Chersea Sings “I Can’t Be You”

R&B with a kind of epic orchestral feel. But, there’s no orchestra in the conventional sense. Through a series of loops as a backdrop and with a soaring voice on top complete with jazzy colouring, your ears and your imagination will fill in the aural picture.

Find out what I mean.

Here’s Vancouver, BC’s Chersea.

 

Her new album is called In Limbo. It’s out right now.

Happy Listening!

The Dirty Nil Play “Pain of Infinity”

Dundas, Ontario rock band and Hamilton, Ontario scensters The Dirty Nil have released their latest record Master Volume, and are set to go on tour with dates in North America and in Europe, too. Here’s a cut off of it and the second single, “Pain of Infinity”.

The Dirty Nil have been around for a while by now, having painstakingly built an audience by crafting a sound that touches on the energy of punk, but – to be clear – they’re not a punk band. They’re a rock band, kids.  Their sound is characterized by a keen sense of varied texture within a rock set up, in-the-red volume levels, and by old-fashioned pop hooks.

I was lucky enough to encounter the band’s music around the time their debut song, the pointedly titled “Fuckin’ Up Young” came out. I even got to interview them! At that time, their songwriting approach was purely instinctual, fuelled by the love of loud music, TV shows about explosions, and prodigious beer consumption. I suspect that with this song and the new album, not much has changed. And after winning a Juno for upcoming group of the year in 2017,  and relentlessly playing shows (including as an opening act for The Who!) to hone their craft, their new album Master Volume is set to push the band into the next phase.

Find out more about The ‘Nil at their official site.

Buy the record and get merch right here.

Happy Listening!

Gamblers Play “Corinthian Order”

Happy/sad indie pop from Brooklyn, NY’s Gamblers. It’s “Corinthian Order”, an anthem not so much to a dramatic break-up as it is about the slow death of a relationship. Here’s the video, friends.

Time to watch.

Gamblers is fronted by Michael McManus, who in another life is an accomplished hip-hop producer. That stream of musical interest seems pretty far away from this (to my ears) eighties-influenced post-punk pop song with a breathy lead vocal full of resignation. Gamblers’ line up is rounded out by Gary O’Keefe (lead guitar, backing vocals, production), Boris Palacios (guitar, keyboard, production), and Evan O’Donovan (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals).

The video was shot in a defunct DIY venue Suburbia, and seems to be a character itself in the story of a bereft man cast appropriately in literal blue through out whose life as he knows it is slipping away from him. It was shot by filmmaker Tyler Walker who started working with the band after overhearing them talk about music videos in a cafe that McManus’ family has owned and operated since 1936. Walker was serving tables at the time, including the band’s that night. Right place, right time strikes again!

This song is the title cut from their upcoming EP Corinthian Order, out now.

Get more insight on Gamblers at their official site. Be sure to check out the animated video for another song on the new EP, “We’re Bound to Be Together”, also directed by Tyler Walker.

Happy listening!

Joel Willoughby Sings “Last Request”

Here’s some existential folk-pop from singer-songwriter Joel Willoughby; his new single “Last Request”. Listen here!

I first saw Joel Willoughby play at the Biltmore Cabaret a number of years ago, after his song “Hazelnut Moon” had gained some local radio play in Vancouver, BC and the surrounding area which he calls home. I was impressed by his self-deprecating personality, and of course his music which seems to be an amalgam of styles from across the decades, and still seems to be unique at the same time.

This cut is his newest, a reflection on the nature of faith and what drives people to cling to it and to call it into question all at once. Strummed acoustic guitar buoyed up by mandolin, Hammond B3, and a gospel-tinged chorus of backing voices bring it on home with a kind of bluegrass feel to the whole. I’m hoping this is the start of a next big release for him.

You can learn more about Joel Willoughby via these links.

Bandcamp

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Happy listening!

“The Strongest” by Andrea Desmond

Andrea Desmond is a singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles. Here’s a cut off of her most recent EP, Brighter Than the Stars, released this past August.

Desmond was a one-time student of world-class songwriter Alan Menken, later to forge her own path via formal education and in playing a lot with bands in California and Nevada particularly before embarking on a career under her own name. She takes her musical influences from a range of pop songwriting schools, from Sia to Regina Spektor, balancing pop hooks against varied textures and emotional undercurrents.

In listening to this track, there’s a definite sense of hopefulness in a world that seems to make despair a default position. If it’s anthems for 2018 going into 2019 that you’re looking for, you’re on the right track here.

For more about Andrea Desmond, check out her official site right here.

Happy Listening!

 

 

Pack of Three: The Matchstick Skeletons, Teenage Wedding, Saint Slumber

Lemmy-meets-James-Brown blues rock. Dreamy, spacey indie pop. Acoustic and ambient pop balladry.

This is your Radio Free Lightning Bug pack of three for the week, friends.

Lend me your ears.

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“I Told Ya So” by The Matchstick Skeletons

Name: The Matchstick Skeletons

From: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sound: Fuzzy and minimalist blues rock with a whiff of the funk that kicks your musical door in.

Story: This Vancouver-based duo comprised of singer/multi-instrumentalist Neu Mannas and drummer Matty Carolei is well-traveled and their sound hard-won. After recording and travels abroad with original outfit Head of the Herd, not to mention work in film composing and sound engineering on the part of singer and multi-instrumentalist Mannas, the two musicians set to work on becoming the kind of band they needed to be; one full of funk-inspired and metallic blues-rock underpinnings. This is their debut single.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

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“Wow! Signal” by Teenage Wedding

Name: Teenage Wedding

From: Victoria, BC, Canada

Sound: Breezy and jangly indie rock that sidles up to you and demurely asks if you’d like to dance to the Stereolab song that just came on.

Story: Active on their native (and as it happens, my native) West Coast playing shows with Wolf Parade, The Courtneys, and others, Teenage Wedding throws all of their interests into a big melodic and lyrically quirky pot; science fiction, Broadcast, religious mythology, Sonic Youth, Carl Sagan, Jungian psychology all make appearances. This song, taken from their second record The Sophia of Teenage Wedding (out now), is about a dance craze beamed from outer space that results in the next stage of human enlightenment. How can you not get behind that?

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Instagram

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“Infinite” by Saint Slumber

Name: Saint Slumber

From: “The suburban sprawl between Philadelphia and New York City”, USA.

Sound: Acoustic meets ambient pop with a bank of melancholy clouds in a late, early evening summer sky.

Story: Serving as the final track and third single on their upcoming EP Youth/2 (due out September 14th), this song is the result of a concentrated effort in getting back to basics with their sound; acoustic guitar, voice, minimal percussion, and a wash of electronic sound in the background. This song is their first “ballad”, also a concentrated effort to expand their range as they build momentum with increasing streaming of their music, and appearances at festivals alongside Dashboard Confessional, and others.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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What do you think, music fans? Have you found your new favourite band today?

Tell me all about it, old school, in the comments.

And as always,

Happy Listening!

Ghost X Gardens Plays “Hittin’ The Bricks”

For those of you who think that there’s not enough sleaze ‘n’ horns in rock music these days, it is my joyous duty to introduce you to Ghost X Gardens’ latest cut, “Hittin’ the Bricks”, taken from the album Heartbreak Hotel Chelsea, out now.

Listen here.

Ghost X Gardens is the musical moniker of musician Adam Rushfield, who made himself a part of illustrious rock history with his new record. That is, he became a resident of the famous (or infamous – or both, really) Chelsea Hotel in New York City. That rock ‘n’ roll refuge has sheltered many a musical giant, from Leonard Cohen to Sid Vicious. This song is, in part, a call out to that history. But it’s a call out to another history, too.

Featured as an outro to this new song is a footnote and feature that puts a spotlight on unofficial matriarch of the Chelsea, Storme’ DeLarverie with whom Rushfield formed a bond while ensconced at the hotel. For those not already aware, DeLarverie is credited with throwing the first punch in a scuffle with police at the historic Stonewall riots in 1969, a key moment and vital turning point in LGBTQ history. On this track we hear her gentler side. These excerpts which are threaded throughout the new record exists as an “album within an album”, and representative of Storme’ DeLarverie last recordings before her death in 2014 at the age of 93.

These fascinating details aside, the sound of this song hearkens back to a distant, pre-gentrified New York, with humid horn arrangements and careening guitars, organ, bass, and drums, kicking everything off with an audible and generous quaff of some noxious beverage. This is an anthem to a night out in a dirty, dangerous town while adequately and appropriately stoned politely out of one’s mind. It’s a gloriously bleary journey on which the listener is instantly transported.

But with the outro and explanation of how Rushfield made a connection with DeLarverie, it becomes something else, too; an affectionate ode to a time of artistic exploration and self-discovery for the songwriter that converged with the end of an era for the historic Chelsea Hotel, too.

Sometimes rock ‘n’ roll swagger is best understood with a certain amount of melancholy.

To learn more about Ghost X Gardens, investigate these links:

Official site

Press page

Twitter

Instagram

Happy Listening!