AJR “Sober Up” (feat. Rivers Cuomo) is a Radio 104.5 discovery. Whenever the song is not playing on the radio I hear it playing in my head. “Sober Up” is catchy and infectious in a way that makes it exciting to listen to every time I hear it. Plus I love to sing or whistle the lines “my favorite color is you/you’re vibrating out my frequency”. Currently this is the only song I know from AJR, the three brother DIY indie-pop group of Adam, Jack, and Ryan from New York City.
AJR will be a part of Radio 104.5’s Winter Jawn 2018. Also on that bill are: Dashboard Confessional, The Struts, and J. Roddy Walston & the Business. Winter Jawn is an all ages outdoor (rain or shine) concert hosted by Radio 104.5 held at XFINITY Live on Saturday, January 27, 2018.
It’s January 1st and a new year is here. I decided to change the intended weekly feature Five For Thought to a daily feature called Song For Thought. Yes, it’s our take on the standard Song Of The Day. So, visit this blog daily for a new song post.
The new year often makes me think of the song “New Year’s Resolution” by Val Emmich. And that would have been a fitting song to post, but I wanted to go with something a bit more positive and possibly inspiring. For those reasons Val Emmich’s “Catalyst” is today’s Song For Thought.
I see ahead a chance to breathe
I’ll start again, it’s what I need
I’ll start again, new and clean
These lyrics remind me of how I like to approach a new year—with a clean slate. This song and those lyrics are inspiring and provided a much needed catalyst to move forward and be open to the opportunities that 2018 might provide.
Ben Arnold – “Sinister Direction”
“Sinister Direction” will appear on Ben Arnold’s forthcoming album ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’ which is scheduled for a January 2018 release. This song, as does most of Arnold’s music, has a rich soulfulness that is pleasing to the ears and lyrical sustenance for the mind, plus the delightfully distinctive tone of Arnold’s voice. So, if you get a chance to see a Ben Arnold show you should go. And be on the lookout for ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear the new album.
Sonofdov – “Fight Or Flight” Sonofdov is the musical work of singer-songwriter Dennis King. Sonofdov’s music was brought to my attention years ago when I used to blog for another blog. It was a great musical discovery and I’ve been a fan ever since. Anyways “Fight Or Fight” has all the elements of a great Sonofdov song: acoustic stripped-down feel, honest lyrics, and King’s voice has a humbly alluring timbre. Give this track a listen if you don’t believe me.
Square Peg Round Hole – “Hush”
“Hush” is off Square Peg Round Hole’s 2017 release ‘Five Years’. I am simply fascinated by Square Peg Round Hole’s ability to constantly create emotion filled sonically saturated soundscapes. This band is clearly gifted with amazing musical talents. Wow! Glad to see the band went for an ambient sound on this ep because they wholeheartedly make it work. Unfortunately, I don’t see any shows listed for Square Peg Round Hole now, but I hope that changes soon.
Black Horse Motel – “Bones”
I think I saw Black Horse Motel only once this year and that is unacceptable. I do remember hearing “Bones” performed live and it’s a great song. “Bones” is from Black Horse Motel’s 2017 release ‘Parable’. Sometimes you just need some good Americana/folk music in your life and Black Horse Motel dispense it in spades. YES!!!
Maitland – “Glimpse”
“Glimpse” is the title track from Maitland’s June 2017 album ‘Glimpse’. I’m so glad that I found this song while Bandcamping the other day. I know that I’ve seen Maitland perform at least once in the past and I think I liked that performance. Well, “Glimpse” is a resounding reminder that I should have been paying attention to Maitland all along. Maitland, please accept my apology—I’ll be listening.
Val Emmich – “Lately (The Crazy)”
Singer-songwriter extraordinaire (excellent actor and writer to boot) Val Emmich released his newest single last week called “Lately (The Crazy)” “It’s about this feeling of being in a constant state of alarm, not being able to turn it off, even at night, in the comfort of your own home.” An optimistic sounding song in a time of madness. Thanks for the comfort, Val, I think we can all use some.
Mike Herz – “The Acrobat”
This song, “The Acrobat” is the title track from Mike Herz’s January 2017 release. On the album this track appears last and I wonder if it was always intended to be that way or was that beautiful robotically harmonic sounding “goodbye” the deciding factor? Anyways, a great song, that voice is confident yet warm, and I know a banjo when I hear one. Catch Mike Herz at Burlap and Bean – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Illinois – “Summer”
Listening to a song titled “Summer” does not seem seasonally appropriate when winter is near. Or, maybe it’s the perfect song to remind us of those warm, sunny days. Either way, this song embodies the fundamental underlying essence of the band Illinois—FUN. But it’s no secret that Illinois’ strength lies in their ability to effortlessly conquer any music style with confidence. You’re in luck, Illinois plays Archie’s Big Heads – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Hemming – “Counting Stones
Hemming is a Philadelphia, PA based artist but it took me seeing Mondo Cozmo last February for me to hear her music for the first time. Well, I never claimed to be the sole discoverer of all great music. I always welcome your music suggestions. Anyways, this song sounds SO GOOD. And if I don’t get my chance to see Hemming live this Sunday at Boot & Saddle then I’ll be very upset with myself.
Strand Of Oaks – “Passing Out”
“Passing Out” is from the forthcoming album ‘Harder Love’ original recordings (January 19, 2018 digital release) by Strand Of Oaks. “Harder Love feels like Hard Love in an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.” Based on this song alone I can kind of see where that description comes from. It’s no “Goshen 97” and that’s where my appreciation of Strand of Oaks comes from. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—just something different and different can be good. Strand Of Oaks’ Winter Classic 2017 starts tonight (Saturday and Sunday) at Boot & Saddle.
I started a playlist series a while ago, Songful Sundays, but I lost interest partly because Spotify wasn’t the right platform for me. I hope using YouTube works better this time. I guess we’ll see.
Here’s a few quick thoughts about these songs and the artists who created them.
1) “Someone To You” – BANNERS
I’m usually a bit reluctant to watch music videos for songs I love because sometimes a music video can ruin a song. Thankfully this is not one of those times. “Someone To You” is a great song. This music video is cute in a classically brilliant way. I love BANNERS’ music.
4) “City by the Sea” – Chris Kasper
I missed Chris Kasper’s show at Underground Arts this past Saturday and I regret it. Kasper is an absolute favorite of mine and deserving of the title “best singer-songwriter ever”. I could listen to Kasper’s music forever and never get tired of hearing it.
6) “Everybody Lost Somebody” – Bleachers
I got the latest Bleachers album shortly after it was released months ago. I have not been able to put this album down. I listen to it A LOT. Bleachers plays Fillmore Philly this Thursday (11/16) and I wish I could be there. **Does this song have that Yamaha keyboard elephant roar sample? Hehe.**
7) “Yeshe & Horus” – Hezekiah Jones
You can never go wrong with Hezekiah Jones music. Yet another amazingly talented singer-songwriter. Listen if you don’t believe me. You can thank me later.
8) “Hard Times Don’t Come” – Sonofdov
Sonofdov is another favorite artist of mine and another exceptional singer-songwriter. Gotta love that mandolin on this song. Great song! Check out all of Sonofdov’s music, you won’t regret it—I promise.
9) “Too Good At Goodbyes” (Acoustic) – Sam Smith
I had to toss some new Sam Smith into the mix. I think this is the first single of his latest album and a fantastic song. Plus, Sam Smith has one of those voices that I could listen to forever.
10) “Thunder” – Mondo Cozmo
It has been exciting to see Mondo Cozmo (Joshua Ostrander) get all the success he deserves and more. ‘Plastic Soul’ is a brilliant album and one of my top favorites this year. I love the emotion behind “Thunder” and given the right mindset this song will make me cry. I can’t help it. Yes, even wallflowers do cry.
11) “Mysterium” – Hammock
When I tweeted that Hammock’s music was “dipped-in-magic-waters-good” I wasn’t trying to be funny and borrow a sentiment from my favorite movie. I was being serious about how powerful this music is. WOW!
12) “Someone To You” (Acoustic) – BANNERS
I decided to add this acoustic version of “Someone To You” because it really highlights BANNERS’ voice. Yes, I’ll say it again and keep saying it, BANNERS/Michael Nelson I love your voice—it’s perfect and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’m hoping to make this a weekly thing so stay tuned.
“We All Dance Like Fire” is from the upcoming release, ‘City Stars’ by Aquino, a Cuban-Rican indie musician from New Jersey. The song opens with soft vocals, guitar, and distant harmonies. “Never say adieu, and run away / There’s no one who could steal the day like you” are the beginning lyrics and create a heartfelt start. I can’t help but be wowed by the lyrics “we love the sway of all the moments through the lens of age” for the description just works wonderfully. The song ends with a repetitive almost echoed “we all dance like fire, baby” as if a final gusto of emotion.
As Aquino states, “the last song [on the ‘City Stars’ EP], ‘We All Dance Like Fire”, is a reflection on who I’ve become and a personal dedication to my wife.” Maybe that’s why the song exudes such a beautiful vibe in such an effortless way—meaning this song is brimming with charm. Give “We All Dance Like Fire” by Aquino a listen.
Join Aquino Saturday, October 14th, at The Little Theater in the Bloomfield Public Library for an album release party with Laree Cisco | 2PM – 4PM | Tickets $10/person – proceeds will be donated to the ConPRmetidos Hurricane María and Irma Recovery Fund | More info
‘Honey’ is the debut EP from Brother Sundance, a young singer-songwriter from South Florida. Regardless of how Brother Sundance was brought to my attention I am writing about this artist because his music deserves the respect of our ears and our attention. Brother Sundance’s ‘Honey’ is well worth a listen or few.
This EP is a collection of songs with an interstellar sound. Somewhere between the alternative rock, electronic, indie pop sound I feel like I’m floating in space and that’s fine with me. The first track, “Monsters”, contains the exaggerated “do” that is piercing and memorable. As that angry yet determined male voice sings “I told her I would DO all I could to be the man she needs. I told her I would DO all I could to fight the worst in me.” The next track, “Blind”, is a song that I’ve heard on Radio 104.5 a few times. It’s a good track and I liked it when I heard it on the radio but I’m not sure it’s the best representation of Brother Sundance. Had I not been contacted by Brother Sundance’s people I don’t think I would have given this artist another chance based on “Blind” alone. Then again, with over a million streams worldwide on Apple Music—what do I know!?!
I’ve become a fan of the male vocals in these songs because its rich tone is so inviting, warm and honest. Making the lyrics “beauty sees what beauty does and loves the things that beauty loves/beauty be my enemy and weapon for the lucky ones” sound so sincere. Also, hearing that voice sing that final “so we stay at home” on “Bad Love” gives those lyrics so much more meaning and emotion. Don’t get me wrong, the female vocals heard on this EP are good and just as important which had me confused when I learned that Brother Sundance is Rylan Talerico alone. I wrongfully assumed this artist was a duo, or possibly a full band.
Brother Sundance’s live show debut was in Philly yesterday (9/16) at Radio 104.5’s Endless Summer Show at XFinity Live. I am jealous of anyone who got to see Brother Sundance’s performance at that show. I love live music and I wish I could have been there. Oh well, at least I have the beautiful music of ‘Honey’ to play on repeat and ease the pain of knowing that I probably missed a great show.
Here’s “Blind” from Brother Sundance’s debut EP ‘Honey’
This week Sonofdov released a new single titled “A Low Hush Keel”. This song was written and recorded in the spring of this year and is the first song in a set of new recordings. Being surprised with this new single made my day and listening to “A Low Hush Keel” makes my ears smile.
“A Low Hush Keel” opens with the crisp sole sound of a prominently strummed acoustic guitar. Next, comes the lull of those beautifully harmonious oohs. Then, the main attraction, the unassertive yet noticeably sincere timbre of Sonofdov’s (singer-songwriter Dennis King) voice. You might recognize the chorus from Sonofdov’s previously released single, “Night Vision”. The familiarity of the chorus only adds to the musical cohesion.
Lyric-wise “A Low Hush Keel” adheres to Sonofdov standards—solid songwriting by way of bold imagery with a touch of mystery. I mean, don’t the lyrics “but darkness is the devil and the devil was her friend” make you pause and think? And the quiet plea “please don’t lose control” is repeated just enough times to make you believe in its importance.
While listening to this song you might feel like a spectator in someone else’s life, almost like a scene out of a movie, and you’ll be glad that you were there to witness it. “A Low Hush Keel” is the embodiment of a peaceful timeless world and the kind of song that you might listen to if you needed an escape.
“A Low Hush Keel” is available now for download via Bandcamp.com.
Val Emmich’s ‘The Reminders’ Book Release Concert (presented by Little City Books) was last night (June 3, 2017) at Maxwell’s Tavern in Hoboken, NJ and it was a fantastic celebration. I hope these photos and videos give you an idea of what the event was like. Last night was so wonderful and was definitely one of those rare nights that you wish you could live over and over again. Wow!
The newest, self-titled, Space Pizza album is a fun and lively five track ride that travels from everyday matters to those deemed private or even taboo. This is rock and roll/indie rock that touches on psychedelic grooves and experimental elements. At some point, I thought I heard video game music samples. If not at other moments, the end of the second track clearly exemplifies a space rock sound. Anyways, whether you truly connect with the subject matter or not the catchy, infectious style of this music is hard to resist.
Space Pizza is a rock and roll quartet from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. Said to be, or simply self-proclaimed, “the ultimate party band outside of Philadelphia.” The band consists of members: Craig Labor (drums/vocals), Sean Lally (guitar/vocals), Adam Pluchino (bass/vocals), Mike Ritz (guitar/vocals). I’m not sure how many releases this band has thus far but their Bandcamp page has three other albums/eps. I gave a few of those albums a quick listen and the sound, vibe, and style seems to be consistent with this album.
This self-titled album by Space Pizza was brought to my attention and I’m not sure if I would have found it on my own, but it has been a fun listening experience. So, if you’re in need of some energetic tunes, that are sonically serious, yet bursting with fun then you owe it to yourself to give this album a listen. And just like a delicious pizza, Space Pizza’s self-titled album travels well.