New Music Review – Mauno Meesit – Blue Bird

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Artist: Mauno Meesit
Single: Blue Bird
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Social-media: Facebook/Soundcloud

Listen:

Little details can make a world of difference when it comes to music, especially with a lot of critics having some bangin’ headphones (I personally think a pair of Sennheisers work a treat). The point is, is that it’s nice when musicians go that extra mile and craft something without a sonic detail going on. That’s why today, we’re listening to Mauno Meesit and the first single, Blue Bird, off of his new album, Closer.

Blue Bird is a melancholic little number that begs to be listened to with headphones, earphones, or even really loud speakers, just anything to block out everything else with. Meesit’s interest in minimalist arrangements, acoustic instruments and tiny sonic details are what really make this song something quite stunning.  The guitar gently mopes around with these sweet little pickings and the vocals walk hand in hand with every instrument on this track – they’re put together with every instrument in such a striking way.

Speaking of instruments, here’s a little food for thought: the guitar used in this song is a 100 year old parlour guitar, and the microphone? A 1940’s contraption!

And although the vocals aren’t necessarily elegant, the lyrics carry such a lovely message ‘broken people are beautiful/as beautiful as you’. They’re also charming, especially the way he rolls the ‘there’s a blue bird inside of me’ part of the lyrics – nothing short of incredible on a whole.

When the piano chords cascade in, the whole soundscape comes alive with the subtle drums, guitar strums and vocals and although it feels dreary, it sounds wonderful. I think to truly understand this song, you need to give it a listen, which you can do above, and I know its kinda ‘Oh, I’m coping out’, but you just need to try it and see what you think.

Final thoughts:

Just try it and be prepared for the new album Closer, at some point this year. Stay tuned.

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New Music Review – Western Jaguar – Council

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Artist: Western Jaguar
Song: Council
Genre: Indie-rock, alternative, singer-songwriter
Social-media: Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud/Bandcamp

Listen:

And:

Today, we have a cheeky look at a track from Indie-rock/alternative musical act, Western Jaguar (make sure you type Western Jaguar Band if you ever want to find him on google). The mind behind Western Jaguar is Canadian, Jeffrey Trainor, and I’ve had the pleasure of grabbing a sneak peak at the track the opening track, Council from his upcoming release Wayfarer, set to drop on March 26th. Council is due for release, by itself on the 15th of January from Trainor’s Bandcamp page, see above, as usual.

The track itself seems much more prominent than previous releases – Glacia (previous album) for example, sounded rather lofi, which worked for it, but with what I’ve heard on Council, everything has been brought forward to be given more emphasis on everything. Hopefully it will be as bright as heard on Glacia.

Whilst the majority of the song is rather sedate thanks to some gentle guitar pickings and deep drum thumps, things do pick up rather quickly with some punchy drumming and fiddly guitar. There’s bass there too, but you know, it’s just there. All add to an intensifying feeling of desperation that the vocals provide.  Everything does feel very cold as well, though, that could be owing to where it was made (I’m told Canada is very cold sometimes).

It all feels smooth everything fits together well as the song evolves. And it all feels especially smooth with all the little details in the sound of the instrumentation – everything feels polished to a personal standard, which means a good standard, but not one that feels sterilised. Vocal performance from Mr Trainor suits the musical style and the lyrics that I think people can relate to. As a whole, vocals and lyrics are very accessible, which is what I think makes this song particularly effective, especially when it gets to the outro final ‘Ohhhh, where do we go?’

Council is a great, atmospheric track that can send chills down your spine with its sound and relaxed vocal stylings. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more of Western Jaguar’s upcoming album, so mark the 26th of March down if this music agrees with you and grab a copy of Wayfarer.

New Music Review – k. – k. songs unreleased or not finished

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Artist: k.
Release: k. songs unreleased or not finished 
Genre: Singer-songwriter, rock
Social-media: Bandcamp

Listen:

And:

k. is probably the musician with the shortest name I’ve ever had, k.s is also from Ohio and has recently put out a short release of unreleased material, titled, k. songs unreleased or not finished. This was released back in October 21st of this year, so let’s get in to it! Now, what sort of music can you expect from k.? On this release, I’d say you can expect some alt-rock, maybe singer-songwriter style music that is all very restrained and minimal in its instrumentation and production.

The first song, Do You Like It, was difficult to listen to for me, why? Because I found the vocals and lyrics to be so troublesome to listen to. It’s not bad for the first section of the song, while it’s all backed up with the funky bass, but for me the outro vocals were painful to listen to and just made me want to stop the song. That being said, the last little vocal snippet (listen to understand) wins Do You Like it? Some points.

The second song, Lover……………………………………………………………………………………………………………I Miss Her, which will I will now be calling, Lover, for undisclosed reasons, is much preferable. The guitar is rather plain and simple, with some subtle effects over it and it works for a sing-songwriter like song. It’s just rather sweet too, which is nice.

Strangely, I got a very old school rock n’ roll vibe from the next track, 400 miles home at about 60MPH. The vocals at the start get it all kicked off rather quickly and when the guitar gets some distortion slopped over it, it all sounds fun and almost like some Kinks. What I also found rather interesting was the slightly staggered second guitar on this recording – it sort of sticks out and I’m not sure whether this is me mishearing things, or something else, but it struck me as odd.

I wrote a poem, is probably the track that strikes me most, if only because of the way that the guitars mesh together here. It sounds pleasant with the vocals. I also liked the lyrics on this song, because, you know who ever does write their poem correctly after the first draft? Funnily enough, it almost seems like this song is a metaphor for this entire release. ‘I wrote it wrong, so I turned it into this song’.

Final Notes:

While I don’t think this project feels in anyway finished as it is right now, there are some good building blocks here; blocks that demonstrate that k. should be out there searching for a band to create with. The instrumentation is nice at times and the bass is always groovy, so why not expand into other projects and offer something with other musicians? I’d be very interested in seeing what k. has to offer in the future.

P.S. I dig the album art.

 

 

New Music Review – Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy

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Band: Frankie Cosmos
Album: Zentropy
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Social-Media: Facebook/Tumblr/Bandcamp

Frankie Cosmos is the musical project of Greta Kline and over the years she has amassed a load of EPs on Bandcamp – it almost feels dangerous to jump into her discography. I mean, today, I’ll be listening to her March release Zentropy, but since then she’s released two EPs – Zentropy just so happened to be the first release I heard. Cosmos’ work all feels relatable in its vulnerability and I believe that this is what makes this such an effective album – It reminds me of Weezer’s Pinkerton or Carissa’s Weird in the way it portrays itself as an incredibly personal release.

Like the rest of Kline’s work, that I’ve heard, the songs are almost like diary entries in the life of a coming of age outcast. For example, the albums opener, Art School, talks about the ins and outs of life in art-school and how it sucks, “All your friends drunk and wild/All my friends are dickheads.” It’s immature but loveable in the way the persona that the persona in the song could appeal to anyone that felt like an outcast.

It’s this charming outcast that makes this album so accessible and easy to listen to. The instrumentation is also really quaint, almost nostalgic for a simpler time in music. The laid back guitar in the album does a great job. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly lo-fi, but Zentropy does not have or need all the bells and whistles that some bands think are necessary.

The way that Zentropy sounds feels very similar to 1960s garage-rock bands and Kline’s lyrics do an impressive job of creating some truly memorable songs. The first opening lyrics of Dancing In The Public Eye, are a laugh, “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone and if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Then it pops into a catchy tune with thick guitar and a nice little vocal hook. It’s this clever use of lyrics and song-writing that put this album out there as a great singer-songwriter release, as opposed to a standard, ‘going through the motions’ acoustic plucker release.

This infectious cleverness also emerges in one of the albums best songs Birthday Song, which, despite its short length (just over a minute) still manages to be witty and catchy. “Just because I’m a certain age, doesn’t mean I’m older than I was yesterday.”

Zentropy is hard to pin down to a single mood, besides awkward-teenage-girl, but that’s fine – The way the songs move around in their tempos and moods fit the style of music that cosmos makes. Sad 2 is as upsetting as you might think and it also pulls the whole album together with the subtle strings behind the guitar and the quivering synth humming constantly.  And for final words from an album “I wish that I could kiss his paws.” I think it’s fitting and effective for this album to end like this.

Frankie Cosmos have created a memorable album of clever vocal hooks, warm instrumentation and relatable songs that will speak to anyone at that certain age of teenagedom. And maybe it’ll speak to a few young adults beyond that, but either way, you cannot resist the charm of Zentropy and Frankie Cosmos.

Gaze Is Ghost Reveals New Video

Accompanies New AA-Side Single

Gaze Is Ghost is a Northen Irish composer-songwriter that has put out her new AA-single side single, (lots of sibilance there) Revolvere / Murmuration. The video for Revolvere was created by a surrealist photographer Karl Dmitri Bishop, so expect some eerie and peculiar imagery.

The video compliments the song magically: the slow black and white images mesh wonderfully with the melodramatic instrumentation and vocals that Gaze Is Ghost mastermind, Laura McGarrigle, provides.

Revolvere is a slow dreary track with some lush sounds that, whilst they do serve their purpose, lack any colour. In this one instant, its fine, but I feel like a whole album of this could grate on my nerves, unless something impressive and not so blank comes along.

Thankfully, the second track, Murmuration, has more vocal melodies on offer and sounds more interesting, to me at least. It’s shorter and more stripped back than Revolvere, but at this length, the song doesn’t over-step its welcome and become boring.

Both tracks are nice, but in terms of a whole album, I’d need more musical sustenance. I mean, there need to be some major moments to counter-act the minor moments. If you like what you’ve heard, you can buy the double a-side from Bandcamp – it’s a name your price release, so have at it.

New Music Review – To Be Me – Cody Pennington

zdfssafsaArtist: Cody Pennington
Song: To Be Me
Genre: Singer-songwriter, folk
Social Media: Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud/Official Site

Today we have another singer-songwriter, I hope you’re all adoring being down in the dumps with me! Cody Pennington is a Nashville born, but UK based acoustic guitar player and lovely voiced singer that has recently released his new EP, To Be Me. However, we’re looking at the title song, to give you lot of taste of what to expect from this guy.

Straight away, you can draw some mighty bold comparisons between other singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson, for example. Cody has a wonderful voice and compliments his style of music without fault; his vocals are easy to listen to and his guitar playing is dreamy. Although the percussion isn’t really necessary on this track, it toddles along eventually and backs up an already sturdy song with some simple pop beats.

To Be Me itself sounds like a bittersweet event, in terms of the lyrics and sound: whilst the lyrics can be increasingly grim, the guitar is bright and lively, especially the guitar playing behind the acoustic. There’s some subtle layering with guitar that does add a little bit to the song, I’m not sure if it adds enough to be there, but it doesn’t offend in the slightest. Very much like Mr Pennington (that’s not me saying I’m not sure if he adds enough to be here, cause that would be extremely rude).

You can stream his entire album, just below, OR you can buy it, help support this fine upcoming musician and help pay for the strings on his guitar, here.

New Music Review – Mark Walder – Out Of The Shadows

MarkArtist: Mark Walder
EP: Out Of The Shadows
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Social Media: Official Site/
Soundcloud/Twitter

Mark Walder is an East London based singer-songwriter that has recently released his debut EP, Out Of The Shadows. So far, it has not seen much coverage and as such it’s a delight to get my hands on it nice and early to let you know what you’re in for. If you want to have a cheeky listen with me as well, you can hear a few samples in the Soundcloud thing at the bottom of this post.

Out Of The Shadows contains a mixed bag of singer-songwriter tunes, the majority of which are struck by that phase of admiration and affection for someone.  While this is okay, it would have been nice to see what else Mr Walder is holding in terms of his darker hand of songs.

We do still get a charming EP that gives the listener one side, and a small serving of another side, of this guy. Most of the songs on this EP sound quite large thanks to the likes of the piano, the strings and the occasional drumming, like in Arms Of An Angel and Together Forever. However, it feels like Mark Walder really comes into his own on the intimate and stripped back songs like Shadows and Passenger.

Having said that, there is a lot going on in Passenger, but it’s more restrained and I feel that this is where Mark comes into his own with his very animated subtleties. Shadows feels like these personal encounter with the artist at some subdued pub in East London with the gentle singing and careful guitar fingerings. I think it’s this vulnerability that is most striking about this guy, but some of the larger songs just don’t do it for me.

Arms Of An Angel and I Remember are just a bit too much for me; they both feel too twee and sweet for me. That being said, if you’re into what you’re hearing from the samples, go for it, you will love this EP and I know a lot of people will. Mark has a versatile voice that functions well, sounds good and it has no delusions of grandeur, unlike some upcoming singer-songwriters.

Since we’re on the topic of how Mark’s music sounds, I’d like to get into the way that his music has been produced. It all sounds very professional, no haphazard mixing or tom-foolery, everything is in its place and sounds stellar. The tidbits of electric guitar in Gambling Man, line up nicely with the keys and acoustic in this one and it just gives the song, oddly enough, an almost folk sound to it at times.

What we have from Mark Walder is a brave and personal first flurry of activity in the music world that’ll excite any singer-songwriter fan. The music can be uplifting, gloomy or somewhere in the middle ground, but it always stays true to Mark. So, Come Out Of The Shadows, with Mark Walder.