingo, show off the lovely a Capella number, Used, from their new five-song EP (August 2014), The Widow Knows. These five tracks are breath taking examples of musicianship and vocal acuity. The melodies are anything but simple, yet they are easy to enjoy passively or actively. I hope the musical future is bright for Wyvern Lingo; It should be, but this is the music business.
The Murder and four other tracks are available from Bandcamp as the new long-player, Just Another Day from Dublin, Ireland’s Tony Fitz comes together. It should come as no surprise after listening to these first tracks, that this is an old west story, and if the pictures aren’t conjured up by the words and music alone, then once the CD releases, it comes with a comic book. (pictorial sample available on the bandcamp.com site.)
There is plenty to find out about Tony Fitz, but you can find out nearly anything you want to know by checking out his web site. Make sure you pick up a copy of Just Another Day when it releases sometime in September, or pick it up now and take advantage of the five wonderful tracks currently available.
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour are a find! They have eluded me until now, but that won’t happen again. We Talked Again, the dark tale of near tragedy, is one of the stellar tracks on the group’s second long-player, New Skin (May 2014), that will mesmerize you. Bridie Jackson’s lead vocals are so beautiful, but combine them with her three female band-mates vocal harmonies, and the layers! The textures! This is music to be heard. Each song is a video in itself; meaning you really would not need a video to conjure up the images in your head that are created by these wonderful, dark and beautiful songs.
Oddly, We Talked Again, appeared in a completely different form on the groups debut long-player, Bitter Lullabies (January 2012). That track was more understated on the original debut, but has more force and texture here on New Skin. Both versions are worth repeating!
Consider this the first of a couple of videos by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour. I’ll post at least one more in a week or so. You can find more information on Bridie Jackson and The Arbour by heading on over to their web site. Pick up both New Skin and Bitter Lullabies on their bandcamp link. Whatever you do, listen to this amazing group of talented musical story tellers!
Singer-songwriter, Rob Cantor’s debut long-player, Not A Trampoline, came out in April (2014), and it is full of wonderful pop musical gems. Take All I Need Is You for instance. Rob’s voice is an pleasing tenor which blends together with itself, strings, (or synthesizers I can’t find any extensive album info), light rhythms, and guitars to great effect. Rob got a following from a stunt video created for his song Perfect, also on Not A Trampoline. That video created quite a stir, which I have to believe was a great marketing ploy.
Whether you are one of the converted because of that stunt video for Perfect or whether you have yet to be converted, you owe it to yourself to sit down and listen to the 12 tracks that make up Not A Trampoline. There’s a nod to musical styles of 1985, Garden Of Eden, synth pop in The Rendezvous, full tilt pop-rock with I’m Gonna Win and much more.
This Woody Guthrie remake of This Morning I Am Born Again from Lucy Kaplansky’s 2012 long-player, Reunion, is a great example of Lucy’s folk-blues side. She has many musical sides, all of which are cohesive and blend perfectly together. Whether she is singing in a light Jazz vocal about Pi, or rehashing folk standards, Lucy’s voice pops seamlessly from track to track. Certainly some of these tunes could be classified as country, but they are minus the annoying (in my opinion) over use of twang. That is a good thing.
I’m featuring this video now, because Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, who was one of several core musicians who helped with the making of the long-player Reunion, have teamed up to create an album of cover songs as The Pine Hill Project. Their Kickstarter campaign has reached their initial goal, so barring a catastrophe, the album will be released. This album should feature tight harmonies from these two top-notch artists.
You can find more information on Lucy Kaplansky by visiting her web site. For information on Richard Shindell, check out his web site as well. To keep tabs on The Pine Hill Project, check out the Kickstarter page.
Welcome to the odd British flavored hip-hop from Professor Elemental and All In Together, the lead off track to his latest (June 2014) long-player, The Giddy Limit. Not only is this track fun, but it is a moral cheek poke at our differences and a call to embrace those differences. (“There’s no such thing as normal. Everyone is weird.”)
The video, shot on location at Old West Con at Old Tucson Studios, Arizona, takes the flavor of Professor Elemental’s words and transforms them into an outlandish amalgam of misfit characters, all politely coexisting together in their environment. That’s the message: We are all different, we are all strange, everyone is weird, so get along, Damn you!
You can find more information on Professor Elemental by visiting his very nicely formatted web site. One complaint: the web site is not linked to his bandcamp.com site and vise-verse. The Facebook site is linked nowhere on bandcamp or the web site, but does have a link back to the web site at least. Artists, remember the golden rule: Market yourself! The aforementioned bandcamp.com, has a huge collection of Professor Elemental music, so slip there for a purchase or three.
Professor Elemental has a following, and deservedly so. Check out this great artist now!
I don’t now exactly how to categorize Birdeatsbaby. They are an amalgam of pop, rock, alternative that is very intriguing. Their new July 2014 long-player, The Bullet Within, is full of sweet yet dark tales. Sometimes they are mid-tempo rockers (Enemies Like Me) or slow tempo pop (Drinking in the Day, Ghosts). These tunes are full of strings and great vocals and harmonies. Like Spiders (video), nearly every tune is a minor key vignette full of darkness and beauty.
Check out this very interesting alternative troupe today and consider a purchase of some beautiful-if dark-music!
I’m not sure how I feel about Billie Marten as yet, but if this video for Ribbon is any indication, then I may be a fan very soon. Ribbon starts with an all too familiar strum, which seems to be everywhere in “new” music these days. Normally I’d have clicked out pretty quickly, but that strum doesn’t linger without the addition of Bille’s vocals for more than 8 seconds. When the vocal kicks in the song becomes a different melody altogether. It is that vocal that adds the soul and while the guitar strum was initially very same sounding as other similar folk pop offerings, once the vocal kicks in it morphs into a very beautiful melody.
Instrumentally, Ribbon is very sparse. Aside from Billie’s guitar, there are some minor strings (cello I believe) that add just a slight bit of texture. All in all, it is a beautiful song. Billie’s vocals fit in well, at times slightly breathy, but very pretty indeed.