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Category Archives: pop 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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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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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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50 States of Talent continues and I’m feeling Strangely Alright about it

FINAL CD COVER 1Did you catch that? If not then you weren’t paying attention.  Strangely Alright is just that only there isn’t anything strange about it.  Quite frankly they are better than alright too.

Hailing from Tacoma, Washington Strangely Alright delivers catchy and infectious shall we say…..adult alternative.   Lyrically, they give you beautifully written pop songs with all the perfectly planted hooks that leave a song stuck in your head : “I was Jesus, the Beatle, John, lost myself, I lost it all…..”    The songs  reflect where they are in life and what they have observed. Their songwriting and deliverance reminds me of plenty of well known acts from the heyday of alternative music.  I can easily pinpoint School of Fish and Josh Clayton-Felt’s “Inarticulate Nature Boy”.  There is also a Beatle Influence that can be picked up on easily.  Really, many bands and artists have been influenced by the Fab Four that it comes as no surprise.

Strangely Alright is a group of guys who have tightly woven themselves into one entity.  Fronted by Regan Lane, a gifted songwriter who has a few awards under his belt, some have battled demons and realized what is most important in life,  not just their life but life in general.  Fortunately for us they are able to share this with us through their music.

The band is made up of Regan Lane ,(vocals / guitar) , Ken Schaff (bass), Jeff Reiner (guitar), Lee Gregory (keyboards) and Preston Darvill (drums).  They officially formed in late summer 2012 when Regan formed a friendship with Ken, a fellow musician and now friend.  They got to talking as most musicians do and decided to put the songs Regan had written out there and make it happen as a full fledged band.  Shortly thereafter, the other pieces of the quintet fell into place and they started making magic.

Their latest  album, “The Time Machine is Broken”  is slated for release in June 2013.  I will keep you posted on its progress and release.

They have a website http://www.strangelyalright.com  complete with a widget tab!!  There you can read up on them, join a mailing list and look at some pictures and sample their songs.  Their home page has all the links to them in the wide world of the internet, Facebook, twitter, myspace, etc.

Definitely check them out, if you like introspectively written pop songs, that are upbeat no matter how dark the lyrics may be. If you like Michael Penn and School of Fish or other similar bands.  This is a band that  should not go unnoticed.

 

 

 

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Follow up -Richard Davia

So in case you were wondering what some of my previous features were up to I thought I would take a moment to let davia1you know what Richard has been up to.

He is currently working on getting into the studio to do some recording but he needs our help.  Recording is a costly and tedious process and well, most musicians are not millionaires.

So let’s give him a hand, he has a kickstarter campaign going on right now.

Check it out and perhaps give him a hand.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/209089852/recording-the-sound-of-gravity

Thanks, and as always support your local artists.

 

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50 States of Talent continues in Alaska and Big Fat Buddha

BFBuddahThat’s right Alaska. You know all about Alaska right? Deadliest Catch, Yukon Men, Denali National Park, Klondike Gold Rush,  and perhaps one of my favorites; Grizzly Adams.  Well, Alaska has more to offer than just the bits and pieces we see on tv or learned about in school.   Comparing Alaska to what we’ve seen would be like comparing Jersey to Snookie and the Sopranos, while there may be some truth there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Alaska has a rich musical history. No, it isn’t rock, it isn’t jazz, it isn’t blues.  It is earthy they way it should be, it is the song of the peoples native to its soil, long before we set foot there as miners bringing with us the Early American Folk, people such as the Inupiaq and the Aluet.  Music in Alaska  has evolved as it has everywhere else, they have jazz festivals, they have a local opera festivals.  They have what we have but the only difference is that they still have the beauty of the land and most musicians in the area draw on the folk music of yesteryear, and really that folk music is feel good music.

This is where I feel this weeks band fits in perfectly.  They are Alaskan music. They are Big Fat Buddha hailing from Anchorage.  I will say that they are like Jewel when she first made her rounds, in the early days, if she had been accompanied by a band.  She was barefoot, wearing jeans and a tshirt with feathers hanging from the neck of the guitar, she was folksy and she was real.

Big Fat Buddha, yep, these guys are real and they formed in a way that is one step beyond the posting in the paper or bar bulletin board..  It all started with a posting on Craigslist.  Founding member, Brad Fidel, posted one evening in 2010 an ad looking for fellow musicians who like the Beatles and Dylan.  His ad was answered by singer/songwriter Matt Brenna.  These two musicians met and hit it off, they were onto something.  A friend of Brad’s, Jeff Arms who just so happens to be a percussionist  heard what his friend was up to and liked the idea so much he joined in.  Recently they added drummer Kyle Drake.  Big Fat Buddha was born.

These guys play a nice combo of rock and funk, compare them to a jam band of your liking, Grateful Dead or Phish or compare them to Rusted Root. I would make that comparison more because that’s what they remind me of.  Either way, it’s music that gets your feet tapping and your body moving.  Just watch the videos on YouTube, the crowd is not sitting around bored, they are all moving and having a good time.

The songs are well written, the vocals are smooth and pleasing to the ear and there is just enough jam factor without it being overkill.   The first song that you come across on their website ( http://www.BigFatBuddhaBand.com ) “You Drive me Crazy (Baby Blue)” is quite catchy.  If you like what you hear with that song you will definitely like the rest of what you hear.  The sound is a familiar mixture of rock and funk, not too hard, not too soft, just right and it is fun. It would make a good soundtrack to a cross country drive, tops down, wind in your hair with not a care in the world.

The website is http://www.BigFatBuddhaBand.com and there you can listen to some music, read their blog, look at some pictures, see where they are playing etc. It’s all there.  You can even buy their self titled cd, which I would recommend.  If you liked one of their songs you are sure to like them all.

Additionally you can find them on Facebook, go like their page, see what they are up to in real time https://www.facebook.com/BigFatBuddhaBand

They are currently in the process of hitting the studio to work on a second release.

They also have additional videos to view on YouTube.  Check them out.  This is one of those bands that I will do some follow ups on.  The lower 48 needs to know what these guys are up to.

 

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