The Sea

Face the King

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 . . .

Dan DelVecchio

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.

An Impressionistic Wisp of a Song

“I was doing time in the universal mind,
I was feeling fine.
I was turning keys, I was setting people free,
I was doing all right.
Then you came along
With a suitcase and a song,
Turned my head around.
Now I’m so alone
Just looking for a home
In every place I see.
I’m the freedom man, I’m the freedom man.
I’m the freedom man, that’s how lucky I am.”

You may recognize these lyrics from Jim Morrison’s bluesy song, Universal Mind, but the music may be a bit harder to place. That’s because the atmospheric piano track and whispery vocals belong to Biirdy, a French student living in Paris. Biirdy says her influences are many, including Cat Powers, Emily Jane White, Kings of Leon, Beach Fossils, Yann Tiersen, and The XX—one of my personal favorites.

The title of Biirdy’s piece is Sapere Aude, which is Latin for “dare to know” The original use of this phrase seems to be in the poet Horace’s book of Epistlesdimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude, incipe (“He who has begun is half done: dare to know!”). It can also be translated as “Dare to be wise”. The phrase forms the moral to a story where a fool waits for the stream to stop before crossing it. “He who begins is half done. Dare to be wise. Make a beginning.” is a loose translation. Horace’s words suggest the value of human endeavour, of persistence in reaching a goal and of the need for effort in overcoming obstacles.

This sounds like great writing advice, or . . . maybe someone’s horoscope. Either way, I’m going to let Sapere Aude wash over me while I write today and see what happens.

Epistles, or, Letters, by Horace were published in two books, in 20 BC and 14 BC, respectively—can you tell I’ve been to Wikipedia today? I’d only do that for a track I really love.

Biirdy copy

R.M. Isaiah’s San Francisco Sound is Magically Tragic

Exploring the music of R.M. Isaiah this morning has been a rich experience full of serendipity for me. I’d like to write a bit more about this, but I’m still reeling, and there’s too much I need to tell you about this great artist.

As you listen, you may find yourself comparing R.M. Isaiah‘s voice to the voice of legendary singer songwriter Tom Waits, and there are similarities. The amount of gravel in their throats for instance, is nearly the same. But there’s something softer about R.M. Isaiah and somehow more accessible. Less complicated, but no less poetic.

Your body I know is a wise man

A pawn in my collection of friends

There are books about Tom Waits, and I’m not going to try to sum up his style or his work here in a few sentences, but although truth lurks and snakes inside his songs, they are often performances, performance pieces. Tom Waits is a master at creating a cast of characters that strut and crawl across the stage of his songs.

But R.M. Isaiah is doing what Tom Waits was so floored by Dylan doing. He’s sitting down with the guitar and telling a story. There’s no circus. Isaiah is not a caricature of himself. Meanwhile High Witness, the band that Isaiah is a part of and who he recorded Master and Margarita with, creates the perfect bed for Isaiah’s voice to lie in. There’s no distraction. The first chord is so lush, for a second I thought I was going to be listening to a jazz tune, and even the shimmering cymbal crashes support Isaiah’s voice. Nothing gets in the way. There is one personality here, making music that’s earthy, mysterious, and immediate.

If you click through on the cover of the evocatively titled Numbers Have Their Way and visit R.M. Isaiah‘s bandcamp page, you’ll be able to listen to and download the digital album. I urge you to do this.

The song Master and Margarita intrigued me before I even heard it, because just as I was about to read the title my gaze slid across the screen and landed on the song’s label. It had been marked True Fiction.

You ask my about my trip to the labyrinth

But I can’t think of nothing to say

And that’s the only lie I heard. R.M. Isaiah has plenty to say, and I plan on listening.

The Siren Song of Parakeets

Alternative, Indie, Postpunk. These are terms that describe the music of Parakeets.

As I listen to the energetic delivery and guitar riffs of iii I hear the influence of The Police. As I enjoy the insistent, slightly paranoid sounding vocals on iii I can’t help but think of The Talking Heads. The phrasing of the vocals in the beginning of iii actually reminds me of an old Steely Dan song, and there’s a bit of Interpol in Parakeets sound as well. But when the chorus comes in, the song is all David Byrne.

Except that iii isn’t a David Byrne song. It’s a Parakeets song.

Parakeets are from London and they left me this lovely note when I asked for more info about them:

“hi, yes we are parakeets were a alternative band from north london. We like to play for ourselves and work hard at what we do. I like to write and write and i love words. we work towards creating intense energy on stage and i like to harness nervousness and turn it into something energetic and exiting. we would like to see ourselves as a contemporary band on the cutting edge of the indie music scene. we are quite new and shiny we have been playing together as parakeets for just under a year and have played a few shows over the summer. we have recently recorded 11 tracks which are on our bandcamp page. we are currently working on new material at the moment and working toward 2 london dates on the 26th of nov at the enterprise and the 17th of december at the bowery. maybe a physical release isn’t far off.”

I’m looking forward to listening to more Parakeets, but for now, I’ll just pogo around my office.

I floated, greatly
To the graveled court yard
I flattered, shaky
‘neath the railed houses
my wound was a blessed
drenched pretty in red

III lost my sister
III lost my sister
The secret churches
Are not in this world

I looked at you and it cost me my life
Sick of break-point, carried, join us
Sickled tasker, married, asker
Sink-hole bellows from the
Terra-Madre
Kill her this way and kill her that way
We’ve got 5 days who stays who stays
So happy that it shed its skin
Climb high, dig deep, let the thoughts begin

III lost my sister
III lost my sister
The secret churches
Are not in this world

III lost my sister and
III love my sister
The birds sing nicer once or twice
A crippled right a troubled biter

quiet pace against
the past is tired again so
since the days without was pending
and up to . . .

And yes they are quite “new and shiny”, so do them a favor and click on the picture above to go to their fb page and ‘like’ them.