I completely stumbled onto Alexa Ray Joel, and liked what I was hearing, before it started to dawn on me exactly *who* I was hearing. I have a feeling that this is the kind of thing she would prefer from new fans.
This is the first single from her second album, her first featured her own artwork, and sampled herwide range from folk/country to alt-pop, and into jazz. This track would sit gingerly in the pop-jazz area. Reminiscient of Corrine Bailey Rae and Billie Holiday, The writing has strong hooks and the arrangements are balanced.
As stated above, I got into the track for a while before finding out more about who she is. The tipoff to some of you would have been the Joel surname. She’s the daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.
Last week, I found Earthbound when looking for some funky soul music after seeing a local soul band that really struck me (another post in the making). Earthbound has a really comfortable feel. The percussion never feels rushed, and there is a sense of place and balance between the brass and the percussion. Kira’s lyrics are always upbeat and mature, and her voice is both energetic and calming. I don’t think they will be coming to Atlanta any time soon, as they are base in Canada… pity.
Besides hearing the full track of “Find Yourself” featured here, be sure to check out the tracks “Open Up Your Arms” and “Letting Go”. At the time of this writing, both albums are still free. Of course, as tracks become more popular on Amie Street, the price goes up, so get up on it!
This week, I discovered a band called the Dirty Epics from Dublin. They have an interesting alt-punk and ska sound, and from the videos, seem to put on quite a live show. The issue that I have with them is that they currently only have *ONE* track up at their Amie Street page. To see or hear much else, you will have to go trolling places like MySpace page. Anyway, check them out!
Some of you who have been around for a while, or have been on road trips with me will see this selection and might wonder ‘whassupwiddat?’. I have three points on that, which I’ll get into after an overview for the less initiated.
While we all tend to be music snobs after years of drilling down into many bands and b-sides, exploring the dark inner circles of the old banged-up record store, and raiding estate sale closets for obscure genres that we’d never have found on our own, I have a well-voiced music snob pet peeve for remakes. This is the point where those who have heard my arguments on them have their eyes glaze over, so I’ll put the full arguments on parade in another post.
My reasons for choosing a cover song to be highlighted this week? First, it’s a true cover. The lyrics are blissfully un-messed-with, the notation remains, but the style has been conformed to the artist. When this is done correctly, it can often lend whole new meanings to the same song or arrangement. Second, It’s K’s birthday, and I felt that a girlband that rocks, and that breaks out with intense energy and a fresh outlook was just perfect to celebrate her big 7th. Third, The other song by Odd Girl Out that I was going to use really kicks in at about 27 seconds, so the demo clip you get here would not do it justice.
Odd Girl Out is a post-punk pop all-girl band from Baltimore who sound a lot like Joan Jett or Letters to Cleo. I got the cover of the Bangles’ Eternal Flame on spotlight here as a dedication for the people in our lives who can light up our whole day just by saying our name.
When you guys finish with your personal flashbacks to big hair, DeLoreans, and jokes about Regan’s memory lapses, Hit the “More From This Artist” button to hear clips of some of their other tracks, including a really kicking “Lost in Translation”, a playful nudge at home in “Smalltimore”, and even an ode to “MySpace”.
This week, I wanted to draw some attention to a band called Red Guitar, a band from Kansas City with a folksy rock sound and songwriting combination that makes me think of Tom Petty. They have also been compared to The Fray, Ryan Adams, and Coldplay. Red Guitar is another one of those bands I have found on Amie Street where I purchase all their music, and *almost* feature them for a few weeks in a row, then wait in a vain attempt to choose a single song to highlight. Be sure to listen to “Angel Across The State Line” and “Jump Out On The Water”.
This track, “Let’s Go Out,” is about feeding wanderlust as both an activity for both searching your own soul and for exploring relationships with your travelling companions.
Today, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is at 3.50, and traveling is a headache. Spring is in full bloom, and schools are out in another month. It’s more difficult and expensive to get out and roam, but that spirit is as important as it ever was.
This week, I found a band called Porchsleeper. They don’t have much in the way of detail on AmieStreet, but they are out of Ann Arbor, MI. The “Stinkeye” track I have in the player here really kicks, and has a pop-punk feel to it that reminds me of The Refreshments. Be sure to check out the “Bulletproof” track while you are here.
I found a lot of good female vocalists this past week on AmieStreet. One of these was Karma Lively, who has “a hundred songs of peace and war,” is from “North to the Future” Alaska. Besides having a light, fun acoustic sound, and having something to say with her lyrics, She’s donating all of her music sales for the year on AmieStreet to charity. She has a sound that is somewhere in the neighborhood of The Cranberries, Jewel, and Sia.
It looks like she’s laying down all of the instrument tracks herself, which always gains a lot of points with me.
The band I discovered this week is West Side Winders. Amie Street has done some UI updates on the site, especially in the pop-up player, and in some other account-related updates. The West Side Winders are from the Chicagoland area, but tour all over the eastern midwest and New England area. I have a bit of a weakness for rockabilly and surf guitar, and I haven’t highlighted much of those genres here in quite a while. The surf rock guitars and the rockabilly lyrics make me want to paint flames on the hood of the jalopy, and go and find someplace to look surly…. This is a good-times song about wanting to go to a particular diner to hang out with everyone because there’s a girl who works there that you are interested in.