Saturday, May 27, 2006

Listing number two.....

Balun: This stuff is weird. I don't know how else to say it. There are limited vocals, so it's mostly instrumental. The music is sometimes dancy, sometimes wistful. It unfolds like a movie soundtrack to be honest. Their music really paints a brushstroke of life really well. There are accordions, keyboards, violins, you name it, it's played. I can't recommend it enough. It's just very ethereal chill music, and they're from Puerto Rico.

Garrison Starr: She's punchy and punky. Not in a Sleater Kinney kind of way, but more in the vein of Melissa Etheridge. I think Garrison has a better feel to her than Melissa Etheridge. Her ballads are just gorgeous, and I think if you listen to her, you won't be dissapointed. She made a record on a major label quite awhile ago and it flopped but I think it was really great. She has a new CD out, and I don't know much about. Her CD Airstreams and Satellites is pretty rocking and definitely worth a listen.

Star64: RIP. Bob Whelan, their lead vocalist has an original vocal delivery, a knack for writing extremely radio friendly, smart rock songs. Lyrics sometimes comical, sometimes very serious. They were known as Angry Salad a few years ago and made a record on a major label then got dropped shortly therafter. Star64 isn't a band anymore, but they did release a record. I recommend both this record and the Angry Salad CD. If anybody knows what Bob Whelan is doing, please let me know. I truly think he is an amazing musician and would love to hear more from them.

Josh Aran: His music is interesting. It's very spacey, but also simplistic. His vocal delivery lends an air to that kind of airy, lifting feeling. It's a dry kind of delivery that can be really rich in spots. His arrangements are really gorgeous. His CD Between Us There Arose Happiness should get more acclaim than it has. I just think it's really original. It doesn't sound like most singer/songwriters. Key songs to listen to on the disc are Driving Nowhere, High Like Atmosphere and I Await You, all available at his website for download. I think once you listen to those 3, you'll want to know more, and want to know when he's playing at a city near you. At least that's what I hope.

David Berkeley: Okay this guy is folk to the core. Some times he sounds like Ryan Adams sometime he sounds like a campfire sing along. I think he writes beautiful lyrics and gorgeous songs that are folky and simple. This may not be your thing, but I think it's fun and worth a listen.

The Connells: Their lead singer has a bit of a thin voice, and that may not suck you in, but their music is slick, and polished. They are industry vets and living legends in their home state of North Carolina. They've put out a bunch of good records. It's hard to pick a favorite. Guaranteed you'll find at least one song you like on any of their records. I absolutely promise you that.

David Fridlund: Ok, this guy isn't ever going to make radio, but who really cares? His music is original and daring, for example his song April and May feels like it belongs in a play, or a musical. That to me is kinda cool. If you don't want to take the chance on it, I don't blame you. This stuff is killer. God bless you David Fridlund for being both so fresh and refreshing.

The Arts and Sciences: Guy and girl vocals. Lush, sweeping music. Very good harmonies, and very very good music. Their lyrics are a bit daring, it's not stuff you'll be used to hearing. Kinda has a Decemberists feel to it. This band should be known by more people and should be garnering more acclaim. Why they haven't is anybody's guess. If Sufjan Stevens is a media darling I don't see why The Arts and Sciences aren't. It's that kind of vibe, only I think it's a lot better. Really awesome music. Definitely worth checking out. Their song What She Kept is brilliant.

Greg Tannen: Very gentle, simple music. Kinda male Norah Jones though that may be a bit of a stretch. It's folky, but it's very accessible. I don't think you'll find it dissapointing, you may find it boring, but dissapointing no. It's on the quieter side. This stuff isn't going to make you want to dance or get up and rock out, but then again many of the bands and artists in this blog aren't.

Mary Karlzen: Ok her voice can be irritating. It's just that simple. However, her music is really fun and she writes story songs, and things a ton of people can relate to. I want to compare it to Janis Joplin but that's a bit of a stretch. I don't know if I can compare her to anything. She's rootsy, and has a lot of grit, but she's also interesting. This is a bit of a stretch. I won't fault you if you don't dig this, I'll admit, I think it's hard to get into, but I do like her music so I felt it was worth the mention.

Llama: RIP. I think this band released 3 CD's in less than a year and broke up before that year was over. That's a bit of an exaggeration but this Nashville based jam band, actually wrote some of the best hooks and melodies, and some of the best rock songs the year those CD's came out. I think it was 2003. I wish they would have been bigger and I wish they would have stuck around. This band could have gone places. Their song Fly To You is an example of that. I miss you every day Llama.

Paul Melancon: Pronounced Mah-lan-sin.This guy is in the Arts and Sciences, so if you don't dig them, I'll be surprised if you dig Paul. This is simple, acoustic-based songs. Very slow, very lowkey, a bit sad, but he's got a voice that makes me want to keep on listening. He just does. His song Fall Down is an example of what I mean by that. It starts off slow but towards the end you really feel him pouring everything out, and you don't want him to stop singing.

SouthFM: Ooh this stuff is edgy and dark and has hooks in all the right places. It's a bit more of a modern rock, alternative sound, and should be a lot bigger than they are. In Texas I know they are big, but that's their homestate. This band should be bigger than Nickelback and should be dominating the radio charts. Why they aren't kind of upsetse me. Paco Machado has a no-holds-barred vocal delivery that rivals most vocalists. If you don't dig this band then I am sincerely dissapointed.

Giant Haystacks: Ok this band is nuts. Crazy good guitarwork, definitely garagey and trashy. Definitely will appeal to some of you out there, and may turn others of you off. The vocals leave a lot to be desired, but I don't think that's why people listen to this band in the first place.

Black-Eyed Dog: This is rootsy, folk rock and I em enamored with it. It has a kinda Counting Crows, John Mellancamp, Tom Petty feel; that kinda vibe. I personally love lead singer Brian Landrum's voice, and love the music, but I am not going to say his voice is astounding. It gets the job done and it fits the genre well. I think they should make a splash on AAA radio and should open up for all the bands I just mentioned. I just think they'd fit very well on that kinda bill. I hope they continue to make music for years and years. I just can't get enough. I really love this stuff. I think it reminds me a lot of the band Jolene from Charlotte, NC. Funny too, because Black-Eyed Dog is from Asheville. Their lead singer Brian Landrum does solo stuff and that will probably make this blog in a future post.

Revelation Darling: A flash in the pan from North Carolina that opened up for some of the nation's hottest bands but never got any further than East Coast attention. Halfway through their short lived career they changed their name to Melbourne.They were around for 2-3 years, and now their frontman Alex Lawhon is doing his own thing. Their guitarist Ted Comerford is one of the better producers out there, and he has a magic touch. I have been impressed by every CD he has produced in the past 2-3 years. If you see his name on the back of a CD, I promise you, it's quality music. I was fortunate enough to see Revelation Darling a few times during their 2-3 year reign and I wish more bands had the stage presence, maturity, and energy that they brought to every live show. They truly didn't have a bad song. As good a band as I have heard and that is the truth. They are sorely missed.

Scott Little: This is just chil music. There is nothing great about this guy except for maybe his lyrics. His voice is average, though people say live it's above average. Considered one of the nicest guys in the Atlanta music scene, Scott Little is making music because he wants to. He has no delusions of grandeur, and no agenda, he's just making music to make it. That's reason enough to want to give him a couple bucks here and there. I think most people will find this music boring, but sometimes music is that way. Nothing about him will knock you over and compell you to listen more but just maybe he'll strike you and sometime one set of ears is all that matters.

Luce: I really wish Luce wasn't West Coast based and toured outside the West Coast but I can't fault them for that. Then again if they were East Coast based, I'd probably drive to see their shows as often as I can and I think I'd become broke. Everything abut Luce is great. Tom Luce has a gentle, easy vocal quality and his songs are much the same. Some are simple and gentle, others are gorgeous and aching, some are fun and funky with horns and keys. On some songs he sounds like the Beatles, on others he is his own person. Sometimes his lyrics are as simple as a morning routine, others a bit complex. His self-titled record was released on Nettwerk and I was hoping it would have been more widely acclaimed than it was. They are total DIY, total grassroots, and just awesome music. Totally fun. Great stuff, really great stuff.

Pico Vs. Island Trees: Their vocalist has an interesting vocal delivery. He sounds like he's high, or drunk, or maybe he has a cold. They're in the jam-band, Dave Matthews/John Mayer school of rock. Butttttt they do it as well as anybody else. This is fun chill, simple music. I just can't get enough. Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five is a big backer of this band, and if you want to trust his taste, then maybe you should take a listen. I think that the Aware Records conglomerate needs to give these guys a phone call and start distributing their CD's. They play to their audience quite well.

Robbie Fulks: Country twang vocals that may be a bit grating but if you can get past that and accept a little country/folk into your music world then maybe you'll dig it. He has a song Let's Kill Saturday Night that's a rollicking knock-around good time. An album of the same name was his major label splash. Fulks writes comedic songs with names like Fountains of Wayne Hotline (off his latest album, Georgia Hard), God Isn't Real (off of Let's Kill Saturday Night, and Fuck This Town, an ode to Nashville (on his album South Mouth) The guy does it all. Serious and sensitive when he wants to be, twangy and rocking other times. He may be one of the most important singer/songwriters of our time and more people need to listen to his music.

Mike Garrigan: He once fronted the band Collapsis which landed a record deal with Universal music (the Cherry imprint I believe) and had a thimble full of stardom. When Collapsis broke up he went on his own, then joined the band Athenaeum, then went back to his own. His catalog of songs includes everything from sparse acoustic numbers to full-out edgy rockers with his band MG4. His latest endeavors find him writing songs on mandolin and producing local North Carolina bands. Garrigan really does it all. He's an incredible essayist that is well-read, learned, articulate and humorous. A one time aspiring lawyer, Mike is an absolute gentleman and everyone should add Mike Garrigan songs to their music library. One minute he can be sweet and sappy, the next minute he's dense and complex. There are few musicians like him. A real treat.

Clyde Federal: One minute they're sing power pop the next minute it sounds like a showtune. They really are all over the place and are definitely highly recommended. I don't know much about them other than they are based out of Chicago, and are now going by the name Violins. They are on Contraphonic Records and are stirring up a buzz in the Chicago indie scene.

The Pacific: Ya know how Patrick Stumpf of Fall Out Boy has this vocal delivery that you can't really compare to anything, it just glides out of his so smooth, and confident, and just begs you be like "Ooooh, who is this?" well the lead singer of this band The Pacific is much the same. On top of that their music is awesome. I can't compare it to anything. It's smooth, and gentle, and mid-tempo. Very rocking, a bit British sounding, and a bit of a California vibe. I kinda hope more people get into this stuff because I think they could do big things. They definitely have the potential and the feel of a polished, veteran band that's both mature beyond their years and really seems to know what they are doing. Dig it!

Oneida: I think this band formed just to be weird and different. One minute it's garagey and loud with tons of distortion and droning the next minute it's acoustic-laced arrangements with horns and strange reverb. This music is just plain weird. However, I can't get enough of their latest disc The Wedding, so maybe it's not the worst thing in the world that it's a bit different.

Wakeland: Their CD Mangetic was produced by John Hampson who worked with the Gin Blossoms and quite frankly both the vocals and the jangly guitars on Wakeland are very reminscent of the Gin Blossoms, Lemonheads and Toad the Wet Sprocket vibe. Pure ear-candy. Hard to hate.

Danny Flanigan: This is just soft, simple, acoustic-based music. I can't even begin to say what attracted me to this music other than the lyrics and good choruses. Good guitarwork on some songs. It's definitely the kind of thing if you're in the mood for just chilling out or being really introspective. Nothing loud here. Mood music for sure. Definitely has the capacity to put you to sleep, but is definitely worth listening to.

That should tide you over for the weekend. More to come on Monday. As always if you dig it, drop me a comment and let me know.

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