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.

American Television – Death Defier

American Television – Death Defier
SONG OF THE DAY

You can bet the farm, bet your bottom dollar, bet five dollars a hole with two dollars in your pocket, or bet yourself that you won’t get dumped for coming home late with the coffee grounds of another woman trailing across that worn out Kirk Cousins jersey. Which brings us to “Death Defier” by American Television. Of all the things you can drop your wad on, it’s that gamble you make on a Relationship that’s either a killer or a death defying ticket to eternal life, the one that has the power to make you feel more alive than a cockroach romping across a stale pepperoni pizza or deader than the open can of beer that’s been sitting in your garage behind the Christmas ornaments since you took down the tree last April. Win the bet or lose, you’re about to have a Life Changing Experience.

“Death Defier” is a melodic buzzsaw, an atom-smasher with just enough pop infusion to leave an aromatic aftertaste, the kind that has you reaching for the replay button and saying, “Uh, hey, let me hear that part again.” The track roars to life with the prerequisite punky guitar/guitar/bass/drums, but the creative song construction and well-sung lead vocal set this track apart from its partners in grime. “Death Defier” rocks hard, but you won’t feel as if you’re being struck repeatedly between the eyes with a ball peen hammer.

American Television, based in Washington, DC, is Steve Rovery (vocals, guitar), Jerred Lazar (guitar, vocals), Bryan Flowers (drums), and Edwin Wikfors (bass). “Death Defier” is their new single, backed with “The Creek.” The band accurately self-describes as “melodic punk.” American Television has been around for five years and, from what I can tell, appears regularly in the DC area. Judging from their videos, the guys are slightly beyond the “snot-nosed punk” stage which, it says here, is a positive. It takes a few years to knock the edge off the angry angst.

“Death Defier” was released in tandem with a special blend of coffee from Weird Brothers Coffee. Buy 16 oz. of beans and you get unlimited listening on Bandcamp and a digital download. Or something like that. Better hurry because, as of this writing, there’s only two bags o’ beans left. At any rate, here’s a cool video showing the guys on location at Weird Brothers.

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

And if you’re in the DC area, you can catch American Television live at Club Heaven and Hell on August 16, and at The Pinch on September 03.

Chaotic Bride – Magnetic Love

Chaotic Bride – Magnetic Love
SONG OF THE DAY

Chaotic Bride’s “Magnetic Love” is a righteous romp recalling those days when guys who grew up listening to Hank Williams (senior) picked up Les Pauls and set the world on fire. Rock, pop, punk, and country each take a turn at the wheel as “Magnetic Love” careens through two-minutes-nine of harmonies, humbuckers, and hot melodies. Listen to “Magnetic Love” as you accelerate toward the drive-in on the edge of town that is no longer there, either the drive-in or the town and possibly not your car that was repossessed last Wednesday when it was parked in front of the county library as you were inside checking your Facebook page on the public computer. But wherever and however you listen, listen to “Magnetic Love” loud and often.

“Magnetic Love” jumps out the door fully formed, a mess of guitars soon joined by a vocal that recalls early Elvis Costello. It’s a powerful punch, a wall of sound that rocks but doesn’t forget that the best rock has a melody that you can take home after the show is over. The star of the show in question is the lead guitar, with solos and fills out the proverbial wazoo (I can’t believe I used the phrase “proverbial wazoo”). The only advice I have is to crank up that cowbell that appears around the one-minute mark. What? No, I’m not going to say it…

Both of our regular readers know that the paragraph after the Bandcamp thingy is reserved for the Obscure Reference, our opportunity to display our Encyclopedic Knowledge of Popular Music. The Obscure Reference for today: “Magnetic Love” brought to mind “Walking With a Mountain” from Mott the Hoople’s Live album. You can draw a not-too-curvy line from Ariel Bender’s guitar solos to those in “Magnetic Love.” What? Yeah, I know in the first paragraph I said “humbuckers” and Ariel Bender had a P-90 on that Les Paul Jr. What’s your point?

“Magnetic Love” is from Chaotic Bride’s new three-song EP of the same name. This is the part where I tell you something interesting about the artist. But I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no Chaotic Bride other than they/he are/is from Davis, California. The social media accounts are new, but I have a feeling that the person or persons behind Chaotic Bride have been around for a while. I don’t think this is his first rodeo and, if it is, congratulations on finally escaping from your mom’s basement.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Chaotic Bride by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. There’s only three of them, so you might as well spring for the entire lot. And be sure to follow Chaotic Bride on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

Jonny Clousson – Without

Jonny Clousson – Without
SONG OF THE DAY

In “Without,” Jonny Clousson pauses to ask for directions – with or without? – then floors the accelerator and steers his Relationship into the deep end of the swimming pool, all speakers blazing with pure punky pop energy. The relationship in question could be with a formerly-significant other, the car that has a floorboard paved with cast-off memories but that refuses to start when you’re late for work, or that sort-of friend to whom you gave your Netflix password in a moment of weakness but that you really don’t want to hang around with if you can find literally anything else to do on a Friday night. The song is allegedly about giving up cigarettes, but if the number of E’s on your lover’s back changes each time you count them, then it’s time to kick that habit, too.

“Without” is a wonderfully noisy mess with all of the Lo-Fi earmarks that leave marks on your ears. An infectious folky swing below multiple guitars carries the process along nicely, lending “Without” a not-too-serious air, perhaps reflecting the emotional uplift one gets when the words I Quit are finally uttered and the pack, the person, or the oil filter is left in the ditch beside the road down which you have no intention of driving again. Listen for the background vocals that chime in at intervals like that crowd of people who squeeze onto your couch and back up whoever is winning whatever argument is being contested.

Jonny Clousson self-describes as “a singer-songwriter who lives in Philadelphia.” He is (was?) also a member of Almost People, based in Durham, North Carolina. “Without” appears on his recently-released three-track EP, Two Cents. Jonny will be appearing this Saturday, August 11, at Amalgam in Philadelphia. And, looking farther down the road to October, you can catch Jonny Clousson at The Fest 17 in Gainesville, Florida. I’m going to “borrow” his bio from The Fest website because it’s worth stealing: “Jonny Clousson is a songwriter who was last spotted living in Philadelphia. He has no known native habitat and can adapt quickly to his surroundings. Please be on the lookout for all sightings of Jonny Clousson.”

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

Ben Talmi – Give It A Shot

Ben Talmi – Give It A Shot
SONG OF THE DAY

Ben Talmi’s “Give It A Shot” is a wonderful wall of slow-brewing positive energy, layers of sound blowing away the “Why?” and transfiguring the doubt as Shaw’s “Why not?” As a great person once said, you miss all of the shots you never take, and if you’re arguing and can’t remember what you’re arguing about, then you’re standing where your heart was and not running toward the sunset into which your heart will ride tomorrow evening.

“Give It A Shot” begins pleasantly but inconspicuously, with basic rhythms beneath voice and guitar, then builds – the way the best pop songs always do – adding voices, piano, strings, and finally a pile of harmonies and background singers. The impact is simultaneously charming and exhilarating, with a timelessness that could be rooted in any decade from the last five and, with luck and lack of a warmed globe, will still be relevant at the next mid-century mark.

Regular readers of these virtual pages know that the paragraph below the Bandcamp widget is reserved for the Obscure Reference, and we’re not about to mess with a formula that has pulled in over three visitors in the past twenty-four hours. “Give It A Shot” has a vaguely obvious resemblance, vocally and melodically, to the power ballads of early 8o’s REO Speedwagon, specifically “Take It On the Run.” But that isn’t the level of obscurity that our readers are seeking; they could find that in Pitchfork though they’d need to turn on an ad blocker. A more obscure reference is Static in Verona (aka Chicago musician Rob Merz). An excellent example of his work is “Funny Things,” which we featured in February. A close comparison of the music of Static in Verona and the work of Ben Talmi reveals that they sound absolutely nothing alike. The similarity is in the feel, and in the dedication to crafting wonderful pop songs, mini-symphonies that stick in your head and trigger an unconscious reach for the replay button.

“Give It A Shot” is from Ben Talmi’s new ten-song album, Distractionism. Ben is by far the most well-known artist that we have featured this year. He has over 9500 Facebook Likes, while many of the musicians we review are so unknown that they don’t even know about themselves. I’m pretty sure that a few of the people we’ve praised think this blog is some sort of elaborate practical joke set up by one of their friends. But Ben Talmi is The Real Deal: a musician, songwriter, arranger, producer, and engineer with a large number of credits for scores and orchestrations in films and television. He is the owner of Greylock Records, “a full service recording studio in Brooklyn, NY.” An interview published last year in Prelude Press is an excellent introduction to Ben and his work.

You can support deserving musicians like Ben Talmi by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to visit Ben’s website, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes.