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.
The video for Kishi Bashi’s Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! is rightfully surreal and psychedelic. If you are a Vodka reader, then you will recall Kishi Bashi from about a year ago and the review for Bright Whites. Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! was actually released as a single in September of last year, but was included in Kishi Bashi’s second full-length, Lighght, a collection of cohesive and interesting tunes, mostly electronically created. There is no denying Kishi Bashi’s talent for creating wildly fun imagery with music.
Lighght was on my “to purchase” list when it came out in March, but I just finally got to it in June. Now that I have it playing in the background, I can’t believe I waited so long. This music is fun to listen to. The only problem is that it has deep and complex textures which require more direct and connected listening. Working with this music on will distract you because you will find yourself listening intently to it.
Drop in on Kishi Bashi’s web site for more information, or check out his bandcamp.com link for some great musical offerings, including the older 151a long player, which includes the previously reviewed Bright Whites.
In the heat of Summer in the US it is nice to have a cool breeze and The Corner Laughers provide that cool with Midsommer. If you are among the uninitiated to The Corner Laughers, then also check out Vodka’s previous review for Bells Of El Camino, from about a year ago. There’s not much change in style here from the group’s earlier long-player, Poppy Seeds, but that does not matter. It’s as if 60’s folk-pop happened yesterday with Midsommer and all of The Corner Laughers' tunes. They make the style sound relevant again and do it with unapologetic polish.
You can check out The Corner Laughers by visiting them on their web site, (actually the bandcamp.com site). Pick up any of the groups great music there as well. Stand in front of the fan and cool off, with The Corner Laughers!
I’m stretching my wings a bit here on Vodka and found this very pleasing musician/producer, Hugo Kant. Leave Me Alone is from Hugo’s July 2013 EP, by the same name, which is really just an extended single with two versions of Leave Me Alone and two versions of In The Woods. Hugo has a new long player (June 2014) called The Point Of No Return which includes both of those tracks (although not all versions) plus ten additional tracks.
Hugo’s sounds are hypnotic, a bit surreal and the beats are somewhat understated which highlight his musicianship and production skills. Overall, Hugo Kant likes to combine elements of many styles of music-a bit of Jazz, some down tempo and hip-hop.
Sometimes hip-hop artists or producers try to force things a bit too much. The beats are too heavy the textures seem like afterthoughts and the music suffers. There’s none of that with Hugo Kant. His approach to music is all about balance. It’s nice!
You may remember Lux Lisbon from about a year ago when A Little More Vodka featured Get Some Scars. Scars was an awesome track from their 2013 EP, and it doesn’t seem possible, but this band just keeps getting better! Enter Memento Mori, which doesn’t currently appear to be released anywhere as yet. It’s a little more up-beat than Scars but it keeps the full bodied feel that has made Lux Lisbon sound so fresh and full.
You can find more information on Lux Lisbon by visiting the band’s web site, or pick up one of the many fine musical offerings from their bandcamp.com link. Get a wondrous musical fix now with Lux Lisbon!
Griff’s Room Band is a friendly melding of bluegrass and pop that will have your feet moving and head bobbing here on Corner Booth from the band’s new EP, Shut The Case (June 2014). Originally loosely formed as a band of street performers in Colonial Williamsburg in 2011, the trio found that their music seemed to appeal to an wide variety of people. Since then, they have been gigging up and down the Eastern seaboard of the US.
Torrelodones, Spain’s Elefant Records recording artists, The Yearning, are all about retro vibes. They are unapologetic about using 50’s and 60’s styled rhythm and blues and pop to paint a musical picture that could easily have appeared on a radio station in 1955. Now if that all scares you a bit, it shouldn’t. The Yearning make the whole experience seem natural and it is more than a little bit pleasing.
In preparing for a new long-player, The Yearning have just released a new single If I Can’t Have You, which is cut out of the same mold as Everybody Knows (I’m Still In Love With You) (June 2013).
Back in April (2014), I purchased the wonderful debut self-titled album from Fauna Flora. It is full of delightful pop gems like Happy Hour (video released May 2). There are orchestral flourishes and grand melodies coupled with great vocal harmonies. Fauna Flora formed the four piece really recently (2013). At the helm, singer/songwriter Steve Ward provides the foundation for what become majestic pieces. Instrumentation and other vocals are provided by long-time Ward collaborator and bassist Joe Pisapia, keyboardist Matt Thomas and drummer Paul Murr.
Since my purchase of the debut album, it has found its way into my playlist many times. It is pleasing relief from hectic work days, which is not to say that it is necessarily music to relax to. Still the polish is so pleasing, it feels relaxing no matter the tempo.
You can find more information on Fauna Flora by visiting their web site or pick up the self-titled long-player from their bandcamp.com site. I picked up the physical CD that includes the digital download. Seriously, you need to check this great band out!
Frequent visitor to Vodka, Courtney Barnett, is a very talented songwriter and performer. She’s been getting some much deserved press recently from the likes of Rolling Stone and The New York Times. On top of that, she was recently a musical guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her star is rising!
Here, from the Double EP, A Sea Of Split Peas Courtney proves that she has a contemplative style as well, with the plaintive Anonymous Club. If you have not purchased this, or are new to Courtney’s music, you should definitely check out her other Vodka posts, Focus On Courtney Barnett from last June, History Eraser and Scotty Says from over a year ago, and the more recent Everybody Moves Died Pretty cover with Dave Faulkner and Avant Gardner. You should also check out Courtney’s web site and pick up her music. Do it now, so you can say you were nearly in on the ground floor before Ms. Barnett made it big!
Eliza Rickman’s provocative new video Start With Goodbye, Stop With Hello, from her 2012 long player, O You Sinners, is both dark and fun. It is a look into the complexities of ms. Rickman as well. Eliza has a beautiful voice and an enviable range. It can ring bell-like from above, or delve into a throaty alto. Like her voice, her music and message are full-ranged as well.
As the video for Start With Goodbye, Stop With Hello hints, tracks from O You Sinners strike both a religious and secular balance. Songs can be both religiously themed and hedged with the darkness that is in each of us. Musically, Eliza Rickman provides infinite textural beauty to her music. It can come in the form of a toy piano or a grand piano. Throughout O You Sinners, percussion is mostly missing, making only brief appearances here and there. Ms. Rickman instead uses other instruments, including the toy piano, to provide a percussion-like rhythm, or uses her voice to create the same.
If you are among those who have not been exposed to Eliza Rickman, then it is high time that you change all that! You can find more information by visiting her web site, and you can pick up all of her music by visiting her bandcamp.com site. Check out this amazing artist now!