Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bent Van Looy

Bent Van Looy is an outstanding Belgian musician, singer and songwriter.


He was frontman of Das Pop and drummer of Soulwax.

In 2013, Bent Van Looy released his first solo album Round the Bend, produced in Los Angeles by Jason Falkner, who played most of the instruments.
The second album - Pyjama Days - followed in 2016 (Jason Falkner produced it and played the instruments again, he also co-wrote some of the songs).



I highly recommend these two records, start with the second (Pyjama Days).


Friday, April 6, 2018

Ron Sexsmith - biography & discography

I found Ron Sexsmith by a German newspaper (SPIEGEL-ONLINE). There was an article (beware: it's in German!) about him. They stated that Sexsmith is a songwriter and performer, respected by critics, many famous artists like Paul McCartney or Chris Martin (the latter recorded a duet version of Sexsmiths song Gold In Them Hills) and music lovers, but unknown to the majority. That made me curious and I started to listen to his songs...


Ron Sexsmith is from Canada, he started to write songs after the birth of his first child. His songs are mellow and marvellous. They are pure bliss. To date he recorded fifteen (!) albums since his first one in 1991.

Discography:

1991: Grand Opera Lane
1995: Ron Sexsmith
1997: Other Songs
1999: Whereabouts
2001: Blue Boy
2002: Cobblestone Runway
2003: Rarities
2004: Retriever (listen to: Imaginary Friends, From Now On, Whatever It Takes, Happiness)
2005: Destination Unknown
2006: Time Being (listen to: Hands Of Time, All In Good Time)
2008: Exit Strategy of the Soul (listen to: This Is How I Know, Brandy Alexander, Brighter Still)
2011: Long Player Late Bloomer
2013: Forever Endeavour
2015: Carousel One
2017: The Last Rider

I recommend to start with Retriever and Exit Strategy of the Soul.



Nik Kershaw - biography & discography

What do you know about Nik Kershaw?
Let's see... Wouldn't It Be Good, The Riddle, The 80s, One-Hit-Wonder. Anything else? No?

Let me help you: Nik Kershaw had huge success with his records The Riddle and Human Racing in the early 1980s, after that his album sales went down. After his less successful album Radio Musicola in 1986 and The Works in 1989 he disappeared as musician, but not as a songwriter. Chesney Hawkes' hit The One And Only, which he wrote and co-produced, went straight to number one in the UK in 1991.
In 1999 he decided to release music again under his own name. The records 15 Minutes, To Be Frank, You've Got To Laugh and the acoustic album No Frills is something I can recommend warmly.



Discography:

  • 1983 Human Racing
  • 1984 The Riddle
  • 1986 Radio Musicola
  • 1989 The Works
  • 1999 15 Minutes (listen to: Somebody Loves You, Your Brave Face, What Do You Think Of It So Far, 15 Minutes)
  • 2001 To Be Frank
  • 2005 Then And Now (Best Of)
  • 2006 You've Got to Laugh (listen to: Oh You Beautiful Thing, Loud Confident & Wrong)
  • 2010 No Frills
  • 2012 Ei8ht




OK Go!

Today's thesis: music video clips are NOT dead. You need a proof? OK Go!
(I highly recommend to watch it in full screen!)








Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hotel Lights - biography and discography

Have you ever heard of Darren Jessee? No? Maybe you heard of Ben Folds Five!
Darren was/is the drummer of Ben Folds Five. Already through Phil Collins we know that drummers can be successful as solo artists. And no, Darren does NOT sound like Phil at all. He also does not sound like Ben Folds Five.


After the split of Ben Folds Five not only Folds continued as solo artist, also Darren. His first self-titled album Hotel Lights was released in 2004. The even better Goodnightgoodmorning EP and his standout albums Firecracker People, Girl Graffiti and Get Your Hand in My Hand followed.
To describe his music: it's melancholic, intense and may be a good soundtrack for cold, windy autumn days.

Discography:
  • Hotel Lights (2004)
  • Goodnightgoodmorning EP (2006)
  • Firecracker People (2008)
  • Girl Graffiti (2011) 
  • Get Your Hand in My Hand (2016)

David Mead biography & discography

The singer-songwriter David Mead delivers crafted pop songs since 1999 with now six solo records and a fabulous EP.


His fifth album - Almost and Always - is an intense, fascinating collection of gems, the Wherever You Are EP and the latest record ("Dudes") are a perfect way to start.

David Mead surely deserves to be played in the radio and to have a permanent place in the charts  - but as you guess - he's not.

Discography:
  • The Luxury of Time (1999)
  • Mine and Yours (2001)
  • Indiana (2004)
  • Wherever You Are EP (2005)
  • Tangerine (2006)
  • Almost and Always (2008)
  • Dudes (2011)


Monday, April 2, 2018

Jason Falkner - Biography & Discography

There is this kind of musician who is writing, releasing records and performing his own music for more than two decades - but misses the aim that is chart success? The one who creates stunning music and don't get any recognition by public, but by his loyal fans? One of them is Jason Falkner.

To sum it up: he may be one of the most underrated musicians of the last two decades. What a pity!


Falkner started his musical career with a band called The Three O'Clock but soon he joined a new band of his former bandmate (Roger Joseph Manning Jr.) - Jellyfish. After the success of the first record (Bellybutton) he left the band and said he'll be never again a band member again (where he was clearly wrong).

His solo career started in 1996 with Presents Author Unknown, followed with the fabulous Can You Still Feel?. I recommend to listen to Can You Still Feel? from start to finish - there's no filler song, no low point.


2001 was a good year for loyal fans: two collection of rare songs and demos were released: Necessity: The 4-Track Years and Everyone Says It's On. Falkner also put a collection of Beatles songs, performed as lullabies, the title says it all: Bedtime With The Beatles (the follow up was released in 2008).


In 2002 a full album of unreleased material surfaced in the internet - it was called Eloquence, in 2004 he had the phenomenal Bliss Descending EP out.
His latest two records (I'm OK... You're OK and All Quiet On the Noise Floor) had only a release in Japan. Three years (THREE YEARS!) later I'm OK ... You're OK was finally out in the US and Europe. All Quiet On The Noise Floor didn't have this fortune.



Jason Falkner solo - discography:
  •  Presents Author Unknown (1996)
  •  Can You Still Feel? (1999)
  •  Necessity: The 4-Track Years (2001)
  •  Everyone Says It's On (2001)
  •  Bedtime With The Beatles (2001)
  •  Eloquence (2002) - never officially released!
  •  Bliss Descending (EP) (2004)
  •  I'm OK... You're OK (2007)
  •  Bedtime With The Beatles 2 (2008)
  •  All Quiet On the Noise Floor (2009)

Since 2009 Jason Falkner stopped his solo career and became producer, session musician and performed with several bands:

  • Jellyfish – Bellybutton (1990) 
  • The Greys - Ro Sham Bo (1994 - with Jon Brion- vocals, guitar)
  • Susanna Hoffs - Susanna Hoffs (1996 - bass, keyboards, guitar, percussion, organ, drums )
  • Brendan Benson - One Mississippi (1996 - co-writer) and Lapalco (2002 - co-produced, backing vocals)
  • Eric Matthews - The Lateness of the Hour (1997 - electric guitar, bass, piano, drums, co-producer
  • Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning (1999 - bass)
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell - Logan's Sanctuary (2000 - guitar, lead vocals, bass)
  • Air - 10 000 Hz Legend (2001 - bass, he also toured with the band), Talkie Walkie (2004 - bass)
  • TV Eyes (Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell) (2001)
  • Aimee Mann - Lost In Space (2002 - bass)
  • The Blondes - The Blondes (2002 - producer)
  • Travis - The Invisible Band (2001 - keyboards, backing vocals on the B-Side "Killer Queen")
  • Pugwash - Almanac (2002 - vox continental, vocals, guitar)
  • Lisa Loeb - The Way It Really Is (2004 - electric guitar, Wurlitzer piano, background vocals)
  • Magnet - Tourniquet (2005 - producer)
  • Ben Lee - Awake is the New Alseep (2005 - backing vocals)
  • Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005 - electric guitar, acoustic guitar)
  • The Nines - Calling Distance Stations (2006 - mixing, backing vocals)
  • Beck - Sea Change (2002 - guitar), The Information (2006 - acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, percussion, African drums, Moog bass, background vocals) and Modern Guilt (2008)
  • Anne Soldaat - In Another Life (2009) - producer, instruments, co-writer
  • Daniel Johnston - Is and Always Was (2009 - producer, engineer, mixing, guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals)
  • The Informers – Soundtrack (2009) 
  • Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas (2011 - bass, guitar)
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (2011 - guitar)
  • R. Stevie Moore - Make It Be (2017)
  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon? (2017)
  • Pugwash - Silverlake (2017 - producer)

Here is the famous, never seen the light of the release day album Eloquence in all his glory:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Jeff Litman - Crowded Hour EP

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jeff Litman latest release, Crowded Hour is out now! 



Litman was born in Minneapolis at the end of the 70s, playing piano by age six and guitar by ten. Listening to grunge and metal throughout the 90s, he eventually became hooked on the melody-driven classic rock of the Beatles and Beach Boys as well as the gritty melodic rock of Minneapolis bands like The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and the Jayhawks. After being tuned into Miles Davis by a guitar teacher, he dropped into the deep end of jazz, eventually earning a degree from Indiana University’s prestigious jazz program in 2002. After college, he followed his growing love of classical music to New York City, where he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, earning his masters degree in classical guitar in 2006.


Listen to the Crowded Hour EP here - and buy it (digital or CD):


Elise Trouw - Line Of Sight

Elise Trouw is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the US.

To tell her story with her own words: "I was born in Southern California to a South African father and a mother from New York in the very last year of the millennium. Raised on The Carpenters, Green Day, and 80s New Wave, I always looked forward to rides in my mom’s car where she played her “mixtapes", whether it was on a compilation CD or an ancient iPod. Inspiration struck when my six-year-old self first heard the haunting piano melody in “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I distinctly remember a five hour plane ride that consisted of that one song blasting repeatedly into my ears. So I begged my parents for piano lessons, and after they finally relented, they were then begging me to not practice at five in the morning every day. I did it anyway, and my love for piano just grew stronger. Life changed when my family bought the game Rockband for Xbox. After mastering the drums to "Dani California” on Expert Mode, I thought I was ready to rock (thank you, Chad Smith). It took a lot more to convince my parents I needed drum lessons, but I managed to wear them down with my obsessive talk and relentless requests. Luckily, at that time we were living on a 2-acre former chicken farm in the middle of nowhere, so the decibel change from piano to drums was irrelevant."


She adds: "A few months after finding my way around an actual drum kit, my parents realized that I was serious about drumming, so they supported my cause and enrolled me in School of Rock, where I learned how to play and perform with other young musicians. Being one of the youngest only pushed me harder to keep up with the older kids. From Mitch Mitchell's jazz-rock waltz on Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression" to the syncopated groove of Richard Bailey on Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow" to the funky feel of Tower of Power’s David Garibaldi, I wanted to learn it all. During my high school years, I started reading charts in band, and jazz became another component of my musicality. At the same time, I began writing both on piano and guitar, spending hours before, after, and even during school to fulfill my creative desires. Because of my dedication to music and growing following on social media, I graduated early to commit fully to music and the creation of my first album."

"People ask me "What genre is your music?” With songs in 5/4 and 7/4, chords that you'd normally find in The Real Book next to "Take Five,”and influences like Radiohead, The Police, and Steely Dan, I'm really not sure what box I fit into- I’ll leave that up to you."

Her new single "Line of Sight" is out now. It has become an astonishing good, fresh, uncommon song. And it will get stuck in your head for a long time:

 

Elise did also a beautiful cover of the Getz & Gilberto classic "Girl from Ipanema":


Listen also to her stunning first record "Unraveling" here:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Roger Joseph Manning Jr - Glamping EP & Reissues

Most of you may know Roger Joseph Manning Jr from Jellyfish, but the man had also 2 fabulous solo records: Land Of Pure Imagination (it had a slightly different release in Japan with 3 different tracks and was called Solid State Warrior) in 2006 and Catnip Dynamite in 2008.

Since then it was very quiet regarding new records - until now!


The is a new campaign on Pledgemusic for his complete musical work:
A new four track EP called Glamping (digital and CD release in May 2018, vinyl later), reissues of his first two records (CD & colored vinyl), signed stuff, lyric sheets, art books, clothing, Skype interviews, writing birthday songs and much more.