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.

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

Hold Your Roses Back

roses for blog

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.

Roses

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.

Night Owl

NIGHTOWL

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 Snaith of 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 she sings 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.”

NIGHT OWL

Lover you pierce my heart


Like a night owl in the dark


And I don’t know how to say these words

Which are unheard

But so simple from my heart.

 

I praise The Lord above 


That is my humble word.


I’m a vagabond


And that is my heritage, dear,


So accept me or not.

 

Lover you pierce my heart


Like a night owl in the dark


And I don’t know how to say these words

Which are unheard

But so simple from my heart.

 

And, with arms stretched so wide


Into the night sky

Past is dead


But you still read what they said.


There is no charm.


Your heart was once warm.

 

Lover you pierce my heart


Like a night owl in the dark


And I don’t know how to say these words

Which are unheard

But so simple from my heart.

 

Album art image by Adrian James Hill.

PS Do yourself a favor and click the link for James Hill. Gorgeousness awaits you.

Coal, Pressure, Time

BANDLEADER

Coal, Pressure, Time is the latest musical effort from Bandleader, a talented indie group fronted by Vermont singer songwriter Patrick McCormack.

When Patrick contacted 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

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.”

pmlodge

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.

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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.

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.

The Commuters

COMMUTERS

As I Make My Way starts with a scratchy guitar riff that morphs into a burst of late Beatlesque sound then moves into a groove that for some reason, although it’s slower, makes me thing of Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend. Maybe it’s not the rhythm, maybe it’s the lo-fi production, (which I love), or that rough around the edges guitar part, but I swear, there’s a little bit of Sweet’s megahit in there.

And then, As I Make My Way is nothing but The Commuters, with their very own pop/rock, anthemic sound. And even though it’s a band sound, the mix never gets crowded, never becomes a wall of music, and stays refreshingly lo-fi—that hint of Sweet’s Girlfriend, all grown up, and possibly holding a U2 CD in her hands—with vocals that are sometimes tough, sometimes tender, always honest. Grounded.

I’m seeing light from the other side of morning
Reflected light from the other side of day
I’m seeing light from the other side of morning
I’m seeing light, my mind is blown away

…My mind is blown away — away
I’ll figure it out as I make my way

I watch the world from the other side of owning
The things I’ve held, I’ve let them go away
I watch the world from the other side of owning
I watch the world, desires have slipped away

…Desires have slipped away — away
I’ll figure it out as I make my way

I’m on a journey, I’ve got my faith
I don’t have to worry about my fate
The planets align as the will dictates
I’m writing it out as I make my way

I walk through time with a different understanding
Embracing what I see along the way
I walk though time with a different understanding
I’ll figure it out, as I make my way

…as I make my way — my way
I’ll figure it out as I make my way

I’m on a journey, I’ve got my faith
I don’t have to worry about my fate
The planets align as the will dictates
I’m writing it out as I make my way…

Siren Zeeshan Zaidi, frontman and founder of The Commuters, was generous enough to share the story behind As I Make My Way.

“This song is about the vision I had all my life of becoming a professional musician and just going for it. I’d been in and around the music industry much of my life, but had put my own musical dreams on the back burner. One day I was deep in thought and said to myself: Some day I will die. And when that day comes I don’t want to look back on my life and kick myself for not doing what deep down inside I’ve always wanted to do. So the song is about that moment, and going for it, and not worrying too much about outcomes — about giving it your all and just trusting that things will work out as they are supposed to.

Ironically, even though this was the obvious first single, in the studio, this was one of the last songs to come together. It was lagging a bit behind the other songs and I wasn’t sure if it would even make the album. Then one day I said to Uri — let’s take a cue from the song itself and lay down some cool parts, starting with a great intro, without caring too much about how it turns out. Just let it go. So then I came up with the two guitar parts you hear in the intro and put them down, and Uri was messing around with a keyboard and came up with the really killer synth riff, as well as the scratchy sound at the beginning.
Felt a lot like magic.”

And sounds a lot like magic. So glad The Commuters got it down.

The Commuters are: Zeeshan Zaidi (Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Songwriter, Co-Producer), Uri Djemal (Guitar, Keyboards, Co-Producer), Ben Zwerin (Bass), and Paul Amorese (Drums). Their full 11 song album Rescue was mastered by White Stripes/Ryan Adams collaborator Fred Kevorkian and includes Take a Step Back, a gorgeous ballad that I’m particularly in love with. Rescue is available on bandcamp so you can easily choose the tracks you want, or get the entire album, which is what I recommend.

The music video for As I Make My Way is of the Day In A Life variety, but what makes it so interesting, besides the fact that it uses the band’s hometown of NYC as a backdrop, is that it shows Zeeshan Zaidi as the start of the day not as a musician, but as The Man In The Gray Flannel suit tech entrepreneur that he is in his ‘other’ life.