theCatherines – If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line

theCatherines – If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line

Eli: I’m not in love with you any more.
Margot: I didn’t know you ever were.
Eli: Let’s not make this any more difficult than it already is.
Margot: OK.
Eli: OK, what?
Margot: OK, I’m not in love with you either.
— The Royal Tenenbaums

Breakups are easy in the movies, that once-celluloid Neverland where couples part bearing wistful half smiles and Meet Cute five years later without bitterness or the long-held desire to kick the other party in a rather painful place. theCatherines’ latest life lesson is a love letter to that lover who wouldn’t leave, that special someone who hates you yet hates to break up, who refuses to get out of the line and let you get on with your life, sending your relationship into that limbo of the Undead where it drifts unhelmed like the Mary Celeste, a ghost ship with no life boat and the oakum leaking just slowly enough to let you foresee your fate long before the gunnels are awash and the rats swarm out of the hold and up the ironically-named ratlines. It all sounds very dark until you throw in a pile of jangly guitars and harmonies, which is why we all end up there someday, lured in by a Sweet Siren Sound then boiled alive slowly like the proverbial frog in the pot of water.

theCatherines have a My Sharonian knack for taking a simple idea and transforming it into the wonderfully witty pop that the world needs for daily sustenance. Every song does not need to be “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” aka Side 1 of Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes. Sometimes, as my Nana used to say, “All you need is a good pop song” which my Nana never said as her idea of Good Music was “Bringing in the Sheaves” performed without accompaniment after the guy who led the singing got kicked out for using a pitch pipe. But I’m sure she would have enjoyed “If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line” by theCatherines.

theCatherines are Heiko Schneider and Sandra Ost of Hamburg, Germany. Describing the making of “If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line,” they tell us: “So we were kinda in a powerpoppy mood last nite… writing and recording so fast we sang some ad-libbed nonsensical silly English… but it sounded good so we let it stay.” The result immediately brought to mind “Windy” by The Association but backed by Billy Bremner on guitar, and of course the line Honest i do and i cherish you all is a hidden clue that they had been listening to The Association: Greatest Hits. Right?

“If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line” marks the twenty-second single by theCatherines, more than enough for an excellent album. And before you reach for the email link (which doesn’t work, anyway), I counted “Every time you say it’s okay I know it is okay / Yes you’re beautiful to look at but so ugly inside” as two releases. All were recorded “with one simple dogma: every song-recording should take no longer than one (sometimes two :-0 now even three) evening(s) of joy, wine and cigs… ;-)” This marks the fourth time we have featured theCatherines in these virtual pages, which ties them with Steven Lipsticks and Mike Herz for Most Appearances in a Music Blog Named for a North American Mammal. And in case you missed it, here is a Bonus Song of the Day from theCatherines, “Sorry, But Your Suicide Note Is Really Funny.”

You can support timelessly iridescent 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.

LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike – BBB

bbbLittleBoyBigHeadOnBike is appearing Sunday evening, October 14, at the Bayou Lights Bookstore in Houston, TX. Or he may be across the street in the Art Yard. We aren’t really sure at this point and neither was the guy we spoke with in the bookstore.

Hi. This is Fluffy. The cat. The Food Guy is busy shoveling mulch out of the compost pile to put in a flower bed, so I am going to help him by writing his log post. A lot of the compost came from my litter box, so I guess I’ve contributed to that project. When I’ve written log posts before, the Food Guy helped me find a song to write about. This time I went on Bandcramp and found a song all by myself. The song I am going to write about is “BBB” by LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike. That name is a lot for a cat to type, so the Food Guy came in and showed me how to copy and paste.

“BBB” is the kind of music cats like, slow and quiet like it’s trying to sneak up on a mouse. The song starts with a guitar. The Food Guy plays a guitar but this one sounds better than when he plays his, so it must be more expensive. Then a piano plays some of the same notes as the guitar and then somebody sings and it kind of sounds the same as what the guitar and piano played, only with more notes. The Food Guy said LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike was “introducing a theme” and he seemed to think it was a good thing to do. Then the piano comes back and plays some different notes and then LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike sings something similar so I guess he was doing that “theme” thing again. The Food Guy said whoever wrote the song knows what he is doing. I would hope so. It would be bad if someone who didn’t know what they were doing wrote a song and put it on the Winternet.

On Bandcramp it says that the person who sings and writes the songs is named Will Orchard and he is from Rhode Island. I’ve never been on an island. I think it would be fun if there were no dogs on the island. Dogs are terrible music reviewers because they like everything. You can go on Facebook and write “my kid fell out of a tree and broke his arm” and a dog will “Like” it.

“BBB” is from an ablum called BIG BLUE BUTTERFLIES so I guess that is what “BBB” stands for. What’s that? Oh, album. The album will be released in June. I asked the Food Guy what “released” means and he said there will be more songs to listen to. I hope in June I can find another song by LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike to write a log post about.

LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike has released 99 ab – I mean, albums and BIG BLUE BUTTERFLIES will be number 100. You can listen to all of them on LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike’s Bandcramp page and you can buy the songs that you like. The Food Guy paid $1.29 for “BBB” which isn’t very much money. I found more than that under the bed the last time I crawled under there looking for my ball of green yarn.  The Food Guy likes to say that he is “supporting independent musicians.” I’m not sure how much support you can buy for $1.29.  Maybe millions of people will read this log post and they will all buy songs from LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike.

There are a lot of ways to find LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike on the Winternet. He has a web site, and a Facebook page, and a Twitter thing, and he has videos on YouTube, and songs on Soundcloud and Spotify.

OK that’s my log post. I hope you like it and not the way a dog would like it. Now I’m going to put it on the Winternet.


YUTZY – Love

YUTZY – Love

YUTZY’s “Love” is a magnificent spiritual but not religious wall of sound and voices, a reminder that you cannot outrun love, nor can you purge it from your system once it takes possession of your soul, as it mutates to become a permanent fixture in your head and heart that lives on long after the relationship that birthed it has returned to dust and ashes. It may manifest itself as the haunting “what if?” forever tied to the memory of the one lost at sixteen, or it may lie dormant behind your liver for fifty-seven years before subsuming you with feelings previously unknown. We’ve been told that love is all you need but sometimes love is all you have whether you need it or not. It’s just there, like that time-worn copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that’s been on your bookshelf for these many years, the pages never read yet creased and earmarked, the corners turned down as a road map for future reference by a past disciple.

With “Love,” YUTZY blows us away with a massed overdubbed chorus populated by several living and dead Beach Boys and a few members of Queen. It may be heretical to compare YUTZY to Freddie Mercury but, man, this guy can sing. Or to quote my wife (the one who subsumed me, thank god), “What’s this guy doing on Bandcamp?” This is a track to which you really, really need to listen.

“Love” is from YUTZY’s new 11-song album, Lush. I don’t know anything about the artist, outside of his mind-blowing musical abilities, except that his name is Scott Yutzy and he’s from Newton, Kansas. For those of you playing along at home, Newton is about 25 miles north of Wichita and is home to about 20,000 souls. All songs on Lush were written, produced, and performed by Scott with the exception of a few vocals. Extra credit goes to Connor Born for the excellent trumpet on “Love.”

You can support deserving independent musicians like YUTZY by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. In addition to “Love,” I recommend “The Leaves” and “Call Me Down,” which has a weird hitch in the rhythm, almost like there’s an extra beat in the measure. I’ll have to figure that one out later. I ended up downloading the entire album. It’s one of the best efforts I’ve come across lately. And after you’ve downloaded Lush, be sure to follow YUTZY on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Two Songs by theCatherines

theCatherines – “She has a knack for seeing other people’s faults” and “Why are you always so sarcastic… you prick?”

theCatherines are the Jason Compson of pop music, encapsulating a single thought in each song and spelling it out in words even Luster can comprehend, not solely in the words of the song but in the words of the title, leaving Benjamin – our lastborn, sold into Egypt – to wander aimlessly along the border of the musical pasture, bellowing soundlessly at the far-lost memory of his First and Only Love, whose name echos down the branch many times each day, assailing the unplumbable depths of his brain with an emotion that he cannot name, much less enunciate to a licensed therapist. His truncated fate is the end time of any relationship in which one party cannot, within the safe space in which two souls surround themselves, tell the other party that he/she/they has a knack for seeing other people’s faults and rhetorically – but lovingly – inquire as to why you have to always be such a sarcastic prick.

While the words of theCatherines are brutally though hilariously honest, they laminate the lyrics with layers of lo-fi lustre, not Luster but the shimmering thoughts of a semi-grounded Quentin who keeps his feet lightly on the bridge as the Byrds, Tom Petty, the Standells, and a thousand Rickenbacker-jangly guitars swirl about him in the fog of the River Charles. It’s great fun, the impact as timeless as your grandfather’s watch that ceased to tick somewhere between Gerry and the Pacemakers and that song on which you can’t quite put your finger.

theCatherines are Heiko Schneider and Sandra Ost, a Hamburg duo who describe themselves as “jingle-jangle with a blast,” and having “a soft spot for hard guitars.” Their simple dogma: “Every song-recording should take no longer than one (sometimes two, now even three) evening(s) of joy, wine and cigs…” It’s easy to understand why they may need three evenings. The instruments on their latest release include “Drums, Ibanez Bass, Fender Telecaster, Fender Coronado, Gretsch Electromatic Corvette, Gibson J-200, Burns Double Six, Mellotron, Space Strings, Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn.” I’m sure their neighbors are pleased with the aural assault emanating from this musical menagerie and who the hell has a Mellotron these days? Someone who knows how to use a soldering iron, I assume. Can you come to my house and install this Ring video doorbell that I bought nine months ago?

You can support timelessly iridescent 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.

Long Lost Suns – Wander On

Long Lost Suns – Wander On

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?

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.