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Charlie Leavy's new EP The Best Damn Ride is tight pop with a mixture of modern and classic sounds. It opens with “The Way Life Is” which is a call for caring and how love can save us instead of being caught up in materialism.

Speaking of love, “Tongue Tied” follows up quickly with a song about how it’s hard to talk to someone you have a crush on. Despite the title, Charlie’s words are proficient and smooth, although the point is that it’s harder to be smooth or even yourself when you like someone. “Summers Day Runaway” has a great Latin beat and interesting vocal melody. A paean about wanting to drive off with the one she loves, a poptimistic escape from the life problems mentioned in the first track. “Falter Baby” is a classic love song staple featuring the protagonist begging for unrequited love. She wants her love interest to falter in their refusal to let her know.

"Running My Mouth" at first seems thematically similar to "Tongue Tied" but is a different take. Instead of being frustrated at not feeling able to express her true love, this time it’s regret that perhaps her words have been taken out of context, or that she spoke too soon, hurting her love.

The last two songs are live acoustic cuts. “Why Are You Waiting” is a flip on “Falter Baby” where she’s playing the other role: someone trying to convince someone to slow down, to be free. “Wearing Your Kiss” is an example of being on cloud nine after a kiss, but not knowing what to feel about it.

Overall, the production is clean and Charlie sings with passion beyond her years. The music is tight and heart-felt. Her lyrical delivery is quick and clever, although personally I would like to see her branch out from love songs into other subjects as she matures. She does it well, however. You can tell she’s sincere and the songwriting is advanced for her age, so I think she’s going to go far.

Source: SoundCloud / Charlie Leavy
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Adam Schneider's newest album Turning Away comes from a long tradition of music that uplifts while tackling difficult social issues such as homelessness and inequity. He encourages people to be good to each other and to themselves, to be aware of the world around us.

Musically it has moments akin to a jazz or soul without being limited by either of those specific genres. The jazz elements come in by way of his interesting use of melody and how the vocal fits in the chords built by the band, as well as in some of the instrumentation. The soul/gospel aspect is not only in the overall style but how the lyrics entreat us to be good. It’s not a call to religion as much as a call to be fully human and to treat those around us with love.

The production is lush and beautiful. It works well with the concept of the album and brings to mind Stevie Wonder. The instruments are all very well recorded and live sounding, existing within the stereoscape quite nicely, and the songs all flow well from one into the next.

The album starts with “No Home” a song with a driving beat, lilting bassline, and floating sax. The tone of the song elicits feelings of wandering, while the lyrics call attention to the problems of being homeless - problems which are too often ignored. “Don’t look the other way. Don’t say everything’s okay.”

"Free Dimensional," the next track brings an ethereal vibe. It’s a simple song about treating ourselves better, not materialistically speaking, but spiritually. This concept is continued with "Love Undefined" with a similar message but expanding from the individual to others. I love the crescendo/break/change about two-thirds of the way through leading into the softer ending.

This softness flows into the quiet piano of “Our Lies.” This track evokes a long tradition of soul/R&B in a variety of ways, and the turn around from the minor feel of the opening to the relative major of the chorus is a nice transition into the more upbeat but still soulful ”Heels of Judgement.” This song keeps building with instrumentation and dynamic and entreats us to embrace those around us, to build relationships through positivity and education instead of discrimination. “Give It The Light” follows, returning us to an upbeat bluesy danceable number about being positive. Next is “Aging Me” which has a travelling folk feel to it.

"We" is a slower blues-jazz song which is about how greed and selfishness destroys us all, and worse how being blind to the consequences of our actions is bad for all of us. None of us exists in a vacuum. "Stand" features subtle, really well-layered strings and like the previous track, is about how we all exist in this world together and that we should stand up for our rights to exist as equals.

"Turning Away" is the closer and title track. It brings us back to the piano soul stylistically, and wraps up the ideals presented in the album as "justice and equality remain to be seen." The positive message of the album is represented well again by the changes in the chord progression, especially where it breaks into a major key near the turn. It’s uplifting and reminds us that we’re all people, a message that perhaps cannot be stated enough these days.

Source: SoundCloud / Adam Schneider Music
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Courtesy Tier - Cold (Official Music Video)

@CourtesyTier #FF 

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The Toothaches!

atrainwreckfullofclowns:

Really loving the new album by The Toothaches. They reinvent their sound every tme they release something while keeping it interesting and having their own “voice”, something not easy to do.

Source: Spotify
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"music is so shitty now…" lol

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CASEY BLACK - “TROUBLE” (live)

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This is genius. I love the shades of old school glam here. Cool song, cool vid.

Perfume Genius - ‘Queen’

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So Much Love is the new release from Miles Wick, and I found I needed to be immersed in it before I could properly write about it. It opens with “Cloud,” a droning introduction with a subtly shifting rhythm like sand, or water, or the sky, or time itself. The atmosphere is so real and deep in its understated simplicity that it forces the listener to become the story in the lyrics. Followed by “In My Town In Your Town Too,” this track brings us back down to earth a little, but the gamelan feel of the chimes and guitar interplay still reference a similarly shifting rhythm. 

Miles really shines on the title track, “So Much Love.” His voice rings clear and true with a tone that is simultaneously uplifting but also slightly melancholic. You don’t doubt that he is indeed overtaken by the love surrounding him, but perhaps feel that he is somewhat sadly detached from that love, as he entreats the listener to give in to the emotion. Again, the production is very nicely clean and sparse: mostly acoustic guitar with some synth and guitar counterpoint melodies and airy drums.

"Only Water" brings us back to the loose strummy drone that opened the album. It’s a wistful track which to me suggests an attempt at reconciling what is on the shore - expectations of life? Family? - with a part of himself that is so far out at sea that the "you" shrinks in the distance. This is Miles’ id and it’s not lost at sea so much as enjoying drifting free. The introduction of the ethereal harmonies and ghostly guitar melodies toward the last third bring a resolution but not a simple one: has the "I" in the lyrics remained at sea or joined humanity, and which decision brings peace? 

"In Front of You" is something of a matched bookend to "So Much Love" entreating us to be aware of, and more to appreciate, what is in front of us. "It" may be looked at both temporally and literally. The album starts to wind down with "Empty Body" which again references the themes established in "Only Water" of drowning in the ocean and being saved somewhat resentfully or at least unwillingly.

"The Light" is a perfect follow up, a moment of transcendence beyond the body, beyond the ocean, beyond humanity. Again, there is reference to the theme with the droning bowed bass and screeching cymbals providing a haunting melodic tension which is broken at last by love. Or at least there is the hope of love providing the needed release.

The relatively short album is closed with finale “Dear Author,” which works very well as the epitaph for the album. It speaks longingly of a life gone too fast, of the futility of words, of promised actions which never realized. ‘What did you want to show us?’ he asks plaintively, and this invites yet another listen to this beautiful album about life, love, and artistic longing to try to understand what is being said even deeper. ‘Now it’s perfect.’

It truly is perfect. It’s not often an album gives chills not only on your arm, but in your heart. I entreat you to dive into this lush and beautiful ocean created by Miles, to swim far away from the shore of everyday life, of physical entrapment, to be lost in the sea of love. 

http://mileswick.bandcamp.com/album/so-much-love-3

Source: Bandcamp
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atrainwreckfullofclowns:

"A Grain of Salt" from the new album

The shadow of earth 
Slices the moon 
Echoes of the sun 
The source of our doom 
The spectre of life 
Smiles like a loon 
The same one that fuels our run 
Hastens our bloom

Source: Bandcamp
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Michael Wagner killing it at the Big City Folk Festival in Long Island City!

Source: atrainwreckfullofclowns