90s Nostalgia Mixed With Modern Alternative

Happyness is sure to bring you exactly what their name offers with their 90s alternative rock lead guitar style along with their abstract lyrics that lead you to places in your mind that you don’t pay much attention to. How many British guys does it take to create this sick sound, you ask? Three! Jon EE Allan (Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Benji Compston (Guitar, Vocals), and Ash Cooper (Drums). This band has played festivals such as Reading and Leeds which is where so many of my favorite legendary bands have played.

Their first album Weird Little Birthday was released on March 30th of 2015 from their personal studio, Jelly Boy Studios. This record is 17 tracks long, some of the songs being pretty lengthy. The next bit of music they produced was an EP Tunnel Vision On Your Part, released on September 23rd, 2016, and is 5 tracks long, named after the last song. Their most recent album Write In, not out yet, releases on April 7th of this year (2017). This record will features 2 tracks from the previous EP.

My Favorite Tunes (I know, I listed a lot):

‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’

‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’

‘Friend Of The Revolution’

‘SB’s Truck’

‘Orange Luz’

‘It’s On You’

‘Leave The Party’

‘Monkey In the City’

‘You Come To Kill Me?!’

‘A Whole New Shape’

The guys got their name from the song “Hello Moscow” by Brute Force and mispelled it purposely to pay tribute to Happy Shoppers convenience store.

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Photo by SOPH tv
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Photo by Stereogum

Audio Preview of ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’ (2015): 

Thanks for reading, take a listen and tell me what ya think.

 

 

 

 

 

Mismatched, Hazy, and Dazy

Here are some bands that I’ve been listening to like crazy. Hope ya like em’ too.

twin peaks

These dudes are from Chicago (but sound pretty west coast-y). TRIGGER WARNING-IF YOU HATE CLASSIC ROCK- WHICH YOU SHOULDN’T, DO NOT READ. Twin Peaks, who are named after the 90’s pop culture tv show, bring those giddy feelings to fans of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones (aka me) because there are so many similarities, but in the most original way possible. Twin Peaks color outside the lines and you can never get bored of their melody switches. There’re new sounds that pop out each time you listen to their music. Cadien Lake James definitely gets his vocal inspiration from one of my favorite human beings on the planet, the one and only, Mick Jagger. In their tunes, “Cold Lips“, “Heavenly Showers“, “Holding Roses“, “Stain“, and “Have You Ever” from the record, “Down In Heaven“, you can totally hear a bit of Mick in it. Also, the song “Wanted You” is like a reincarnation of “Beast of Burden” by the Stones (not even close to as good, but a really cool song). The other members of the band are Clay Frankel (guitar), Jack Dolan (bass) and Connor Brodner (drums).

My Favorite Record:

Down In Heaven released on May 13th, 2016 from Grand Jury Records

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Photo from Chicago Tribune

 

mystic braves

Bringing forth a psychedelic, trippy sound mixed with LA surf rock and a look to match, this five-piece absolutely have one of the most unique sounds that you’ll hear from any band. Their melodies contain completely original arrangements, so you will never catch yourself saying “these guys sound like…” with any of their tunes. Mystic Braves, being a fairly new band released their first self-titled record in 2012 and it features 12 songs that all sound completely different from eachother. The lead singer, Julian Ducatenzeiler’s vocals can be compared to Brooks Neilsen from The Growlers. They both have a distinct sound that pair really well with their sounds. They have mentioned that the more their band grows, the more new sounds they bring into the mix. Instruments such as the 12-string, acoustic and electric piano, and a tambura. They constantly push their rare and standout vibe. The other members include Cameron Gartung (drums), Tony Malacara (bass,vocals), Ignacio Gonzalez (organ, tabourine), and Shane Stots (guitar, vocals). Mystic Braves are such a festival band and can absorb the vibe of the environment and bounce it right back to their audience.

My Favorite Record:

Mystic Braves released on October 2nd, 2012 from LOLIPOP RECORDS

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Photo from The Minimal Beat

 

hala

Ian Ruhala, known as Hala to the music world, has been writing music for years, creating two full albums, a few other demos, and live recordings. Think about Mac Demarco and Travis Bretzer morphed into one person and this is what you get. Hala has aspects of both, but you can’t really place him in a direct category. I feel like he’s still a very young artist, but that makes it more exciting to see what sounds he experiments with and what his music grows into eventually.

My Favorite Record:

Spoonfed released on May 13th of 2016 by Citrus City Records

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Photo from Melted Magazine

 

good morning

It’s a real good morning whenever you listen to this band. From Melbourne, Australia, the slow and mellow sound of their tunes attract fans of different genres of music all together. These guys are comparable to Alex Calder, but like a less synthy version. They incorporate mellow indie with rock components that bring together a harmonious vibe. In a lot of their songs, they have altered tuning which is where that sweet twangy electric sound comes from. The garage-rock muffled recording sound is so authentic and  you can hear clearly in the track, “You” that appears on “On the Street/You“, which is one of my favorite songs. This is a band that’s definitely one I need to see live before they get any bigger. The members of this band are Stephen Blair and Liam Parsons, but they have a live bonus of John Considine and James Macleod.

My Favorite Record:

Shawcross released on November 14th of 2014 from Solitaire Records

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Photo from Happy Mag

 

Till next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Listened to Albums of 2016

If you know me, you know I have to be listening to music 24-7. My music taste is predominately indie and alternative, so the reviews I do will be on artists from that genre. These are a few the albums that I’ve been playing the most so far this year. I’ll include some thoughts and favorite songs.

  • Mac Demarco: Salad Days Demos
    • Review: Although the Salad Days album is arguably one of the best indie records ever, the Demo version is super overlooked. The music is more raw and its a lot easier to pay attention solely to the groovy guitar riffs and quirky warped, scratchy vinyl sound that Mac has acquired as his own throughout his career. If you’re familiar to Mac’s older music, like his album “Rock and Roll Night Club” which are tracks featuring low-pitched vocals and slowed down DJ skits, Salad Days is such a different sound. The Demos sound so much more experimental and really show off his instrumental skills, not to mention his creative lyrical base. It brings us back to a sort of psychedelic (good drug trip, not bad) 70s sound.
    • Favorite Tracks:
      • track 7: Pepperoni Playboy
      • track 10: Go Easy
      • track 8: Brother
      • track 3: Ken The Wolf Boy

leftsides (mac demarco)

  • Leif Vollebekk: North Americana
    • Review: Leif Vollebekk is an artist that I just recently discovered earlier this year, and I’m so happy that I did. This album is one of those that there isn’t one song that you can say you dislike. I can’t put my finger on my favorite aspect of the album, so I’ll just name them all. One is that each song sounds sort of like a one take. It’s usually the little things that catch my attention in music. In some of his songs, he speaks in the beginning and it feels like you’re sitting in a dimmed coffee shop late at night, watching him play on a stool. You can hear him swallow in between words and the finger picking and strumming of the acoustic guitar sounds like each chord is its own song because they’re so carefully played. The rasp of his voice paired with the way he enunciates each word is amazing. I feel like his lyrics were originally journal entries, poems or stories before the music was placed behind them. This was an impressive sophomore album for Vollebekk following his first record, “Inland“, which is also a favorite of mine.
    • Favorite Tracks:
      • track 2: Off the Main Drag
      • track 5: At the End of the Line
      • track 1: Southern United States
      • track 6: Takk Sömuleiðisleftsides blog (leif vollebekk)
  • Blind Pilot: 3 Rounds and a Sound
    •  Review: This album from 2009 is the band’s first album and one of my all time favorites. The album as a whole is super mellow, and they’re from Portland, Oregon so they’re automatically from a cool music scene. The front man, Israel Nebecker’s voice is so so beautiful and the lyrics seem to be so carefully written to grasp the meaning perfectly. The melody of each song will get so stuck in your head, fit perfectly in any situation, and if you’re a guitar player (or desperately trying to teach yourself like me), I would suggest any song off of this album to learn.
    • Favorite Tracks:
      • track 5: One Red Thread
      • track 4: Poor Boy
      • track 8: I Buried a Bone
      • track 2: The Story I Hearda0fc070e692161d09c222f57555c7651.640x640x1
  • Dave Matthews: Crash
    • Review: Dave Mathews Band, formed in Charlottesville, Virginia, is the best jam band there is. Crash, from 1996 is probably my favorite album of his. I grew up listening to him, and haven’t stopped. The band (including the drummer, a saxophonist, a trumpet player, a guitarist, a violinist, and a bass player) put together each song as a work of art and its insane. Seeing them live was one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever been to because each member’s full energy is put into each song, making it a sick experience. In short, if you have any sort of appreciation for music, you’ll enjoy listening to not only this album, but all of them.
    • Favorite tracks:
      • track 3: Crash into Me
      • track 8: Let You Down
      • track 9: Lie in Our Graves
      • track 4: #41

matthewscrash