Long Lost Suns – Wander On

Long Lost Suns – Wander On
SONG OF THE DAY

Long Lost Suns’ “Wander On” reminds us that sometimes you have to saddle up and ride off into the smog-hazed mid-morning sun, The Man With No Name, bags of gold across your saddle or like Eli Wallach, running on foot with your hands bound behind you and screaming at the top of your lungs, the critical task being to put significant distance between you and your Previous Relationship, that soon-to-be-maggot-ridden corpse of Lee Van Cleef that left you scarred and with a bad case of indigestion, or that dead horse you’ve been beating for the entire third reel in the oft-mistaken belief that inflicting pain on an entity that ceased to feel multiple deaths ago will miraculously result in Resurrection, your relationship a veritably rom-com-worthy Lazarus.

“Wander On” opens with a dose of psychedelic shimmer, then gets down to the business of blending 60’s proto-punk with melodic guitars and a Motownish sense of song construction. The star of the show is the interplay between the lead voice and the lead guitar, as the guitar lines weave effortlessly from countermelody to solo and back. Listen for the transition from verse to chorus as “Wander On” glides from bluesy riff to an easy breeze of classic pop.

As my two longtime readers, Diann and Fluffy, are fully aware, the paragraph below the Bandcamp Thingy is reserved for the Obscure Reference, and I’m not about to mess with a formula that has made Reverb Raccoon the most-read music blog in the area immediately surrounding my router, assuming Fluffy isn’t currently napping under the bed. “Wander On” has obvious antecedents in groups such as The Animals, who combined 60’s pop with a punkish attitude and swagger, with the aforementioned verse-chorus seamless weld recalling “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.” I’ll obscurify the mix by tossing in the Greenhornes’ “There Is An End,” with a background-haunting guitar riff and stark vocal that “Wander On” summons from the back left corner of the iPod’s flash memory.

Long Lost Suns is Matt Jones and Danny Falletta and maybe a couple of other guys if one believes the pictures. The San Diego-based band describes itself as “a psychedelic skate rock band” and their music as “rock and roll and lover’s synth psychedalia [sic, dude!]” And Lover’s Synth would be a great name for a band. “Wander On” is from their new six-song EP, Anebria Demo. Demo or not, these are high-quality songs. The question was not whether a song of the day could be extracted from the lot, but which one to choose. Each track received serious consideration, with “Wander On” being my ultimate favorite with its timeless blending of musical elements.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Long Lost Suns by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow Long Lost Suns on Facebook and Instagram.

theCatherines – How Come You Think Everybody Likes You?

theCatherines – How Come You Think Everybody Likes You?
SONG OF THE DAY

As this century careens toward the close of its second decade, we find ourselves existing in an existential wonderland of constant connectivity, wired together by wireless devices that afford us ample opportunities for seeking and receiving the external validation that has fueled human progress since the day Thag Jones killed a saber-toothed tiger then drew a picture of it on the wall of his cave and invited his friends to come by and scratch little heart shapes into the rock below his drawing. Many millenniums later, whenever I feel unloved I just post a photo of my cat on Instagram then sit back and watch the Likes roll in like Hurricane Harvey on an August afternoon. I pity the pre-smartphone dark ages, when popularity was speculative, a subject of argument in which, without a computer-counted and digitally-displayed number of Friends, Followers, Connections, Likes, and Upvotes to back your claim of acclaim, one might be asked, “How Come You Think Everybody Likes You?”

theCatherines inquire of our perception by the world at large with wonderfully jangly guitars and understated harmonies. The retro twee vibe is strong in this one, pure pop but with an unfinished bit of fuzz around the edges. As sweet as the sound is, theCatherines manage to slip in a lyric that made me LOL and would have earned a Like if an outline of a heart was available on Bandcamp:

Yeah I totally despise you my dear!

I suppose the exclamation point transforms the line from an insult into a wry wink, with the rules of interaction now edited by Elaine Benes and not Jake Jarmel, as Hello! means “Hi” and the unexclaimed Hello means “No soup for you!”

As the two regular readers of my blog know (Hi, Diann! Hi, Fluffy!), the paragraph following the Bandcamp thingy is reserved for the Obscure Reference. I won’t have to search through my entire iTunes library tonight, divining for that song with the melody that sounds like a snatch of the song of the day’s second line, because theCatherines were kind enough to supply their own Obscure Reference: “Initial idea was to rip off first bar of ‘Velocity Girl’ [Primal Scream] and then to proceed to the crazy guitar work of ‘Have I the Right’ [The Honeycombs] 😀 add some fuzz and jangle and angelic voices and there you are!” Thanks, folks, but I’m not sure this is obscure enough for my two discerning readers. So I’ll add that theCatherines bring to mind Golden Teardrops and NAH…, a pair of duos with releases available from Emma’s House Records.

theCatherines are Heiko Schneider (music, words, playing, and singing) and Sandra Ost (singing). They describe themselves as a “studio project from Hamburg, Germany, with one simple dogma: every song-recording should take no longer than one (sometimes two :-0) evening(s) of joy, wine and cigs… ;-).” Sounds like an air-tight business plan. “How Come You Think Everybody Likes You?” is  theCatherines’ third single following “I Was Struggling with Your Magic Biscuit Tin (TheNearPerfectPitch​-​Incident)” and “Every Time You Say It’s Okay I Know it is Okay,” which Fluffy reviewed in June. There is no truth to the rumor that theCatherines’ next song title will be the entirety of War and Peace.

You can support deserving independent musicians like theCatherines by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow theCatherines on Facebook and Instagram.

Gaffa Tape Sandy – Meat Head

Gaffa Tape Sandy – Meat Head
SONG OF THE DAY

Okay guys, let’s hear it for our man Sir Christopher Chope! Good ol’ Chris, who’s stalked this planet for over seven decades, blocked a UK bill that would have criminalized upskirting by shouting “Object!” during the bill’s second reading in the House of Commons. Now I’m hardly an expert on How a Bill Becomes a Law in my own country, much less in the inscrutable lands of the Old World, but if that was all it took to block a bill here our government wouldn’t get anything done. Not that they do anything worthwhile as it is, but to kill a proposed law our Senators and Congressmen are first required make several appearances on CNN and on the Sunday morning chat shows in order to cast personal aspersions on the bill’s sponsors. Only when a sufficient level of vindictiveness has been attained can the bill be downvoted.

To justify his blockage Sir Chris said, “The government has been hijacking time that is rightfully that of backbenchers. This is about who controls the House of Commons on Fridays and that’s where I am coming from.” I totally get where he’s coming from. Who wants to talk about taking photos of knickers on a perfectly good Friday afternoon? That sort of talk is reserved for Saturdays while watching Match of the Day. The #2 FAQ on the MOTD website: “Why is my team always on last?”

Gaffa Tape Sandy’s new single, “Meat Head,” addresses the guy-type behavior that makes folks like Sir Chris such endearing creatures or, to put it less satirically in Gaffa Tape Sandy’s own words, “‘Meat Head’ was written as an attack on the type of mind-sets people harbour which involve believing that they somehow own or have the right to the body of another person.” Apparently, this common-sense message hasn’t been easy to deliver. The digital release of “Meat Head” was almost delayed when “a male member of staff at the distributor” marked the cover art by Emily Allen (that fairly innocuous picture up at the top) as “nudity/pornography.” I can’t make this shit up, folks. And – huh-huh-huh – you said, “Male member.”

Gaffa Tape Sandy, based in Bury St Edmunds, an English village with charming pictures on Google, is Kim Jarvis (vocals, guitar), Catherine Lindley-Neilson (vocals, bass), and Robin Francis (drums, percussion). The band self-describes as a “three-piece garage rock band, spewing out glorified noise for your amusement only… Soft but abrasive, like a silk shirt with a sandpaper lining.” The initial release of “Meat Head” took place back in June; it is now available as a double-A side 7″ single, along with “Beehive,” from Antigen Records.

You can support deserving musicians like Gaffa Tape Sandy by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow Gaffa Tape Sandy on their website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And check out other releases from Antigen Records on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Epilogue: A new upskirting bill is now wending it’s way through the UK system, with passage imminent. The revised bill also makes it a crime to upskirt a man wearing a kilt. Well, thank God for that.

See The Eye – Shimmer

See The Eye – Shimmer
SONG OF THE DAY

See The Eye’s “Shimmer” is a shimmering source of shoegazey nugazey dream pop, a pulsating pile of echoing guitars and energetic drums that bounces off the back wall and wraps itself around your head like an elastic aural mirror that reflects and distorts this wall of sound, a veritable suite of reverby riffs and softly executed vocals. Listen to “Shimmer” while sampling a Hopworks Honey Lager from an unchilled unstemmed wineglass that you bought years ago and contemplating how those years were a lifetime that brought you to this day when you can finally say “We are.”

“Shimmer” begins innocently enough, with an acoustic guitar that fools you into believing that you’ve stumbled into a folky coffee house where the Mac Books outnumber the cargo shorts. And you can believe that for all of seventeen seconds, until the hi-hat hits and the guitars open up along the firing line. Far from being an excuse to plug in the delay pedal, “Shimmer” is a beautifully melodic track featuring multiple movements and ever-shifting textures. The effect is hypnotic and surprisingly danceable.

See The Eye is based in Jakarta, Indonesia, a pleasant place that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times. The band is Harry Zulhazs (lead guitar, vocals), Danny Yuwanda (rhythm guitar, vocals), Abee Kusmara (bass, vocals), and Arya Adita (drums, percussion). “Shimmer” is from their six-song EP, titled EP, released earlier this year. The EP includes “Social Bribe,” an excellent single released in 2016 featuring a stunning lead vocal by Yudith. EP is available from Bombay Records, which also carries Seventeen Years Old and Berlin Wall, a band we featured in July.

You can support deserving musicians like See The Eye by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow See The Eye on FacebookInstagram, TwitterYouTube, and Soundcloud.

And check out more releases from Bombay Records on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.

Jack Tate and The Satisfactions – Lose Your Mind

Jack Tate and The Satisfactions – Lose Your Mind
SONG OF THE DAY

As our world accelerates towards Idiocracy like a Mustang GTO on a beer-and-cigarettes run to the 7-11 at 10:59, it is difficult to differentiate Sanity from Insanity and losing your mind becomes not a worry but a forgone conclusion that one may as well embrace because it’s, you know, going to happen someday. The soundtrack playing behind our mental decline should be Jack Tate and The Satisfactions’ “Lose Your Mind,” a high-energy cosmic buzz of excellently executed guitar riffs and edgy vocals ricocheting off the mentally permeable walls of 60’s psychedelia. Listen to “Lose Your Mind” while sipping an apricot cider smuggled out of Portland and contemplating whether anyone will notice when your mind slips over the edge or perhaps whether it’s already plunged into the chasm and you haven’t notice but everyone else has.

“Lose Your Mind” is all about guitars, one layered beneath the next, each presenting a distinct reverby riff that could carry the track. Piled together the guitars create a wall of sound that says, “Hey, put down whatever it is you’re picking up and listen to this.” But the true North Star of “Lose Your Mind” is the lead vocal that careens through the track with an abandon rarely seen in these End Times when being cool means you’ve purchased a better Fortnite dance than the loser in the next cubicle whose only redeemable quantity is his mastery of Facebook.

Longtime readers of this massive tome know that the paragraph following the Bandcamp thingy is reserved for the Obscure Reference, in which we attempt to demonstrate that all of those songs of the 60’s that we’ve stored in our brain have not yet been displaced by reruns of The Office (American version) and W1A (brilliant, yes, no, very good). The obvious comparison is to the 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me” owing to the vocal style, energy, and subject matter of “Lose Your Mind” compared to the fate of Roky Erickson. I feel that’s not quite obscure enough for both of my readers (if we count the cat who, now that I think about it, perhaps should be counted nine times). Well, you and the cat are just going to have to settle for “You’re Gonna Miss Me” because I have to be somewhere in thirty minutes and I’m not going to go through every song in my library trying to find the source of that third guitar riff that sounds kinda like “Rebel Rouser.”

“Lose Your Mind” is from Jack Tate and The Satisfactions new eponymous 13-song LP. And if I ever write eponymous again, please send a cargo shorts-wearing hipster to my house with instructions to rip that coveted Music Press card from the hatband of my Fedora. I don’t know much about this band, though I have a feeling that I should. I know they play live dates, and I know Jack Tate is an excellent musician. He has a video on Instagram playing Debussy’s “Arabesque No.1.” What? No, not on the spoons, on a piano. The album has the feel of a one-guy-plays-all-the-instruments project though I’m probably wrong. At any rate, it’s a good album and you should listen to it.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Jake Tate and The Satisfactions by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow Jack Tate and The Satisfactions om Facebook and Instagram.

Uncle Uncle – Broadband, Hifi, Now!

Uncle Uncle – Broadband, Hifi, Now!
SONG OF THE DAY

Uncle Uncle’s “Broadband, Hifi, Now!” reminds us that nothing can make you feel more disconnected than being connected, the latest iPhone and unlimited data serving only to display with unwavering certainty that you have no DM’s on any social media platform. If the only nourishment our souls required was that little red dot below the heart in the lower right corner of your screen, we would all feed Mark Zuckerberg a steady diet of Cat Pictures and keep that dot lit up like a reindeer’s nose 24/7. But if each of Justin Beiber’s 104,000,000 followers likes the Tweet about the strange person on the bus that you’ve been composing in your head for the past week, it will not balance the scale when the opposite beam supports the knowledge that Al Gore invented the internet in order to provide someone with an extraordinarily effective means of ignoring you.

“Broadband, Hifi, Now!” is a folky bluesy palette of warm colors painted over spare trees, a beautiful slide guitar flowing before a backing rhythm with open spaces of air that the singer could fill but doesn’t, the brief phrases echoing away into the background. The effect is haunting, but with a hint of a nostalgic smile out on the edge of the sound.

Uncle Uncle is Kevin Cappon (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Christian Edstrom (guitar, slide guitar), and Dominick Burnham (drums, bass, synthesizer, backing vocals). The band self-describes as “a folk rock band putting sounds and words to observations on everyday existence.” The group is based in Santa Barbara, California, where it was born in a garage.

“Broadband, Hifi, Now!” is Uncle Uncle’s latest release, following their three-song EP, Say It. Last month we featured “Island 73,” from Say It, a beautifully simple song with soft layers of guitars swirling beneath a timeless voice. There is an unforced naturalness to Uncle Uncle’s music, a product of good songwriting and musicians who instinctively know how to play together as a single instrument. Extra credit to Dominick Burnham for pulling double-duty as Producer, and doing it very well. You don’t get this sound by crowding three guys into a bedroom and sticking a microphone in the middle, which now that I type it sounds rather odd.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Uncle Uncle by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. There’s only four of them, so you might as well buy the whole lot (they’re all good). And be sure to follow Uncle Uncle on Facebook and Instagram.