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50 States of Talent continues This stop Indiana and Fossil Generation

 

Fossil Gen

 

Hailing from Muncie, Indiana the birthplace of the Garfield comic strip, y’know the fat orange cat who loves lasagna, Fossil Generation is an eclectic pop alternative band.  Fusing many styles but most easily recognized is early 90’s alternative before grunge took over a la  early That Petrol Emotion and Gene Loves Jezebel among other bands of that era that surfed  just under the mainstream radar.

Originally formed in 2010 by Bradley Thomas as support for his project “Bradley Thomas and Friends”.  They toured the midwest,  released 2 ep’s and an album.  Eventually the group decided to change direction and transformed themselves both musically and how they identified themselves. It was here that they decided upon the name Fossil Generation.  All aspects of the songwriting process became everyone’s responsibility.

primitiveThe first release from them as Fossil Generation is titled “Primitive”  Released 2013 available on itunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/primitive/id653283309  Unlike most bands who play around with a lyric and build from there these guys approached even the songwriting process differently, at least this time.  They wrote and solidified the music first and then added the lyrics.  “Primitive” is conceptual at its root.  Knowing this ahead of time helps if you want to follow the relationship between songs.  (some lyrics can be found here: http://www.sonicbids.com/band/fossilgeneration/lyrics/ )  If you aren’t paying much attention to the lyrics and just listening then you will be content with the sound of the guitars and the mini jams that  occur throughout.

However, the songs are relatable on a more human level.  They speak of alienation and remaining true to yourself and not conforming to the masses. This is a mindset that the members (Bradley Thomas, Shawn Ayala, Seth Scales and Ryan Minton) of Fossil Generation have embraced. In their corner of the country they provide a unique sound not conforming to the musical genres of their fellow local musicians/bands.  They chose this path because at the end of the day it is about staying true to oneself and being happy with the music you are creating.

Finding “local” musicians/bands to share is not always an easy task. These guys are definitely worth checking out if the early alternative sound is your thing. Even though that sound has been here before these guys approach it differently, with a modern twist.  If you are local to their corner of the world go see them live.  If you are not so local to the Indiana area then check out their webpage http://www.fossilgeneration.com/  Listing of upcoming shows are here as well as links to any media outlet such as twitter, YouTube, and  facebook  https://www.facebook.com/fossilgeneration and of course there is a link to Itunes where you can purchase “Primitive” https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/primitive/id653283309  and help support the local musician(!!)

Happy Listening

–NotHaydn

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Here comes a N’oreaster……….. Mystics Anonymous

With a N’oreaster on the horizon I thought it might be fitting to go back to the Northeast.  So back to Massachusetts and Mystics Anonymous. Jeff MA

Mystics Anonymous is the recording project of Jeff Steblea.  Formed in 1995 Jeff’s focus was artistic freedom. He released “Mystics Anonymous” in 1998.  However, a solid line up never materialized so with  a little creative thought a light bulb went off and Mystics Anonymous became a recording project as did building his own studio.  It was during this time that Jeff was asked to contribute some original scores for some independent tv/film projects.  The “Brutality of Beauty” was released in summer 2003 as a limited mail order featuring 7 new songs.  He also composed “Middle Distance” for the “Of the Earth” art exhibit at the Artworks Gallery in Connecticut.  That score was released in 2003 and comparisons of his work were made to Brian Eno and David Lynch. Mystics Anonymous was quite active during this time, recording and releasing “Winsted in the Space Room” also in 2004. It featured 14 new songs that leaned towards the more experimental side of Jeff without alienating the listener.

That brings us to present day and Mystics Anonymous’ latest release “Dreaming for Hours” which came out January 2014.  I’ve been listening to this thoroughly over the course of the last few weeks delving into the composition, style, the nuances of the vocals. The first sounds of “Sinner’s Lament” are that of a drum machine spewing a tribal beat that compels you to listen.   Slowly the other instruments/sounds are layered on top of it adding fullness and further drawing you into what’s next. Imagine smoke tendrils as fingers curling in a “come hither” motion. And you do.

In “Wells had it Right” the lyrics are poignant, reflective and present that leads you into “False Voices” which is an instrumental piece. This  experimental instrumental has all the ebb and flow of a tide. A little more than halfway in and you may notice some R2D2 sounds and a vocal sample as it seamlessly transitions into a tribal themed beat again, reminiscent of Meat Beat Manifesto.  The allterna-pop pace picks up again with “Knife Thrower”  The lyrical sarcasm/irony is smart and well done. For some reason “Days” really sticks with me.  Maybe it is because it reminds me of early World Party (All Come True) even be the way the backing vocal comes in and hi-lights the lyric that reminds me of the time I first heard Sinead O’Connor backing Karl Wallinger and World Party on Hawaiian Island World.

Mystics anonymous“Made of the Time” has a heavier sound to the vocal and overall mood of the song.  It reminds me of Low Pop Suicide / Joy Division and how they tended to be a bit darker without being completely dark.
The next few songs “Dreaming Interlude”, “Theme from Night Sweats”, “The Fifth Business”, and “Hours Epilogue” are the more experimental songs on the album. They contain more of an electronic feel and they are a welcome addition. It mixes up the alterna feel of the album and takes it into yet another musical realm. There is no easy classification of this release and I like that.  It has appeal to many in that sense.

Jeff states: “the whole point was to establish a project where nothing is off-limits”.  Well Jeff, mission accomplished.

Check out Mystics Anonymous on their website here:http://mysticsanonymous.com/ or like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mystics-Anonymous/326367507376859?ref=ts&fref=ts

Listen and download their stuff here :http://mysticsanonymous.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Happy listening

-Not Haydn

 

 

 

 

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Lee Gregory- Going Going, Going, Gone Solo

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A little while back I introduced you and followed up on a band out of Washington State, Strangely Alright.  Since that review the keyboard guru, Lee Gregory, has chosen to go solo and pursue other interests and projects.

His first release was a cover of Johann Johannsson’s “The Suns Gone Dim” which can be found on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/lee-gregory-keys  His version is a little different than the original.  He kept the electronic feel of the piece but made it a little more ethereal with a much fuller orchestration. 

Since releasing that cover he has released a few other originals on Soundcloud. The first one that I came across after listening to the cover is “Stuck in Tacoma”  It is night and day if you are comparing it to the cover.  This song has bounce and gets your foot tapping from the start.  It has hints of Bob Dylan, Karl Wallinger, Beatles, and Grateful Dead for starters.  There is even a bit where I feel like I’ve walked into a saloon and the can-can girls are doing a dance.  The song is a lot of fun and should not stay as the title implies “Stuck in Tacoma”

Moving on to the other songs that Lee has on Soundcloud we get a sense of the influence that The Beatles may have played in his musical upbringing.  Which comes as no surprise when you think of their catalogue and how many artists from many genres cite them as influences. Listen a little further and you also hear some Pink Floyd influence on the song “2”.

Lee does not have many songs up on Soundcloud yet but I sense that as he writes and records the list will grow.  I also sense that the list will contain many songs that are  similar to what he has shown us thus far, ballads, pop, etc.  He is a gifted songwriter and keeper of the keys so I’ve no doubt that many more musical gems are in store for us if we are patient and follow him on Soundcloud.

Here is the link again: https://soundcloud.com/lee-gregory-keys

Once on SoundCloud you will see the other links that Lee has available.

 

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Re-introducing Daniel hales, and the frost heaves and their new release Contrariwise

Hello friends, I hope that the new year has found you all well and managing to keep warm if you have been affected by the polar vortex.  I apologize for my extended absence. I have been rather busy with my own musical endeavors and certain things have been neglected.  This blog being one of those things.  However, I promise to get back into the swing of things and get new, local, undiscovered talent your way. That being said let’s get to it……….

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Back in December 2012 I introduced you to Daniel Hales and the frost heaves from Massachusetts.  Well, they have been busy working on a new release and it is here that we pick up their story.  They ran a successful crowd funding campaign to help bring their latest project to fruition.

This project was to take the poetry of Lewis Carroll and set it to music.  This is a fitting marriage of the arts as Lewis Carroll was known for his word play, fantasy and literary nonsense long before our own beloved Dr. Suess.  Daniel Hales and the frost heaves are musically eclectic with smart lyricism so it works. Their latest release “Contrariwise” consists of the poems of Lewis Carroll’s from” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as well as “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”.  The title song combines both verse from Carroll with the chorus by Daniel Hales and  “(Push them into the) Wishing Well” is drawn strictly from Hales himself. I guess you could say it hails from Hales.

The adventure begins with “Jabberwocky” and continues on from there telling a story along the way.  The music is seamlessly fused into the writings of Carroll and it all makes sense. Well, as much sense as a Lewis Carroll poem can.  The tone of the poem sets the tone for the music going from excited (Jabberwocky) gentle (A Secret Kept) firm (Speak Roughly) and so on.

One of my favorites in “Contrariwise” is the title song itself.  The chorus reflects upon doing different tasks “peek past the scenery”, “pet the Cheshire Cat” but if you are to do any of these things do it “contrary, contrariwise”.  The poems set to music keep you as the listener engaged.  Daniel Hales and the frost heaves know when to turn it up a little and when to lull you further into the story.  “(Push them into the) Wishing Well” provides a nice little reprieve from the absurdity of Carroll’s words but let’s not get carried away, we are on a journey here and the lyrics while modern still maintain some absurdity to them.  Because the whole concept is brilliant “it’s time to surprise them, push them in and baptize them, it’s time to surprise them, push them into the wishing well”.

The journey begins to wrap up with “Queen Alice” and ends with “But a Dream”.  The last song is ethereal and you feel as if you may be waking up from an unsuspecting nap under the summer sky. You feel groggy, confused, and refreshed all at the same time.  You stretch and contemplate your next journey.  I hope that some of you out there will be willing to take this particular journey as it is worthwhile.

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To buy the album or find out more about Daniel hales and the frost heaves check out their website

www.thefrostheaves.com 

There is a little Alice in Wonderland visual surprise if you hurry there. Just beware of the Jabberwock.  

Find some videos of them on you tube as well.

The frost heaves are: James Lowe: bass , Ivan Ussach: drums & percussion and Anna Wetherby: viola

 

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50 States of Talent continues…. this stop Virginia with The Velvet Ants

50 States of Talent continues…. this stop Virginia with The Velvet Ants

After a bit of an unplanned absence and the Thanksgiving Holiday I am fully recovered from my tryptophan  overdose.  I hope you are all recovered as well.  Now let’s get back on track with the sharing of undiscovered local bands.

This installment of the 50 States of Talent Series which I began last year as a way to search out local talent from all 50 states in the union finds us in Virginia this week with The Velvet Ants.  No, it isn’t some sort of a bakers concoction or the infamous “cow killer” ant.

The Velvet Ants are a local band from the Fairfax, Virginia area.   Formed in 2006 by Ian Margolycz and Trevor Hart.  In 2007 the band released 2 albums on their label T!LT Records, Lunatic Fame and Pixie Junk.  It was limited to local record shops in the DC area.  In 2009 a re-release of Lunatic Fame was made available to a much larger audience on Zeptune Records while the band took a hiatus.  By 2011 work was begun on new material and a new album “Advantage” was released.  This album was mixed and co-produced by Ken Stringfellow who you may recognize from The Posies. The Velvet Ants kept busy playing many shows in the metro DC area while working on new material.  They released an album of “extras”with the help of Jordan Zadorozny.

Things were good, a loyal following, a steady string of albums and new material yet with all of this local success the band almost fizzled into oblivion. Ian, the only member who wasn’t ready to call it quits was encouraged to “carry on” by Jordan Zadorozny. The result of this encouragement is the third release titled Solt Olio in Fall of 2013. http://velvet-ants.com/album/solt-olio

This is where I stumbled onto the band.  I was immediately drawn in by the opening song “Find You”.  It has a crisp alternative sound that is old school without really being a throwback. The songs are well written and the flow on the album feels very comfortable.  The second song on the album “Cardigan’s Fable” is truer to what you will find on the rest of the album.  The vocals are dreamy and there is a definite ambient vibe going on but not enough to put you into a trance.   There is a nice balance without one sound overpowering the other  The sound is reminiscent of The Posies, Matthew Sweet and The Pixies among others.

The album Solt  Olio provides a a pleasurable listening experience from the first note to the very last. Listening to the songs you can hear how well they are thought out.  There is nothing amateur about this release. It is so well done that you may forget that this is local talent!  The bands current lineup consists of Ian Margolycz on guitar and vocals, Eric Sakmar on bass and Jordan Zadorozny on drums.

The Velvet Ants have a web presence.  They have a few videos of live performances on YouTube, a Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/velvetants a twitter @VelvetAnts and a webpage http://velvet-ants.com/  You can also find them on Soundcloud and Reverbnation

Check them out at any of the above links but definitely check them out.  You will be easily hooked, I was.

Happy Listening

–NotHaydn

 

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50 States of Talent continues in The Empire State with Chris J. Connolly

This installment in the 50 States of Talent comes to us from The Empire State.  Though originally from Staffordshire, UK long distance love brought Chris to the US.  Love is what is bound to happen when you give this guy a thorough listen.CHirsC

In the UK, Chris got his start as a teen playing drums in a harder Joy Division- esqe alternative band that is still around.  However, Chris has a softer side and began writing songs while still in his teens.  This softer side is evident in his music.  The songs and vocals are artistically intricate and simple at the same time.  I get a Thom Yorke and Vance Joy feel vocally.

Most of Chris’ music is strictly acoustic but is easily transferable to a full band.  Don’t let the term acoustic fool you.  There is an edge and a crisp rawness in his guitar playing when he needs it to accent his lyrics, so perhaps unplugged may be a better description.

On his self released ep aptly titled EPII Chris offers up an array of tasty compositions.  One of my favorites would be the opening track “Black Swan”. This song opens the door to what awaits you on the rest of the release and has catchy phrasing. Musically it plays with both his edgier and softer acoustic sides. In the softer acoustic songs Chris explores his innermost thoughts.  He translates those feelings into beautiful songs like “American Accent”, “Ferry to Rosslare” and “Colder”.    While many of the songs are acoustically driven Chris gives you a taste of what the possibilities are when he gets a band behind him on “Beaten Up Road” and “Fight At the End”.  While not available for purchase on ITunes, Chris will gladly send out upon request his EP. I EP11highly recommend this.  However, there is a single available for purchase on ITunes it is called Factory just search Chris Connolly to find it  or click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/factory-single/id570747201

Chris has a lovely website (https://chrisjconnolly.bandpage.com/ )  with links to Facebook and SoundCloud pages Included on the website are lots of fun doodles and thought-provoking photos and his songs , which I encourage you to share with your friends.  He has made sharing easy thru Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Chris also has a few videos if you would like to watch him though they are relatively generic.  He also has some performance videos on YouTube.

Give this guy a listen. If you are in Long Island and see him playing at a local coffee shop stop in, say “hi” grab a cup and enjoy the music.

Happy listening!!

-NotHaydn

 

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50 States of Talent brings me back to Michigan for Dog & Panther

dog and pantherThis week I found myself back in Michigan, north of Detroit to be geographically specific. I had the pleasure of having a chat with John Katona of Dog & Panther. They are truly a gem. Dog & Panther do not self promote, play shows (except for one) and they carry no aspirations of rock stardom. They create music for the absolute pleasure that it gives them and they are generous enough to share this pleasure with us.

Dog & Panther started for fun when John and Ian Sigmon were making some music for the short films they had been creating. They showed their project to their friends and the music took center stage. However, one of their friends wasn’t too impressed with John and Ian’s singing abilities so he asked if he could give it a go. Enter Ben Vrazo on vocals. The three continued to hang out making music and before they knew it they had enough material to put together an album. They released “What Happened” three years ago and it got such a good response from friends that they just kept making music. They followed “What Happened” with a single called “Giant Hands”. Watch the making of Giant Hands here:http://youtu.be/2gYe4twqz2Q

Dog & Panther take their time calling themselves a band. All of the sounds they create come from their surroundings as well as traditional instruments. This is one of the reasons they don’t play shows at the local club. There is such complexity in the structure of the songs that recreating this in a live situation requires much preparation and many extra hands. If you check them out on YouTube you will find their video clips and see them collecting and creating sounds in various aisles in the supermarket. http://youtu.be/u6w74q9nc3s

Their sound is easily compared to Bon Iver, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, lyrically I can even see a similarity with Minus the Bear. Even with all these comparisons their sound is still their own. Watching the few videos of them creating their sounds and the artwork that graces their albums you can easily sense that they possess a maturity and a depth that a lot of local musicians do not.

Their latest release titled “Our Bodies” was released earlier this year. It follows the same formula D&P cd cover. The sounds are at times haunting and ethereal, drawing you as the listener in. The pauses give you time to catch your breath before you dive in for more. The sounds move you, the lyrics touch you and the phrasing adds additional subtleties to the already complex instrumentation.

While they are not big on self promotion they are easily found on YouTube for a few videos. They do have a Facebook page that I suggest checking out and they are available to listen to on SoundCloud or Bandcamp All of these links are easily followed from the webpage they created to link it all together http://dogandpanther.com/ Don’t expect to find too much personal info on these guys. They tend to remain a bit of a mystery and that kinda adds to the quality of the sound because it isn’t about them it is about the music.

They can also be found on ITunes if you want to add them to your library.

Happy listening!

-NotHaydn

 

 

 

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