Possibly due in part to Dan DelVecchio’s above mentioned guitar effects, last September I was seriously s w o o o n i n g over the New York based alternative band Face The King and posted their amazing song The Stage. If you checked out that post, you’ll understand why I was so psyched when the band uploaded their new single, The Sea, to the Sirenstories SoundCloud.
The Sea is an anthemic song that will serve Face The King well this summer when they join the Warped Tour on its twentieth anniversary. (Yep, the Warped Tour is turning twenty, scary, right?) It’s a song that brings to mind U2 at the pinnacle of their fame.
The lyrics to The Sea are gorgeous. Beautiful and darkly romantic. They add so much to the sweeping sound of this epic song—just take a listen. Let the sound waves of The Sea break over you.
The avalanche . . . The perfect place to hide The rolling fields Beneath the quiet and the white
And if you leave you know I’ll follow Hold onto me and I won’t let go
Here comes the wave . . . It’s crashing over me Immovable against the moving sea
I turn to the sea The water is coming in And every day A chance to end or to begin
And if you leave you know I’ll follow Hold on to me and I won’t let go
Here comes the wave . . . It’s crashing over me Immovable against the moving sea Here comes the wave . . . It’s breaking over me Unbreakable against the breaking sea
Am I sinking, am I swimming? Standing still and in between (Am I sinking, am I swimming?) The surface rises to my knees (Am I sinking, am I swimming?) Should we stay or should we leave? (Am I sinking, am I swimming?) Don’t be afraid, hold on to me… Hold on to me Hold on to me Hold on to me . . .
PS Here’s a pic of Dan DelVecchio, because I knew you’d want to see the guy who uses those effects . . .
To see the rest of the band and find out more about them and their fantastic music, visit their website, or connect with them on fb and twitter.
When I heard the opening keyboard arpeggios of Push to Start by Domingos Muekalia Jr. aka Starranko I instantly fell in love with the song. Amazing what a few notes can do. Yep, I was already hooked before The Hook, the lyrical hook, even started.
The vocal has yet another melodic line behind it that I love almost as much as the first one. It’s reminiscent of an old New Order melody. Need I say more?
Eminem’s 8 Mile—the movie and the record—R. Kelly, Kanya West . . . rap artists amaze me. The sheer amount of words they use blows me away, as does the gymnastic phrasing common to so many of their songs.
It’s the subtle phrasing of some of the lyrics in Push to Start that made me want to listen to the song over and over. Just the way Starranko says, “Push to Start”, the slight bend to the words, that little bit of curve—that’s what I love, that’s what’s irresistible to me. And the story behind Push to Start is just as vital. Domingos Muekalia told me,
“The inspiration for the song came over this past summer when I was going to quit making music. But when I went over to Portugal to visit my family I felt this strong connection with music and the country as a whole and felt a rebirth. As I was over there I had the beat with me and began writing lyrics to it and kind of just went from there.”
Starranko I’m so glad you didn’t quit music, and I’m just going to say something to you and all the writers and musicians reading this—
Never give up.
You may need new inspiration, but that’s not hard to find. Just come here. Or look out your window. Or in your journal. Watch a movie.
Whatever it takes. As an encouraging editor once said to me, KEEP GOING.
Domingos Muekalia Jr. was born and raised in Falls Church, VA and says he has “a burning passion for music of all genres, except country—sorry that I’m not sorry about that.” He’s been inspired by Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Nirvana, Jay Z, Tupac, Biggie, Eminiem, and Radiohead. He says he “tries to blend different genres and sounds into a unique style that is all my own.” He succeeds.
So go ahead. Push to start.
We pull up off the lot where that button at? It’s Push to Start! Haters talkin shit wanna put a bullet in my heart We pull up off the lot where that button at? it’s push to start! Haters talkin shit, wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart!
Bro I got tenacity coupled by veracity that gave me the audacity to make my own odd ass city You still with me come and get me, you know life ain’t really fair wanna have a nightmare ight then I’ll take you there Now you see who I be skinnier B.I.G. May as well be waldo y’all can’t even find me! Come try me I’ll lay you down kindly career need an I.V. bitch stay hiding Rap like an M4 or semi automatic slow down the flow to make this shit more dramatic Put this on my life i be killin every stanza you’ll see who’s the boss but I am not tony danza Yeah I be the man huh? niggaz know the plan duh takin over the game so put that in your planner See so many pigs got me feel in like an angry bird catapulting to the top with like each and every word clearing every hurdle flowing like I’m squirtle I’m a strain on your brain like a mental girdle Deck your halls with my balls I’m join balls to walls with the beast of music sheets yeah we came from churches falls paint it black very vivid like a picture only thing that got more verses is the holy scripture yeah take a picture swag gin every day just know I got the most art call me Amadeus
Hook: We pull up off the lot where that button at? It’s Push to Start! Haters talkin shit wanna put a bullet in my heart We pull up off the lot where that button at? it’s push to start! Haters talkin shit, wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart!
When I rap like this niggaz cease to exist but they can find peace in the other haters midst when I rhyme and rip mothafuckas gonna trip like they got two feet “that’s some clever shit” Cuz my thoughts stay full in the spot where we mobbin pull up on a nigga like he Christopher Robin No change, I only carry bills Competition’s alive, I’d rather kill they’re wills Gawddamn I am who I am if you don’t like that then run and tell the man but this is my time nigga welcome to my avenue wealth and good health are the only things that I accrue Im just a nigga certified as certifiable bring the fight to you it dont matter if Im liable Lord like Tolkien Rings like Jordan wanna duke it out mothatfucka bring the sword then
Click the pic to go to find Starranko on iTunes. Thanks.
Little Heart is a subtle Valentine. Beautiful in its simplicity, the song grows more poignant and profound with each listen. Topping out at a minute and a half, Little Heart is short. To catch the full meaning of this delicate, minimalist piece, I recommend that you play it over and over, like I did.
An impressionistic wisp of a song, Little Heart consists only of a lead vocal and evocative background vocals, sung in pure tones and whispers. Vocals that sigh with yearning, even as the lyrics scold.
Lisa West, a songwriter from Denton, Texas who records under the name Faerytale, found her inspiration for Little Heart in the writings of Tolkien, and in the idea that, “we tend to be hardest on ourselves”.
How cold of you, little heart
How sweet and liquid you tried to deceive
Did you honestly believe my eyes did not see?
Now backtrack, little heart, now run
Do you honestly believe you run from me?
Try to find those paths by which you came
And be careful, little heart, you are lame
Cold, grey, victim of your own sway
I was not, we were not
Equals, little heart, friendly, kind
My eyes bore into your motive and we both saw
Run, little heart, run
Read more about Lisa West on EaRiE. Connect with her fb.
SoundCloud, where the Sirenstories SoundCloud lives, is apparently a great place for collaboration. From what I can gather, among other things, it’s like . . . online dating for musicians, or rather, online making.
With Valentine’s Day fluttering towards us on ickle cupid wings, it seems like a good time to post one of the collaborative pieces submitted to the Sirenstories SoundCloud. There have been quite a few uploaded recently.
Roses is a gorgeous song full of yearning, with a guitar track from Telefan and lyrics and vocals by Linde Sagen.
I’ve listened to Roses over and over for about twenty minutes. There’s something elusive about the song. The form sounds loose, feels organic. The lyrics seem a little loose as well, as far as rhyme, and at times, even reason. And yet . . . I love the lyrics. Love the surprising sentiment of the song: Hold your roses back.
Jim M from Philadelphia, who goes by Telefan, is a guitar player who has collaborated with dozens of artists on SoundCloud. He was the one who uploaded Roses, so I looked him up to find out a bit more about the song, but found only this lovely note: “Linde Sagen created some amazing vocals and lyrics for my music. It was an honor to work with her again.”
I’m sure Linde Sagen would say the same about Telefan. His jazz inspired guitar playing has a beautiful, clean tone. I look forward to listening to more of his collaborations.
Do you remember our very first night; we were busy chasing green lights Time was raining on with crazy love, holding hands, dancing with a free mind And the smell of green grass was never greater
Hold your fancy roses back, don`t buy me with a bunch of fancy crap Hold the speed of your words, what does it matter now, wrong or right Hold your roses back, I don`t need them anymore See whatever that comes around, you’re begging me for more I said hold your fancy roses back, I said hold your fancy roses back I don`t need them anymore
Dazzled away by roses, dazzled away by a bunch of fancy roses It’s hard tonight, imagine what the world would be without you Just a bunch of fancy roses (those days are over)
Hold your fancy roses back, don`t buy me with a bunch of fancy crap All I know it’s better than before, all I know his living for the moment Roses, all I know he`s breathing on me now. This boy never read the weather All I know he`s breathing on me, don’t you ever stop I see you holding back the future, I see us falling back to pieces Hold your fancy roses back Where does he run to, where does he run to now I`ll never lay me down in his bed of roses . . .
Linde Sagen – lyrics, and vocals.
Telefan – guitars, and bass.
Today I was working on a new manuscript, which really means, I was listening to a lot of new music.
New and new. That’s just what I do. A story has to have a soundscape. A soundtrack all its own.
Later, some songs will fall by the wayside, and I’ll wind up with a playlist made up entirely of songs I adore, that can transport me to my fictional world immediately.
It’s like, double escape. Double journey. Good as double chocolate. If you write, try it. Writing to music is my favorite thing to do, besides maybe singing.
Naturally, I wound up today at the Sirenstories SoundCloud, my secret source for new indie music. In the cloud I found Night Owl, a beautiful, evocative song by Megan McClean.
After listening to Night Owl a few times, I stopped working on my shiny new novel and decided it was time to share the song with you.
Barry Snaithof Wakefield, Britain, who goes by the name, The Inconsistent Jukebox, produced Night Owl, and says of Megan and the song, “I love her voice and it’s a truly beautiful song. It was a pleasure to add what I could to an already haunting piece of art.”
“Megan had originally recorded this on some shitty little mobile phone (probably inside her pocket by the sound of it!). I hope you all like it and can get through the rough sonic quality to see the diamond within.”
We definitely see it Barry. We hear it. We love it.
Megan McClean goes by the nom-de-plume, War Is Noise. On Night Owl shesings and plays acoustic guitar.
Barry Snaith was kind enough to send me the lyrics for Night Owl, with a lovely note that included TONS of amazingness, and this:
“These are the words, but Megan tends to improvise. If you listen, you’ll find that she rarely sings the same way twice – it’s all utterly heartfelt, an outpouring of emotion. That’s what makes it so captivating.”
The availability of digital recording software, apps, and dyi culture, coupled with the constant state of flux of the music industry, has allowed the process of home recording to become just as sophisticated and creative as studio recording. These days, plenty of talented musicians make their records at home.
And then there are the musicians that make their records sound like home.
That’s the case with Michelle Held—whose name is a speck of a song all its own, go ahead, say it aloud—a singer songwriter from Detroit, who “has a big heart and a guitar” and whose gorgeous song, God Damn I Don’t Know, (which she recorded at home),is a thing of beauty and provocation.
Somebody said I should believe in you And somebody else said that you’re just not true And the other guy he claims it’s just a vibration between the two He said we’re always in motion And the other guy says that’s just some magic notion he made up To fill in the gaps
Everybody’s walkin along at their own accord tryin to get some sort of award Cause they think it means somethin But I don’t know I don’t know what it means anymore I’m tryin to clear my head I’m just walkin along thinkin about people who’re passed and dead And I don’t know where they gone to
Thinkin about em makes me sad and blue And it makes me wanna stay so damn true But I don’t know I don’t know who to stay true to Everybody’s right and singin their own song and if they sing it loud enough They’ll be able to prove you wrong But I don’t know I don’t know anymore
And the other guy says that I do know And I got all I need to prove it’s so But I don’t know I don’t know if he knows what he’s talkin about Everything now seems strange to me You seem weird too but don’t take that personally Cause I don’t I don’t know what I’m talkin about
And if it’s true if it’s true that I do know And I got all I need to prove it’s so Well if that’s true if that’s true then why do I feel so God Damn blue And now I’m afraid I just offended you But those are just some letters that somebody threw together And who’s to say who’s to say they have to remain that way
Maybe all that was once tried and true has grown And what was set in stone has been blown it ain’t new no more but old And all the stories we were sold how can you be sure that they still hold Maybe the person who said it was black or white or good or bad Was just as sad and blue as you and me and Maybe he was trying to find his own way tryin to find a way to break free too
And the other guy said just take the time commit your mind And sooner or later you’ll be fine But I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know if he’s right But I hope he’s right I hope what he’s sayin is true And I hope this fight takes me from here to you Cause if it don’t take me somewhere well that don’t seem fair
And you gotta remember the joy’s in the journey But does the joy end after they wheel you out on that gurney I don’t know I don’t know anymore . . .
Michelle Held has contributed several songs to the Sirenstories SoundCloud and God Damn I Don’t Know is my favorite. Although there are plenty of differences in style, for example Held’s voice is unparalleled when it comes to vibrato, Michelle Held makes me think of Rickie Lee Jones, early Michele Shocked, and Elizabeth Cotton—quite an aural cocktail.
God Damn I Don’t Know is a song written out frustration with life; not knowing what to do with it. Think Held’s figured it out, yeah?
Love the tags she used on SoundCloud: Indie. Folk. Tired of the Bullshit. Question Everything.
Coal, Pressure, Time is the latest musical effort from Bandleader, a talented indie group fronted by Vermont singer songwriter Patrick McCormack.
When Patrickcontacted me and said he was kickstarting a new project, I was super excited and immediately became a supporter. The campaign was a success, and Coal, Pressure, Time, was released earlier this month. Today I’m psyched to share my favorite track from the CD, Can, Have, Will, a beautiful song that starts with a perfectly recorded guitar part and a vocal that brings Nick Drake to mind—a Nick Drake who isn’t so detached.
The casual, conversational vocal style of Can, Have, Will also reminds me of one of my favorite records of all time, an alt/country CD called Trace, from Son Volt.
Can, Have, Will is full of sweetness. The tune is uplifting, and the lyrics are both a promise, and an apology.
Trust in me I’ll be your first
Drop the reigns, girl I can take your worst
I can take your worst
Speak to me, I’ll lend an ear
Tell me things like no one else should hear
You know it’s crystal clear
I owe your body and your soul for being so cold
I mistreated you, but I can make it right again
I can, I have, and I will
Seagull bones and stones you keep
Take them home, reminds you of the beach
When you went with me
Make it known our souls will keep
Spoken code scripted underneath
I owe your body and your soul for being so cold
I mistreated you, but I can make it right again
I can, I have, and I will
As someone who once recorded in a converted barn in upstate New York, I can imagine what it was like for Bandleader to set up a temporary studio in an old hunting lodge in the wilds of Vermont. Two words: Dream Session. Love this description from Bandleader‘s press kit:
“About an hour from familiar territory, the hand constructed hunting lodge sat cold in the remaining snow beside its recently thawed brook. Only here could the band escape cell reception and all responsibility to focus solely on the task at hand. They recruited trusted collaborator and Chicago based engineer, Jamie Carter. With a mutual dedication to the same ideals, they kept an unbroken focus on distilling a moment, and preserving expressions . . . The release of Coal, Pressure, Time marks the dawn of a young, ambitious band with a solid and determined path. With both eyes on the horizon, Bandleader carries on in search of new and fertile grounds on which to rest their amps.”
Nearly two years ago Sirenstories featured Ovenbird, one of the songs Patrick McCormack recorded as a solo artist. It remains one my favorite songs on the blog. Please check it out here. As far as the band, “Bandleader came together as a result of front man Patrick McCormack‘s quest to bring his singer/songwriter material to the stage. After recruiting three other like minded musicians, the band quickly outgrew the notion of playing backup, and instead, an unpredictably colorful sound took life.”
In our back and forth, Patrick explained, “The group consists of myself, Jordon Chamberlin, and Alex Cseh. Our bassist, Dan, is no longer a part of the band, officially. Though he is filling in at our next show, we are currently searching for a new bassist. At the moment, we consider ourselves a three-piece, that’s the core group. No hard feelings whatsoever with Dan, he just had too much on his plate, and lives 40 minutes away from us.”
Dan? You might want to rethink that commute.
Please follow Patrick McCormack on twitter and Bandleader on fb.
PS Isn’t the album art gorgeous? I’ll share info if I get it. Meanwhile, who wants a t-shirt? Yes, please.