Taylor Janzen Sings “New Mercies”

Emotionally connected and introspective indie pop/rock from Taylor Janzen, a Winnipeg Manitoba native and up-and-coming singer-songwriter who’s starting to make waves outside of Canada, too.

This tune was released toward the end of 2018; an existential call to a god who may or may not be there, and the need to take care of oneself in the light of one’s own spiritual longing either way.

The artist at the centre of this song has been described as a “sad song enthusiast”, and it’s arguable that this song is one of those. But at the same time, there’s certainly hope to be found in the struggles described here; that regardless of the silence we sometimes find in times of trouble, sometimes that silence becomes the space wherein we find our own answers, or maybe just a sense of serenity that puts our struggles into the right perspective.

You can choose a service to add “New Mercies” to your playlists right here.

Read more about Taylor Janzen and about this song at Nylon magazine.

Happy listening!

 

Secret Treehouse Play “Fear of Frogs”

Melancholic indie-synth pop from self-styled “pop orchestra” Secret Treehouse.

This is a single that’s less about amphibian aversions, and more about the kinds of fears that we’re standing in the way of someone else’s journey even though we love them, or perhaps even because we do. It’s all wrapped up in brooding synth lines, soaring vocals, and moody chord progressions.

Have a listen!

Secret Treehouse hail from Bergen in Norway, a well-known hotbed for musical delights that also include Kings of Convenience, Datarock, and so many others.

This single is the lead to their upcoming new record The Big Rewind, which is out right now.

Learn more about the band and the new album at their official site.

Happy listening

Pack of Three: The High Loves, The Room in the Wood, Moist

The holiday season is nearly upon us, RFLB fans! You know, I have to come up with a better name for all of you. “Buggers” probably won’t do.

Anyway!

As a holiday gift all wrapped up in a metaphorical bow until we reconvene in the new year, here’s a selection of three sumptuous tunes to which you can rock out while you get the rest of your shopping done.

Open your minds and ears.

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“You Already Knew That” by The High Loves

Name: The High Loves

From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sound: Beatles-esque melodic guitar pop with distinct Strokes sensibilities.

Story: This song is a kind of break-up tune, penned by High Loves songwriter Noah Monckton about leaving a beloved someone behind to make space for self-expression and personal fulfillment in making music. You’d be right in thinking that this is autobiographical. The song is a single off of the band’s new EP, Seratonin. It’s out right now.

Link: Stream the EP here

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“Mars” by The Room in the Wood

Name: The Room in the Wood

From: Liverpool, UK

Sound: The spirit of Jim Morrison inhabits the bodies of two Liverpudlians to make a 2018-relevant political statement about the future of humanity.

Story: Stalwart Liverpool scenesters and former members of post-punk purveyors The Room, Dave Jackson and Paul Cavanagh have come together as The Room in the Wood to bring you this comment on our fascination with sexy technology that ultimately solves the wrong problems. This cut is taken from their newest release The Mars EP, out now.

Link: Listen to Mars EP here.

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“Traces” by Moist

Name: Moist

From: Söderhamn, Sweden

Sound: Icy, wintry electronica that is the sonic equivalent of watching intricate, beautiful frost patterns form on the inside of a window as the snow falls gently outside.

Story: Moist (not to be confused with the Canadian band of the same name) is the creative vehicle for electronica musician and producer David Elfström Lilja. This cut is taken from his newest LP, Lavine, featuring the voice of singer Maria Marcus.

Link: Get the new record and learn more at moist.se.

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Merry Holidays, you buggers!

(see – needs work …)

Until the New Year, then!

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!

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!

Pack of Three: Alice Merton, Slothrust, Thirsty Curses

Fiery new wave disco rage pop. Crunchy stream of consciousness folk-punk. Jaunty, fun-loving indie pop.

That’s what we’ve set up for you in this week’s Radio Free Lightning Bug Pack of Three. Knock ’em down one by one by listening here.

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“Lash Out” by Alice Merton

Name: Alice Merton

From: Berlin, Germany (by way of many points on the map)

Sound: Upbeat guitar pop with a hint of PJ Harvey bite and Florence Welch attack, ready made for the dance floor

Story: Alice Merton was formally trained in composition in Manheim, Germany, although she spent her early life in Canada, with stops in the US, England, and Germany with an English dad and a German mum. How’s that for an international sensation? Recently, she’s done the rounds on North American TV appearances including Kelly & Ryan, and The Late, Late Show with James Corden, and has been listed as “one to watch” in Rolling Stone. This song featured on her latest EP No Roots, is about resisting the pull to fall in line with the expectations of others, instead forging a path of one’s own.

Links:

Official site

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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“Birthday Cake” by Slothrust

Name: Slothrust

From: Boston, MA, USA

Sound: Folk-influenced alternative rock infused with punk rock spirit and stream of consciousness flow.

Story: Originally premiering on Consequence of Sound, this track from Bostonian-bred, LA-based indie rock band Slothrust (Sloth-rust as opposed to slo-thrust, friends), this cut as taken from the band’s upcoming record The Pact (out September 14, 2018). It’s one of a selection of singles that serve as a harbinger to that release. You can read this interview on Billboard magazine with creative lead Leah Wellbaum who talks about the new record, among other things. You can then hear yet another single of theirs, “Peach”.

Links:

Official site

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Spotify

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“Dimlit Cathedral” by Thirsty Curses

Name: Thirsty Curses

From: Raleigh, NC, USA

Sound: Cheeky, bouncy indie pop that doesn’t take itself so goddamn seriously, but seriously gets in your head all the same.

Story: “The only way to get these songs out of your head is with a bullet” says Thirsty Curses front man Wilson Getchell during the recording of the band’s newest record All Shook Up, which is out right now, friends. That’s kinda dark, maybe. But this tune helps to illustrate the point by its brightness, buoyed up by frenetic playing and affable delivery, not to mention a kaleidoscopic animated video that matches with the childlike energy of the music. The song and the rest of the record was produced by none other than Mitch Easter, he of Let’s Active and the early production chair occupier for a little band called REM.

Links:

Official site

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Which way do the musical winds blow for you, gentle wayfaring music fan? Tell me your tales in the comments!

Happy Listening!

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

Twitter

Instagram

iTunes

Spotify