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Category Archives: Alt rock

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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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 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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50 States of Talent continues……. Pigeon

pigeonIt’s a bird, it’s a plane….. no it’s a band called Pigeon.

Hailing from the Chicago suburbs is a band called Pigeon.   What started out as a solo project for Dominic in 2011 has since evolved into a full fledged band called Pigeon  (Dominic Glimco- vox/guitars, Chris Hartley- guitar, Jeff Bensmiller- bass and Steve Berger-drums) with a very indie college sound.  Not a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin college sound. Take it down a few more notches and perhaps a very mellow That Petrol Emotion song or early Pop Will Eat Itself but much slower.

The songs come across as melancholy, depressing almost unless you listen to the lyrics then it becomes trance-like.  Dominic’s vocals are a combination deliverance/ sound wise of Thom Yorke, A Gallagher brother and Brian Molko of Placebo.

In a sense I could compare them to Placebo the way that the guitar loops and the vocals are very monotone.  There are a few songs that pick up the pace a little yet they still keep that very monotone feel.  They have Kiaro Skuro formula going on.  (Kiaro Skuro was a very popular indie rock college band a ways back.)

I would like to hear them take it up a notch vocally.  There are a few songs that step up and have a beat that moves, I want the vocals to match that. There are a few songs that do just that and those are the ones that got my toes tapping.  “I got a chilly willy” (I don’t, it’s the song title) is one such song. The further into the library I went the better the song compositions became, “Who Will Can”, “Where Are We”.  They are in there, it’s just a matter of discovery.

When not working on the band Pigeon, Dominic and some of his close friends are hard  at work on the indie record label Paperduck Records which they created to showcase the musical talent of the Naperville area.  They have released a compilation cd last year with plans to release another one this summer.

Pigeon also has plans to play the Chicago and Champaign-Urbana areas so check them out if you are in the neighborhood.

There is a Facebook page for both Pigeon and Paperduck Records.

You can also check them and Paperduck Records out at the following links:

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fpigeon69&h=zAQENIhQU

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fpigeon69.bandcamp.com%2F&h=zAQENIhQU

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fpaperduckrecords.bandcamp.com%2Falbum%2Fpaperduck-records-fruit-salad&h=zAQENIhQU

Happy listening. – NotHaydn

 

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Strangely Alright’s new release is here: The Time Machine is Broken – or is it?

A few weeks ago I let you in on one of Washington States many musical secrets, Strangely Alright.  Well, theyFINAL CD COVER 1 have just released their effort “The Time Machine is Broken”  It delivers as I suspected it would.  I was safely transported to and from my destination.  So, I guess in my case the time machine isn’t broken, and well, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

The songs are all well written though sometimes I really didn’t feel the song kick into a natural groove until the first chorus. Once the chorus hit the songs soared and the groove of the album was found and provided a quite enjoyable listening experience.

There are many catchy phrases in the songs where you say to yourself “Damn how come I didn’t write that?!”  Whether Regan is writing about his experiences or drawing from others close to him it is clear that this is a very personal album.  The songs revolve around  lives lived, mistakes made and turning points that have changed their lives and made them realize the world is a two way street. You get only what you give and at the end of the day giving is better then receiving.  Love and forgiveness.

Reflective of that thought process is one of the slower songs on the album “If I don’t laugh I’m only going to cry”.  The song reflects the distance they have travelled and how time has matured them.  It is in this song that we find the albums title. There is a lyric questioning the possibility that they have become their parents and really is that such a bad thing?

“Before the Fall” is another slower song that dives into one’s self and sees how others have given so selflessly and the only way to repay that is to give themselves completely to the other and in that realization there is a clarity and warmth even as the summer sun settles.

So while the lyrical content of the album is complex and not just a bunch of pop songs so common in today’s world, it is still an easy listening experience.  I don’t mean Barry Manilow easy listening.  I mean that the songs lyrics are  combined with structurally sound adult alternative pop and catchy choruses that welcome you to sing along.

Towards the end of the albums closing we find that Regan and the rest of Strangely Alright (Ken Schaff:Bass, Jeff Reiner:Lead Guitar, Lee Gregory:Keys and Preston Darvill:Drums)  have all found the “Direction Home” and end the album on a very upbeat summery tops down in the convertible kind of song aptly titled ‘You and Me” and when we get to our destination “let’s share a bowl of Capt’n Crunch”.

So do something nice for your ears today and go check out the new album from Strangely Alright

at http://www.strangelyalright.com/

you’ll be glad that you did.

-NotHaydn

 

 

 

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Another Local Gem- Jim Mill

jim millOk, I know he resembles Eddie and he sounds like Eddie but I assure you he ISN’T Eddie.  I cannot be accused of finding unreleased Eddie Vedder tracks and somehow getting someone to lip sync the stuff.  I will leave the lip syncing to the pros like Ms. B.  This local gem is none other than Jim Millheiser or Jim Mill as he has shortened his name a bit for recording purposes. I saw Jim a few months back and felt the need to give this kid the exposure he deserves.  He truly is an artist with special qualities.

Jim can mostly be found playing the local coffee houses where an intimate setting suits his acoustic style but it’s not all about the acoustics.  Jim has recently released his first solo effort called “Aperture”.  It contains 7 originals.  The release is not acoustic with the exception of one song, “See You Again”  It is edgy alt-rock. It doesn’t disappoint from start to finish it is a substantial release with lyrics that you find yourself singing or tapping your foot to. As I mentioned “See You Again” is the only truly acoustic song on this release.  Listen to this one with your eyes closed and you would think that you are listening to Eddie Vedder from “Into the Wild” soundtrack. It is a well written song with beautiful lyrics. The song really lets you hear Jim’s voice and the tenderness in his baritone.

While Jim doesn’t have a dedicated web page he does have a Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/JimMillNJ

He is also on Twitter @jimx6

His Facebook page contains a lot of links to various sites that he has stuff posted to such as Soundcloud. Click on any of the links below to get a sampling of his talents. I’ve made it easy for you.

Definitely check him out, he is well worth a listen. It will be time well spent.

 

 

 

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