Sooo…what’s going on here, anyway?

I’ve been avoiding this question for quite a while, but in a nutshell: SoundCloud has changed a lot since I started this blog, and it’s grown increasingly difficult and time consuming to post other people’s music here, although that’s why I originally created Sirenstories.com.

As a new mom and aspiring novelist, I was missing my first love: music. So I started this blog to inspire myself to seek out new independent artists. And I think I did a pretty good job. There’s a LOT of great music posted on this site. My goal was to accept every song uploaded to the Sirenstories SoundCloud, find something I loved about it, and share.

The blog was a delightful diversion for me, as well as a way to give back. A way to discover new independent artists, amazing songs, and gorgeous composed music.

But now, because of the changes on SoundCloud, and in my own life, I’m officially moving on from the original Sirenstories.com format. From here, I’m not sure how the blog will evolve—but I don’t want to just let it go.

So hopefully sometime soon, I’ll start updating links, and continuing to connect with musicians and authors whose work I admire. But for today, here’s some work of my own. My first book trailer. Please click on the pic below to watch, and if you have a sec, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy this small peek into Cate and David’s world…

And until we meet again, I hope you take good care of each other, and work for what you want. You know what I’m talking about.

Love,

Mimi

Cate sitting w guitar on lake copy.jpg

Before Goodbye, The Song

Out today on CDBaby. Soon to be on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon—where the music is.

Out today on CDBaby. Soon to be on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon—wherever music lives. I wrote “Before Goodbye” to go along with my debut novel of the same name. You can get a copy of the song by clicking here. Hope you enjoy! “Before Goodbye” was recorded in Woodstock, NY and produced by the illustrious Kevin Salem.

 

The Tree

 

JC 2

A bleakness of mood that evokes Nick Drake.

Phrasing that raises the specter of Jeff Buckley.

British songwriter and photographer J.C. Wrightson’s stark songs are instantly ear catching. Deceptively simple on first listen, they are minimalist in nature, and grainy in texture, and it is there, in that bit of a blur, that you feel the rub: Wrightson’s songs are not as simple as they sound, not simply sad, not simply vulnerable. They are those things, but they are also something more. A finger crooking, not so much in invitation, but to indicate direction: it is here, look here, in the seam of the song. Listen to the words, and also, listen to the words that are missing.

Something existential this way comes, disguised as an emo neo folk song.

J.C. Wrightson’s brief Twitter bio mentions that he’s living in Stockholm, but that’s pretty much all I know about his personal life. I started this post months ago, and tonight Wrightson’s website is down, so I can’t include the bio that I’d made a note about, the one that I apparently thought was, “as romantic as they come.”

Hopefully I can find out more about J.C. Wrightson in the future and update this post, but I’ve already waited too long to get this song up. Here’s The Tree, recorded live in Carlisle, UK. After you listen to it, you may want to check out the music video below. Nothing is Forever had me holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen—and so much happens, and nothing happens. Beautiful, and heartbreaking, and like The Tree, the video for Nothing is Forever is deceptively simple, and a killer. 

 

Push to Start

Starranko

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

Star3
Click the pic to go to find Starranko on iTunes. Thanks.

Little Heart

How cold of you, little heart

How sweet and liquid you tried to deceive

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

lisawest

Read more about Lisa West on EaRiE. Connect with her fb.

And—

Happy Valentines’s Day from Sirenstories

X♥X

God Damn I Don’t Know.

Michelle Held painting

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.

Please follow Michelle Held on fb and twitter.

Then check out Libby, still going strong at 92.

All The Pretty Things Between

Face The King Lyrics copy 1

So. Hard. To decide.

Which Face The King song to feature. Because my head is all . . . blurry.

Being in love does that.

And Eric Zirlinger has a voice to fall in love with.

The first song I heard by the New York City based band Face the King was All The Pretty Things Between. With one chorus—the band had me. It’s just such a . . . Lemonheads thing to say. (Yes, they’re still around, who knew?) All The Pretty Things Between. It’s a book title. A movie. A life. Plus, the infectious, poppy chorus reminds me of the Stone Roses, on a really good day. Caffeinated.

Then there’s The Science Apart, which takes its cue from the early music of U2. And You, Me & the Sound, a whirl-around-the-room song, that again, makes me think of Bono.

But I think The Stage is the Face The King song I love the most, so that’s the one I’ll post.

“Well I just want to be

Onstage

When the lights go down . . . ”

On their website, the members of Face The King call themselves an “independent alternative hard rock band”, and they definitely are. But on The Stage, the first verse is whispered, and the languid vocals of the first chorus have a delicate beauty that builds until Eric Zirlinger slides into a falsetto so full of yearning . . . it’s like a spill of late afternoon light.

By the end of the song Zirlinger is practically shouting, and that works too. If you’ve ever wanted something so badly you’ve cried for it, you’ll feel this song.

I imagine Linkin Park fans in particular will love The Stage, and some listeners might even say that the song is graced—just for a few gorgeous notes—by the spirit of Jeff Buckley.

 

You say that I’m a dreamer . . .

But you’re calling my name

You say that I’m failure . . .

But you’re calling my name

 

Well I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .  

 

You say that I’m a liar,

But you’re calling my name

You say that I’m an alien,

But you’re calling—you’re calling my name

 

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .

 

They’re calling my name

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling, You’re calling, You’re calling my name . . .

 

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .

 

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling my name . . . 

 

Face The King is Eric Zirlinger (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dan DelVechio (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Joey Dammacco (bass, synth, backing vocals), and Randy Palumbo (drums, percussion).

Singer Face The King

Face the King Guitar

Face The King Bass

Face The King Drums

PS Great news: You can get these songs for free, along with one more. A stadium ready, anthemic tune called The Burning and The Falling Down. The five songs comprise The Sound, a preview EP that’s newly released in anticipation of the band’s full length CD.

I don’t know how long Face The King will be giving away The Sound, but for now it’s available to download.

And then you can listen to it over and over.