The Shakes Play “With Every Moment”

Orange County, CA’s The Shakes mix indie-pop hooks with ambient textures, certainly evidenced by this track “With Every Moment”. The song just happens to be the title track to the band’s most recent EP With Every Moment, released last month. The song is inspired by real-life, and even shocking events, initiating a reassessment of what’s most important.

Listen here.

The inspiration for this song began with a traffic accident in which Sean Perry of The Shakes was indirectly involved, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. A car streaked past him on the right through an amber light. Another car collided with it, flipping the car over multiple times; the loudest sound he ever heard. With ensuing police and other emergency vehicles on the scene, and after answering questions, Perry made his way home with a new perspective on moments as they unfold.

As a result, the song concerns itself how each one is precious. This is not in a trite sort of way, but rather in the way that one comes to realize as one grips a steering wheel and looks out into an intersection full of metal and glass. The precious nature of moments is part and parcel to the reality that things can change suddenly from one moment to the next, sometimes with tragic consequences.

The 4-track With Every Moment EP is available now.

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Links:

Official site

Facebook

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iTunes

Spotify

 

The Foreign Films’ Bill Majoros: The Record Collector Speaks

Bill Majoros of The Foreign Films wants to create his own musical world. That sounds like a line out of a PR one-sheet. Yet it is apt to a greater degree than one might think when considering his most recent project, The Record Collector. This epic scale collection is a six-sided, 31-track magnum opus that encompasses the pop music gamut as filtered through an ecstatic, optimistic, and wistful sixties and seventies filter.

The Foreign Films “band” isn’t really a consolidated unit in the traditional sense. It’s more of a musical approach that plays into that very same drive to create a world in a way a movie director might. The songs are little foreign films imported from Majoros’ singular imagination.

The biggest vista on Majoros’ horizon since the beginning of the decade has been an epic-scale expression of that which inspired him to become a musician in the first place; records, specifically vinyl ones. That seemed like a pretty good place to start to realize a lifelong dream of creating a self-defining work, although perhaps not the path of least resistance in the digital age. Yet the seeds of The Record Collector began to germinate anyway.

To overcome the obstacle of its own scale, Majoros wrote, recorded, and released the project in digital form bit by bit, side by side, over the course of a few years. As of June of 2018, the full-fledged 3-disc vinyl incarnation of the album containing all 31 tracks plus a lavish package that includes extras is now available, along with streamed versions and downloadble MP3s. You can also buy the set in CD form at Kool Kat Musik.

I connected with Bill via email, and asked him about the inspiration for such an ambitious project, how he approached bringing it to life, and what it took to do it.

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Continue reading “The Foreign Films’ Bill Majoros: The Record Collector Speaks”

Pack of Three: The Almighty Rhombus, Scratch, Astari Nite

Very hooky guitar pop from up north in nickel country. Languid and compelling psych rock from two continents at once. And a subterranean dark wave excursion from the grim shores of … wait… Miami, Florida (???).

This is what it is to experience this week’s pack of three here on RFLB, friends.

Get your ears on!

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“Last Century” by The Almighty Rhombus

Name: The Almighty Rhombus

From: Sudbury, ON, Canada

Sound: Ebullient, guitar-driven indie rock with an audible smirk on its face, but always with your best interests in mind re: hooks a-plenty!

Story: An agenda is set with this song, the lead track off a new EP called Swish: to kick ass, which it does. There’s certainly a reason for that, given that Sudbury, Ontario’s The Almighty Rhombus has spent the last few years touring, experimenting with new approaches to writing songs, and road-testing material. This one is a band favourite, produced by Ian Blurton (The Weakerthans, Change of Heart, Jeen, et al) and is a clear reflection of their own amalgam of styles that range from punk to new wave to psych. Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of this band for years, folks.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Twitter

 

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“I Don’t Mind” by Scratch

Name: Scratch

From: New York, NY, USA and Perth, Australia

Sound: Slow-burn psychedelic and hazy jam rock that takes its time working its way into your brain.

Story: What’s a few thousand miles between bandmates? Not much, according to Scratch members Ruzbeh Irani who calls Perth, Australia home and Avinash Lalwani who resides in New York. Thanks to technology and other means, these two childhood friends are able to make the kind of music that sounds just like a band that’s right there in the room with you. This song, one of their earliest compositions and a personal favourite of the duo. It’s one of two released recently (the other is “The Key”), both of which will feature on their upcoming debut record coming out sometime this year.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Instagram

 

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“Sunday Queen” by Astari Nite

Name: Astari Nite

From: Miami, FLA, USA

Sound: Retro guitar and synth dark wave drenched in requisite late-seventies, early-eighties reverb.

Story: Incredibly not from a northern industrial town in Britain, but rather from sun-drenched Miami, Florida, revivalist post-punk trio Astari Nite pull out all the stops on a Peter Murphy/Bauhaus and early Cure-inspired sound. They have indeed shared stages with the aforementioned Murphy, plus the Psychedelic Furs, Andy Rourke, and Modern English. This is the lead track and single off of their new record Midnight Conversations, out now.

Links:

Facebook

Bandcamp

Twitter

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What do you reckon, dear listeners? Have you discovered your new favourite band? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Happy Listening!

Pack of Three: Jeen, Here Are The Lions, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics

A vital rock-pop sock in the gut from a prominent songwriter for a selection of Canadian acts and solo artist in her own right. A dance-rock clarion call from an international music collective. And a funk-soul excursion from the deep south.

What is your flavour, friends?

Observe this week’s Pack of Three board of fare right here.

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“Any Moment” by Jeen

Name: Jeen

From: Toronto, ON, Canada

Sound: Hard-edged Breeders-like indie-rock with echo-drenched vocals and distinct pop hooks.

Story: Jeen (aka songwriter and musician Jeen O’Brien) when not writing songs for others (Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder, Hawksley Workman, and others) has spent some of her time in her attic self-producing her own records, recently with the help of friends and family on various instruments. Her newest, Gift Shop, is out soon with “Any Moment” as a single that serves as an infinitely crankable rock anthem to add to our summer playlists. The song is a snapshot of Jeen’s continuing self-education as an artist who constantly pushes herself. Look for the release of Gift Shop on September 14, 2018.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

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“Unsatisfied” by Here Are The Lions

 

Name: Here Are The Lions

From: France and other geographical points

Sound: Electronic dance pop as informed by a melange of world music ingredients and positive protest.

Story: Here Are The Lions is a project masterminded by French musician, producer, author, and activist Bernard P. Boyer, founded in 2014 and since featuring a range of musicians from all over the world. The name Here Are The Lions is a phrase found on old maps, marking territories that are unexplored, and slightly dangerous. This is their newest single, an amalgam of dance rock and world music with an undercurrent of protest music. The new EP is out in September 2018.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

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“Broken Woman” by Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics

Name: Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics

From: Atlanta, GA. USA

Sound: Retro soul-pop full of wah-wah guitar, buoyant bass, sassy brass, and sultry vocals that’s appealingly unpredictable

Story: Singer Ruby Velle leads her merry band of soulphonics into musical territory tied to no single era, touching on many, while still managing to sound “classic” all at once. The band has shared stages with artists as far ranging as The Temptations, Erikah Badu, Feist, Kendrick Lamar, and Iggy Pop. This cut is featured on the upcoming record The State of All Things, and all a part of a mission to embody an earthy groove while also championing an informed awareness of the world at the same time. The new record is out now.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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What say you, friends? Give me your impressions in the comments!

Happy Listening!

Hotel Mira Play “Ginger Ale”

Everyone has an off night. But when it happens when on a date, things can get awkward.

This is the subject of the new single “Ginger Ale” from Vancouver’s Hotel Mira, a blistering volley of guitar-bass-drums-voice power pop with a danceable, push-pull feel.

Take a listen here.

Hotel Mira has gone by a few names and lineups by now; The Beauties, Japanese Girls, JPNSGRLS, and now the aforementioned Hotel Mira, a name not likely to result in confusing Google search results. The band have been well-reviewed in Canada and abroad, particularly in the UK where they’ve been featured on Lauren Laverne’s BBC6 show, and in venerable Q magazine who pronounced that their song “Mushrooms” was a must-hear in 2015.

The band began in its earliest form in 2010, releasing a series of singles, an EP (2013’s Shark Week), and two full-length albums in 2014’s Circulation and 2016’s Divorce, all under the JPNSGRLS moniker. As may be evidenced here, their style is an amalgam of influences reflecting any number of post-punk influenced guitar bands that forged this same kind of direct approach to the business of rocking out, all the while with one eye on the dance floor. The Strokes and the Arctic Monkeys have both been mentioned.

The song was inspired by real-life events, when frontman Charlie Kerr hit the town with a special friend while on tour in London. It didn’t go well, plagued as he was by distractions and unable to hold up his end of the conversation. In part, this song is an apology to “Becky” for this state of affairs, with some self-flagellating lyrics to underscore the point in the strongest possible terms.

This is their third single, featured on their new self-titled EP that’s out August 17.

Happy Listening!

Links:

Official site

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

 

Pack of Three: Frøkedal, Valley Queen, The Suffers

Overcast optimism from Norway. Jangly aural sunshine from SoCal. Effervescent funk-soul from Houston, Texas. It’s time for this week’s pack of three, everyone.

Prepare your ears for some heavy weather!

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“David” by Frøkedal

Name: Frøkedal

From: Oslo, Norway

Sound: Yearning Nordic folk-rock meets shimmering, wintry dream pop, cast in distinct shades of melancholic blue.

Story: Anne Lise Frøkedal’s newest single from her upcoming album How We Made It seems elegiac, pervaded with wintry gloom. But there’s hope to be found in its lines, and purposefully so. While recording the album, Frøkedal knew she needed a bit of light to shine through to complement the shades of grey. Recorded in part during a session in a remote location at the top of a hill overlooking an amazing vista below, “David” is a reflection of the hope we sometimes miss in our own lives. The new album, How We Made It is due out August 31, 2018.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

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“Chasing The Muse” by Valley Queen

Name: Valley Queen

From: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sound: Anthemic indie pop with a splash of longing reminiscent of The Cranberries and The Sundays.

Story: With a sound led by singular vocalist/guitarist Natalie Carol, Valley Queen provides an equally sunshine-soaked and deeply contemplative anthem, featuring Carol’s uniquely cadenced vocals matched with an sparkling pop jangle. The song is a highlight on their newest record, Supergiant. The album is named after celestial bodies and a subtle reminder that we are all, in fact, made of stars. The new record is out now. Valley Queen will be playing a show in their native LA on July 28 at The Moroccan Lounge, the beginning of a North American tour through the summer and into the Autumn of 2018.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

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“Do Whatever” by The Suffers

Name: The Suffers

From: Houston, TX, USA

Sound: Earthy, horny, seventies and eighties-style breezy funk-soul with a smooth jazzy lilt.

Story: Established in 2011, this eight-piece Houstonian soul band makes music for all frames of mind and for a wide range of human experience. Since their formation they’ve toured extensively, gathering adoring fans all along the way, including one David Letterman who, after their performance on his show, once declared: “if you can’t do this, get out of the business”. High praise indeed! Their newest record Everything Here is out now. For readers local to the lavish offices of Radio Free Lightning Bug, you can catch The Suffers at this year’s Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

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How did those tunes appeal to your musical sensibilities, friends? Pretend it’s 2009 and tell me in the comments section! While you contemplate that request:

Happy Listening!

Lost Woods Play “Cinnamon”

Our lasting friendships that remain solid from childhood to adulthood are rare and precious. They help us to to stay rooted in what’s important, and to see how the threads in our lives are so vitally connected to the lives of others.

Adelaide, Australia quintet Lost Woods have recently released their single “Cinnamon” which touches upon these very themes wrapped in an aural package that’s texturally varied, atmospheric, and lyrically poignant. Listen to it right here.

The band consists of not one but two sets of brothers; twins Tom and Sam Baird, both guitarists, and Miles and Lucas Sly on drums and bass respectively. Rounding out the lineup is frontman Peter White, who connected with Tom at a party, bonding over music, but also Seinfeld and a mutual sense of social awkwardness. From there, Lost Woods was born, and they began to build their base of fans and media support.

Lost Woods’ previous single, ‘Vodka Ocean, received Australian national airplay on Triple J and gained huge support from community radio, street press and music media across the country. ‘Secrets In Our Sleeves’, taken from their self titled debut EP, was a finalist in the 2016 Vanda and Young songwriting competition. Latest single ‘Cinnamon’ hopes to build on this success

I connected with Sam Baird and Peter White of Lost Woods via email and asked them about the band, and their newest song “Cinnamon”. Here’s our conversation.

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Continue reading “Lost Woods Play “Cinnamon””