Tinkering with August

 

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Layne Greene wrote these songs around late 2015 and after two years of tinkering, they found their way into this EP.

Today was a good day. I raced against a geared bike (I ride a fixed gear road bike) prior to to a delicious dinner. And then this amazing EP completed the evening. I am talking about August by Canadian singer-songwriter based in New Glasgow, Layne Greene. This four-track EP was actually conceived around August of 2015. And overtime, it was developed and layered with various musical ideas from the artist.

His music has always possessed this deceptive simplicity. His melodies are easy to sing along. But if you pay attention to the structure (I call it sonic architecture) you can hear the complexities underneath. The rhythms are rich and fascinating. I can hear the faint influence of Gregory Alan Isakov in the use of syncopated beats, ample use of reverb and atmospheric keys. Then there’s also his use of ambient and (downplayed) electronica (listen to the first track The Driving Song).

This robust EP is also the end result of talented musicians backing him up. For example, Bryan MacDonald brought his unique guitar style to each song. I haven’t heard any guitarist at par with his technique. He has keen ear for dreamy and otherworldly sounds. The complicated beats were masterfully rendered by Alex Lank. These two artists also appeared in his Everywhere Around Here album.

Could this be the introduction to the kind of sounds we will hear in his sophomore album? Who knows? He always keeps me guessing.

Introducing Bike Music:High Highs

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I will be starting a new feature called Bike Music. The reason? I have recently developed a love for cycling and whenever I ride I bring my music with me. Of course you can expect something upbeat but there are also rare cases when I will feature albums that are slow-meant for just relaxed riding.

I’ve been hunting for new music recently. I love indie pop and there are sites on the web that point me to the right direction. One of them is New Releases Now.

This is where I discovered High Highs. They are a duo formed by Jack Milas and Oli Chang in 2010. I describe their music as upbeat ethereal pop. There are lots of high chiming sounds that remind you of pixie dust and elves. Their melodies are gorgeous and sweet. They just released Cascades this year and it is really a musical experience that you should have. I found myself smiling when I listen to every track in the album. It’s like picking up an old album in which the tunes are kind of familiar yet they could be existing in an alternate universe because these tunes are something you’ve just heard.

Why I love them: Majority of the songs are upbeat and good for riding. The whole atmosphere of Cascades is stress-free which is good for late afternoon rides.

Recommended for: People who love pop music and those who just want to chill to upbeat songs.

Rock Back For Ecuador:66 Independent Artists Come Together for a Cause.

If you are a listener hungry for new tunes then I think you better check this out. 66 independent artists recorded and contributed songs to help Ecuador after a catastrophic earthquake that took many victims.

Art is all about humanity. When I was in college we had a subject devoted to Humanities and it covered paintings, music and sculpture among many things. The subject taught me a lot about the beauty of the human soul and how artists in general are easy to react when catastrophe strikes. We are not invincible. You and I could be obliterated from this world when catastrophe strikes. That is why the musicians contributed their best works hoping you will buy the album to aid the victims of the catastrophe.

It took me days to absorb everything in the album because it has different genres and styles that will really appeal to many people. These songs are well-crafted and I think you will not regret getting the album ! Musical surprises await you.

Here’s the press release for the compilation:

Rock Back For Ecuador
Patetico Recordings
05 July 2015
Global Indie Artists Come Together for Ecuador Disaster Relief Series
Rock Back for Ecuador is a compilation released by U.S. indie label Patetico Recordings. The label has partnered with 66 independent artists and several small indie labels around the globe to make this happen. They have all come together in order to raise funds for victims of the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Ecuador. All money raised will go directly to the relief efforts. The compilation is available exclusively through bandcamp at https://pateticorecordings.bandcamp.com/album/rock-back-for-ecuador
The concept of the Rock Back compilation series was born in 2011 when disaster hit Japan and Tom Lugo, owner of Patetico Recordings, acted on his empathy for charitable causes and non-profit organizations by reaching out to the community of artists in his network. They collectively put together a compilation and the profits were donated to relief efforts. The response was overwhelming, with over 100 artists from across the globe joining in the efforts. What was to be a single CD compilation grew into the 8-disc compilation Rock Back for Japan. The compilation series hit the top 10 Indie Rock releases on Amazon.com’s chart for several weeks, with certain volumes holding the number 1 spot.
Rock Back For Nepal is a three volume compilation, was released by U.S. indie record label Patetico Recordings in 2015, featuring 60 indie artists from around the world that came together to contribute their music in an effort to raise funds for victims of the earthquake disaster in Nepal.

Global artist come together for one great cause… to help those who are in need.
ALL MONEY WILL BE DONATED TO THE ECUADOR RELIEF EFFORTS!

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake occurred in Ecuador Saturday April 16, 2016, it’s considered the worst disaster the country has faced in decades.

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2016 Patetico Recordings
www.facebook.com/Patetico-Recordings-219018488119479

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James Vincent McMorrow is back with the new single Rising Water!

The Irishman with an exquisite and smooth silky voice is back! The new single is Rising Water released in early July this year. James Vincent McMorrow broke into the indie pop/folk scene with Post Tropical and Early in the Morning. His live performances duplicate the meticulous perfection of his studio recordings. And yes that remarkable voice has attracted 100 million Spotify streams!  Rising Water is taken from the new album We Move. Expect the album to sell like hotcakes. Check out the lyric video of Rising Water above.

Read further about the new release:

NEW SINGLE “RISING WATER” AVAILABLE NOW

James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish singer/songwriter from Dublin, has just released his new single Rising Water. The single is the opening track of his upcoming album We Move, which is set to be released on September 2nd via Caroline Records. On July 4th, Rising Water was premiered by Annie Mac on her program ‘Mac’s Hottest Record in the World’ on BBC Radio, listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040fl09.   After its UK debut, the single was released here in the U.S., which McMorrow called home for a few months while he recorded his new album.

In early 2015 McMorrow decamped to Los Angeles for four surreal months, wanting to experience something totally alien to any way he’d ever worked before. McMorrow explains “Making this album was about changing so many things. Physically changing where I was, mentally changing how I think about life, about myself, how I think about making music. Every time I’ve made a record in the past, I’ve walked to the edge of where I’ve wanted to be, I’ve gotten scared, and I’ve walked back to a safe distance.”

Rising Water is the perfect example of what the rest of the album holds. The single, along with the rest of the record, features production from Nineteen85 (Drake, dvsn), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna), as well as mixing from the legendary Jimmy Douglass (Donny Hathaway, Timbaland).

McMorrow’s 2010 debut ‘Early in the Morning’ achieved platinum-status and reached #1 in his home country of Ireland. His “Breath-taking” (VICE) second album ‘Post Tropical’ was nominated for the Choice Music Prize, and led to sell outs at the biggest venues of McMorrow’s career including two nights at Sydney Opera House, and London’s Barbican & Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Earlier this year, McMorrow surpassed 100 million Spotify streams, recorded a cover of “Wicked Games” for a trailer of season six of Game of Thrones, and was featured on “I’m In Love” off Kygo’s debut LP ‘Cloud Nine.’ 

Purchase ‘Rising Water’:

iTunes: https://smarturl.it/RisingWater

Amazon MP3: https://amzn.com/RisingWater

Wow The Joys Of Modern Life by The Dennis McCalmont Band!

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The Joys of Modern Life by The Dennis McCalmont Band has a dreamy and positive vibe. This is shown in the opening track Best Days of My Life which foretells the atmosphere of the whole record-energetic, smooth and timeless.

The introduction of funky guitars, groovy bass and smooth percussion call  to mind Jazz and R&B influences. His slick voice is the pillar of this release. I like singers who have big voices and great range. He embodies the likes of great 70s singers-combining the styles of Smokey Robinson and Phil Lynott.

The Joys of Modern Life boasts 12 songs that articulate the maturity of the singer-songwriter and his band. There is nuance in every song and there is also great passion. Each song feel like a holiday with their breezy melodies and apt instrumental arrangements.

This recording is a follow-up to his successful #SoulRecall  which I also featured in this blog. What can I say? It is always a pleasure to write about an artist who is fond of making amazinf albums. The Joys of Modern Life is filled with eloquent essays about how we live our lives written in song form. And I know listeners can identify their sentiments to each song and hopefully pick one of more stand out tracks as their favorites. I know I have mine.

Here’s an interesting blurb about the album:

One of The Joys of Modern Life is having the Musical Technology available to allow Four Musicians to go into a Room for Three Days and Record An Album… Now that’s just Brilliant! 
However the content of The Dennis McCalmont Band’s latest offering takes a more ‘tongue in cheek’ look at The Joys Of Modern Life. 
The Album kicks off with ‘Best Days Of My Life’ in a rush to get ready for the Day ahead! 
We’re living in a very uncertain World right now and McCalmont’s Lyrics seem to be right on Point, he addresses this from a Personal perspective on ‘Pure’ he laments ‘Once I Was Uncertain, but now I’m not so sure..’ and from the bigger picture ‘Your Life could change in a moment’ on ‘Nature Of Life’, and no one could argue that the Global Landscape has certainly changed recently, leaving us all a bit more insecure about our future. 

McCalmont and his Band of Soul Mates, Donal Hoban (Drums) Craig Donaldson (Bass) Michael Buckton Lead Guitar, John Flatley (Piano) and Tony Bambrick (Guitar), Rock and Groove their way through some tougher subject matter too, including reflections on Domestic Abuse ‘Leave’, Alcoholism and Addiction ‘Wasted’ where other Songwriters might fear to tread. 
But there is Hope… 
The Closing tracks ‘Time For Truth’ address Modern War and Conflict ‘When the World goes Crazy, You gotta trust Yourself ‘ is a hopeful lyrical Anthem with a clear message to continue to chart Your life course regardless of the difficulties around you. 

Yes Modern Life, with all it’s Technological Highlights can still be a very Dark Place for Real Lives to Survive, but they do…

So is this release different than #SoulRecall? Yes and No. I think his every release speaks about the time of their creation. I think it is different in a sense that the topics/themes are different from the last album. The style is distinctive. It is purely McCalmont with his love for good melodies and unique chord patterns. Though I must say  this one feels more pop and upbeat while the last one has an acoustic/jazzy feel-mostly.

So how do we assist this musically? I think McCalmont is already a better musician before he ventured into recording. Which I think a lot of indie artists out there can learn from. Creativity is not enough these days. You need the gift of eloquence that your listener can relate to, and can listen to time and time again. Here’s the track listing for The Joys of Modern Life:

1.Best Days Of My Life 03:27

2.Suffocate 02:57

3.Pure 04:26

4.Nature Of Life 03:47

5.Leave 03:25

6.If You See My Girl 02:47

7.Something She Said 02:56

8.Wasted 03:51

9.Fall 03:48

10. Time For Truth 03:39

11.When The World Goes Crazy 04:03

 

All songs from this release are generally lively. All eleven tracks crafted artfully. When The World Goes Crazy closes the album. And I think it is a timely song for these turbulent times. It says that you need to trust yourself. Trust your instinct..trust your humanity and the vallues that you’ve been taught as a child. Because I think in the end when everything crumbles, there will always be that light inside us that will never die-the light of love given to us by those who nurtured us to become who we are now. And that is our thread  out of every labyrinth. Thanks to The Joys of Modern Life for making me think that way.