No Sailor Play “21 Rules”

Effervescent string band pop imbued with acoustic brightness, vocal and instrumental call and response interplay, and good-natured lyrical winks of the eye.

Here’s No Sailor with “21 Rules”

The “No Sailor” moniker is in place as a vehicle for the work of singer-songwriter Kieran Garvey and his collective of indie-folk-pop compatriots. The video you’re watching was shot one evening in a friend’s handmade barn in Pennsylvania, that state being a known hot spot for both handmade barns and acoustically-inclined string bands.

Getting the upright piano into the space for the shoot was a challenge, evidently. Kieran tells the story:

Getting the piano on and off the U-Haul wasn’t too much trouble, but getting it up the bent staircase to the loft space of the barn was PURE HELL. It was an absolute beast to lift. I think we had six or seven guys on it too, all a bit worried we’d die like a cartoon character and get crushed by a piano. In the end nothing but the piano was harmed as a little wheel broke off in the process. We were all super happy we made the extra effort though, as the piano looked great, sounded alright, and our pianist had a hell of a good time playing it and improvising between takes.

All’s well that ends well!

As for the song itself, “21 Rules” is concerned with rules of engagement and sometimes dubious and often on-point lines of etiquette to toe. You decide if the advice is worth taking, Casanova being in agreement notwithstanding.

Garvey and his band are set to release the first full-length No Sailor album in early 2019; Anchor Broken Free. To make sure you get the news on that release and other tidbits, be sure to follow No Sailor on Twitter.

Happy listening!

Royal Sings “Vessel”

Spare and stark, awash in late Autumn rainy-day melancholy and with a soulful vocal at the center of it all. Vancouver’s Royal (neé Jodi Pederson), lays it bare on this solo acoustic version of a track off of her most recent record, Heart of Shadows, released last week.

The song explores a familiar theme of losing oneself in longing for another, a thread that runs through many of the songs on the record.

Here’s the studio version, which puts a distinct downtempo electronica spin on the song. Yet, that melancholy remains.

For more on Royal, investigate her website.

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!

Pack of Three: Modern Leisure, Freedom Fry, The Rad Trads

Melancholically languid indie rock. Gentle and easy folk-pop from America and France. Brown-sound inspired roots rock. It’s all here for you, questing music fans.

Lend me your ears, friends! This is this week’s Radio Free Lightning Bug’s Pack of Three.

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“Never Got The Buzz” by Modern Leisure

Name: Modern Leisure

From: Denver, CO, USA

Sound: Wistful indie rock that carries the weight of the world, yet is quietly content in doing so.

Story: Denver’s Modern Leisure is led by Casey Banker, who’s shared stages with Mazzy Star and the Lumineers, with the band he’s in realizing the same kind of spirit as each of those. This song was inspired by the idea of a spark that can exist between two people, yet often never seems to get off of the ground. Can you relate? The song is taken from the band’s debut record, Super Sad Rom Com.

Links:

Facebook

Spotify

Twitter

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“Tidal Wave” by Freedom Fry

Name: Freedom Fry

From: Los Angeles, CA, USA via Paris, France

Sound: Countrified folk-pop with glorious vocal blends and with pedal steel that comes in like a cool breeze on a summer day.

Story: Comprised of American Bruce Driscoll and Paris-born Marie Seyrat, Freedom Fry is the name of the band. The two met on the set of a music video and began writing songs together in 2011, with several singles and EPs since. This cut is a paean to love that is both desired and overwhelming at the same time. I am a convert, friends. And you will be, too. The new album is called Classic and is out right now.

Links:

Official site

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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“Good Luck Unto Ya” by The Rad Trads

Name: The Rad Trads

From: New York City, NY, USA

Sound: “Rock of Ages” era The Band textures, complete with loads of brass and celebratory vocal arrangements.

Story: To contrast the ecstatic love song from Freedom Fry, this one is a kiss-off track, albeit and extremely joyful one. “Good Luck Unto Ya” is an anthem to the end of a relationship that is marked with more of a sense of relief than sadness. The track conjures up The Band to my ears, singing drummer and all (that would be John Fatum), but also the trad jazz-style horn arrangements. As of this writing, The Rad Trads are on tour, promoting their second and newest full-length release On Tap, which will be released on September 14.

Links:

Official site

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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What think ye, good travellers of musical highways and byways? Don’t keep me in suspense! Share your impressions in the comments below.

Happy Listening!

 

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!

Pack of Three: Transistor Girl, Lightning Echoes, Cubicolor

An interior tale of (literal!) quiet regret delivered in a late night, post-rock package. A hopeful tune in times of trouble. And a polyrhythmic electronica excursion that draws all the right comparisons.

It’s Radio Free Lightning Bug’s weekly Pack of Three, friends.

Find your favourite below!

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“Quiet Regret” by Transistor Girl

Name: Transistor Girl

From: Geneva, Switzerland

Sound: Quietly brooding and compellingly tense and atmospheric post-rock awash with electronics and echoey guitar.

Story: Some songs tell grand narratives of high drama. Others tell stories that happen only in the most fleeting thoughts and collected emotional geography. No points for guessing where this track falls, kids. This song touches on themes that the title only teases at, with the slow build of the music bringing it to fruition via movie soundtrack influences and smoky, downcast vocals. This is one to listen to with the headphones on, lights out.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Vimeo

Spotify

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“In Circles” by Lightning Echoes

Name: Lightning Echoes

From: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sound: Optimistic and texturally varied folk-pop with earnest, hopeful lyrics sung in real, untreated voices.

Story: In an increasingly uncertain world, having some encouraging and hopeful anthems is welcome – even necessary. This is certainly one of them from producer/performer/multi-instrumentalist duo Kaitlin Deavy and Alejandro Zarazúa who go by the name Lightning Echoes. The two met while studying music technology and production, with their partnership flourishing out of creating work for their portfolios, and based on a common love for smart pop music that goes beyond the expected. “In Circles” is their debut single.

Links:

Official site

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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“Counterpart” by Cubicolor

Name: Cubicolor

From: London, UK and Amsterdam, Holland

Sound: Haunting electronica with jazzy flourishes, ominous strings, and quietly menacing textures.

Story: Radiohead and Massive Attack comparisons abound with this trio made up of Dutch producers Ariaan Olieroock and Peter Kriek, and British producer / lead vocalist Tim Digby-Bell. Those comparisons are ultimately pretty justifiable. On this track, their newest single, they deliver the sonic richness contained within aural environments that are equal parts compelling and foreboding to easily place them in that company. The single is a follow-up to their debut album, 2016’s Brainsugar.

Links:

Soundcloud

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Time to round up your impressions, everyone. What are your thoughts? How have the above rocked your world, or kept it from rocking in the best possible way?

Do tell, and as always,

Happy Listening!

Colour Film Play “Open Road”

Matthew de Zoete (duh-ZOO-tuh) is a singer-songwriter based in southern Ontario, Canada who puts out music under the name Colour Film, which was also the title of his third record and its title track. (Ed: In another life, I even wrote about it!).

Since 2006, he’s been an active recording artist, songwriter, and live performer, appearing on stages with the best Canadian talent including Great Lake Swimmers, Serena Ryder, Whitehorse, and others. In 2016, he released the EP Super 8, featuring the centrepiece single, “The Money’s on the Dresser”.

Now, he’s released his newest single “Open Road”, featuring Caroline Brooks of folk-pop paragons The Good Lovelies.

Watch the video right here!

The song was inspired by a bike ride with de Zoete’s wife and two young daughters. They had pulled up ahead and a distance away from him at one point during their day out, inspiring de Zoete to think of his family as a kind of road to take him on a good journey.

To keep things authentic, the video (shot by Nathan Fleet) reproduced that ride, taking the same route that inspired him to write the song the day after the trip. This time is was Brooks who handled the bike duties.

With “Open Road” there’s a common thread that’s found in a lot of de Zoete’s music, particularly brought out in the video; Super 8 footage and the kind of gauzy memories of home movies captured on that vintage medium that has been the source of inspiration to de Zoete for many years.

With the wistful folk-pop of the song itself serving as soundtrack, the video seems to replicate that same gauzy and grainy quality of our favourite memories as we commonly experience them; as emotional impressions that we carry with us on our journeys. They are not always clearly defined, yet they shimmer with their own kind effusive beauty that somehow remains constant no matter where our journeys take us.

The song itself evokes the realization that we’re constantly leaving moments behind us, and that those moments ahead of us with the ones we love are all the more precious because of it. “Open Road” is a love song firmly planted in what’s most important to us when the distractions of our lives are set aside in favour of those things that give the journeys we take the most meaning.

It’s also about the people with whom we travel for however long we can, cherishing their company, and intertwining our memories with theirs. This can lead to journeys of other sorts, with their love for us and ours for them becoming a road that takes us to places inside of ourselves we never would have thought to go.

Happy listening!

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Links:

Official site

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