FreeThinker – Pineapple Sticknpoke

freethinkerSong of the Day

“Pineapple Sticknpoke” by FreeThinker has a classic feel and sound that will be tattooed on your brain after the first listen. Or, in my case, after the first infinity listens. I’ve been blasting it over and over all afternoon, much to the chagrin of the cats.

“Pineapple Sticknpoke” has a beautiful, original melody over simple chord progressions that are instantly familiar. The star of the show is the voice of Molly Giessing. At this point, being a Certified Music Journalist, I am supposed to insert an Obscure Reference, either comparing Molly’s voice to that of someone of whom you’ve never heard, or comparing a certain element of her singing to that of a famous person of whom she sounds nothing like. I’ll just say that, when I heard “Pineapple Sticknpoke,” I thought Erika Wennerstrom, Joan Jett, and Brittany Howard. That’s good company, but it’s an injustice since Molly Giessing’s singing is unique, full of abandon and excitement that will suck you in and make you smile..

FreeThinker, based in St. Louis, is Molly Giessing (vocals, guitar, synth), Cody Diehl (drums), Elijah Burns-Wilton (bass and synth), and Chris Murphy (guitar). “Pineapple Sticknpoke” is from their third LP, Peaches ‘n Cream Pt. 1, released in August 2017. It seems I’m a bit late to the party, having just discovered FreeThinker today. So sue me. Their sound has been described as “Motown psychedelic rock,” but I think the band’s soulfulness and power are rooted farther south, in Muscle Shoals. Among their influences, they list Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, and The Strokes.

Peaches ‘n Cream Pt. 1 is available on Bandcamp. You can support deserving independent musicians like FreeThinker by listening to their songs and downloading your favorites. All albums and singles can be streamed on the band’s Soundcloud page.

Be sure to visit FreeThinker’s web site, and follow the band on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.


The Coffin Fits – In the End

coffinfitsSong of the Day

“In the End” by The Coffin Fits will leave you scratching your head – or whatever body part it is you scratch in these situations – and asking, “What the heck is this?” We have surfy guitars, a blasting Hammond B-3ish organ, a shoegazey vocal, punky energy, and a lyric that could have been lifted from a country-western torch song. It’s a great mess and that’s what makes “In the End” a great song.

The Coffin Fits are (is?) based in Austin, Texas, where the lines that divide genres were rubbed out many years ago. Willie Nelson, a traditional country crooner, became a rock star, Stevie Ray Vaughn joined David Bowie’s band, and hipster college students dance to German polkas. The Coffin Fits fit right in. The band self-describes as “a garage band whose songs spread out across a variety of genres from surf and psychedelic, to punk and folk rock.” Sounds about right. I’ll bet this is a great live band. Hearing the final guitar solo on “In the End” would be worth the entire cover charge.

“In the End” is from The Coffin Fits’ new album, Death and Texas, released March 17. The album, and six other albums by The Coffin Fits, are available on the group’s Bandcamp page. You can support deserving independent artists like The Coffin Fits by listening to their songs and downloading a few of your favorites. Or download the entire album! And be sure to follow The Coffin Fits on Facebook.


Mike Herz – The Chain

mikeherzSong of the Day

Last night we had the pleasure of seeing Mike Herz at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York. Mike performed most songs with a band, and the show was recorded for a future live album.

Our review of Mike’s Overgrown album was one of our first posts way back in November, 2013. In that far distant time we observed that Mike Herz was not a daydreamer, but a man chasing a dream.

The daydreamer sits at a desk pushing numbers around and thinking it would be really cool to sing with Stevie Nicks. He accomplishes his goal several times each day as he toils down the freeway on his commute, singing along to the Fleetwood Mac songs that seemingly comprise the entire playlist of 93.7 The Arrow. And yet, thirty years later, all he has to show for his effort is thirty extra pounds on his waistline, a feat matched by Stevie Nicks.

Mike Herz, the man chasing his dream, grabs the best available singer and makes a run for it. Thirty years later he may not have made it much beyond the county line. But at least he gave it a damn good try and got as far as possible within the allotted time.

We are happy to report that, in a little more than four years, Mike has made it considerably farther than the county line.

“The Chain” was, for me, the highlight of an amazing show. This is a first-degree tearjerker, displaying Mike’s has ability to translate his own experiences into songs that address universal human conditions. Love, life, and loss are themes that every songwriter relies on. But “The Chain” tells us of the inherent inevitability of that loss, and exposes us to the fear that we can do nothing to prevent it.

It has been a privilege to see and hear Mike’s musical growth and evolution. While he always had the words, the singing, the song structure, the overall musicianship have improved greatly since Overgrown. I’m looking forward to the next album, and to seeing how far beyond the county line Mike Herz will get in the next thirty years.

Mike’s music is available for download on his Bandcamp page. Be sure to visit his website, and follow him on Facebook, and Twitter.


River Fury – Jewels of the City

jewelsofthecitySong of the Day

It’s Friday, time to get the weekend started. You’ll need some good tunes to get through the next few days, which is obviously why you came to Reverb Raccoon: to find the best new music from independent musicians. Today’s feature comes to us from London, a nice place to enjoy a steak and kidney pie washed down with a pint of room temperature ale. It’s also a nice place to discover new music like “Jewels of the City” by River Fury.

“Jewels of the City” has an interesting 80′s-pop-meets-indie-rock feel. The echoing vocal harmonies – with plenty of overdubs – give the track a sheen over the grittier guitar and rhythm track. It’s an adventurous, compact glow of energy coming in at less than three minutes and ending with a jazzy piano.

“Jewels of the City” is the first single from River Fury’s debut album, Five Year Plan, due to arrive in April. River Fury is Patric Nutton (vox/guitars), Dan Howe (vox/guitars), Callum Hayes (bass/vox), and Andrew Gallop (drums). On their Bandcamp page, they describe themselves as “London based (but partly Melbourne grown),” and list as their influences bands as diverse as The Cure, Joy Division, and Queens of the Stone Age.

We “met” guitarist Dan Howe a couple of weeks ago (through emails) when we featured “Winter Seasons In My Mind” by Blue Collar Romantics. Dan is the principal songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Blue Collar Romantics, with Callum Hayes contributing backing vox in the studio. Dan and Callum were previously in Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a band with a more rootsish, Southern American sound than River Fury.

“Jewels of the City” is available for download on River Fury’s Bandcamp page, as well as on all major streaming sites including Soundcloud. Unlike many of the artists we write about, who rarely surface from the bedroom in their mom’s basement, River Fury makes themselves easy to find. You can visit their website, and you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 Bonus Track: “Heart of Mine,” by Sweetheart of the Rodeo, from 2013.


NAH… – Summer’s Falling

nahSong of the Day

Today we are treated to a jangly spoonful of pure twee pop. For those of you who just said “What’s twee?”, don’t worry. Just listen to the song…

“Summer’s Falling” has everything that has been going into great pop songs since the day Phil Spector decided to write a two-minutes-forty symphony for the AM car radio: simple, undistorted guitars, a melody that stays with you, and enough hooks to make you hit the replay button as soon as the track runs out. For today’s Obscure Reference, I’ll say that “Summer’s Falling” brings to mind True Hallucinations-era Ex Cops, a boy-girl band featuring Brian Harding and Denmark’s Amalie Bruun.

“Summer’s Falling is the first single from the same-named four-song EP set for release March 30. NAH…, based in Amsterdam, describes itself (themselves?) as a “Twee Pop project of Sebastian Voss and Estella Rosa.” Estella sings while Sebastian provides vocals, instruments, and programming. I can’t tell you anything definitive about Sebastian, other than that he has an obvious feel for creating great pop. Estella is the primary writer at FadeawayRadiate, a blog covering indie musicians (think Reverb Raccoon, only cool). Kenji Kenji, who belongs to pretty much every band in Europe,  lends an understated vocal to ”Summer’s Falling.”

On their Facebook page, the band describes its origin: “As we were both working on a Sophistipop cover compilation for the Sophistipop Lounge, Sebastian needed some vocals on a jangly track that I rather liked….. A few months later Nah… was born. The name came to Sebastian in a dream….” NAH… may have an identity problem, at least in the US. There are at least two bands and a rapper running around calling themselves Nah. Be sure to look for the version with the ellipsis.

You can support deserving independent musicians like NAH… by visiting their Bandcamp page, giving their songs a listen, and downloading your favorites. Or preorder all four tracks!

Bonus Track: “No Other,” a single by The Golden Eaves featuring Kenji on vocals and guitar. Nice!


Jacob Wichert – In the Weeds

jacobwichertSong of the Day

Today’s feature comes to us from Omaha, Nebraska, the city that gave us the bobby pin, the Reuben sandwich, and the Top 40 radio format. Our song of the day won’t make the Top 40 unless they start letting me make the list. But that’s why you’re here: to discover the gems of sound on the musical shelf tucked between the Danelectro guitar and your brother’s ocarina.

“In the Weeds,” by Jacob Wichert, is an easy, folky breeze of personal insight. If you’re looking for something to kick you in the balls, well, this isn’t it. But there’s an intriguing subtlety here. The song has a great, though understated, melody, with a nice acoustic guitar hook and lyrics to which you should listen with both ears. I’ve been listening to this song for a week now, and realized that it had to be the Song of the Day when I found myself singing it in the car.

I couldn’t find anything definite about Jacob Wichert. He may be the owner of Amateur Coffee. Or maybe not. If not, enjoy the free advertising. Whoever he is, there is some serious singer-songwriter talent at work here. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.

“In the Weeds” is from a three-song EP entitled Untitled. The Bandcamp notes tell us that the tracks were “recorded in a home studio and at the 402 Arts Collective.” According to their website, “The 402 Arts Collective is a vibrant network of artists who are committed to impacting the culture and serving the Omaha, Nebraska community… The 402 Arts Collective seeks to bring the relational mentoring approach to arts education by creating venues for real artists to give back to their community.” Matt Ehlinger, who played guitar on “In the Weeds,” is a guitar instructor at the collective, while drummer Kyle Moeller is a percussion instructor.

The Untitled EP is available on Jacob Wichert’s Bandcamp page. You can support deserving independent musicians like Jacob by listening to their tracks and downloading a few of your favorites. Or all of them!

Update: It turns out that Jacob Wichert is the owner of Amateur Coffee. Be sure to stop in for a cup the next time you’re in Omaha. And if you can’t get to Omaha, visit their website, and follow Amateur Coffee on Facebook and Instagram.