Wild Light Sound – Low Grey Light

Wild Light Sound – Low Grey Light
SONG OF THE DAY

“Low Grey Light,” by Wild Light Sound, is a beautiful, understated song about chasing the sun, or chasing the warmth in a relationship. You felt it; it was here. It must have gone somewhere. Let’s go there, wherever there is.

The simplicity of the arrangement mirrors the uncomplexity of the emotions being expressed. Above an acoustic guitar and rhythm section, a pair of slide guitars meander like lovers who are neither dancing nor running, just living and hoping. At 2:37, the track is just short of the two-minutes-forty-two required to be the Perfect Pop Song. Why play more? Songwriter Nick Nicholson says everything he needs to say with a pair of four-line verses and a three-line chorus. Besides, you’ll be hitting the replay button several times to enjoy the great slide work.

As a Certified Music Journalist, I am required to inject at least one Obscure Reference into each review and here it is: the gentle slide guitar lines on “Low Grey Light” bring to mind George Harrison’s slide work on Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre’s version of Harrison’s own “So Sad (No Love of His Own),” from On the Road to Freedom. Full disclosure: I am not a Certified Music Journalist and “So Sad (No Love of His Own)” is my go-to reference whenever I encounter an exceptionally evocative slide guitar.

Wild Light Sound is Nick Nicholson (vocals, guitars, bass, percussion) with some help from Kyle Everett (guitar, bass, piano, drums) and Trevor Berecek (bass). “Low Grey Light” is from the project’s new twelve-track album, Love Songs. The “official” single from the album is the Byrds-meet-Petty (a reversal of the usual order) rocker “Pure Gold.” It’s a good song; I prefer “Low Grey Light.” But, hey, what do I know? I’m the guy who saw the first advertisement for an iPod and said, “Why do I need that? I already have a Walkman.”

Love Songs has been released by Robotboy Records of Eugene, Oregon. On the label’s website, we learn that “Wild Light Sound is the creation of frontman and song writer Nick Nicholson, a Virginia transplant who moved to Oregon in 2010. Their music touches on themes of nature, introspection, joy and, love. Nick’s songs are full of an energetic peacefulness, if such a thing exists, that is somehow calm and playful at the same time. I guess what we’re trying to say is that listening to Wild Light Sound is like surfing at dawn: peaceful but invigorating.” I second that emotion.

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

And keep up with other releases from Robotboy Records by visiting their website, and by following the label on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pink Stones – Blueberry Dream

The Pink Stones – Blueberry Dream
SONG OF THE DAY

“Blueberry Dream,” by The Pink Stones, meanders a vaguely-marked path scratched into the Georgia dust between the farms of Country, Soul, and Dream Pop. If I had to play the Genre Game (which I don’t have to but will anyway), I would dub this Southern Shoegaze. I know; it’s a ridiculous name. It’s really just good Southern Music. Think the Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky” with less sky and more blue. Or is it the other way around?

The track eases to life with a slowly strummed acoustic guitar, joined by a thick lead guitar, and underlain with a soulful keyboard and rhythm section. The guitar lines are the star of this show. There’s enough space between the phrases to put a car up on blocks and then forget about it because you have something better to do. Like sitting under a tree thinking about … heck, I dunno what you’re thinking about. Blueberries, I guess. Listen for the false ending.

The Pink Stones are Hunter Pinkston (vocals, guitars, percussion, lap steel, harmonica) and his friends: Will Anderson (keyboards, vocals), Ryan Lewis (theremin), Jack Colclough (percussion), and Curtis Callis (percussion). The band is based in Athens, Georgia.

“Blueberry Dream” is from The Pink Stones’ new four-song EP, Lil Bit More. The EP is described as “demo songs for an upcoming LP with some covers thrown in too…” The EP was recorded and mixed in Athens by Will Anderson. As a Certified Music Journalist, I’m obligated to provide at least one Obscure Reference with each review. So here it is: the songs on Lil Bit More bring to mind The Prettiest Shade of Blue, the last album by The Loomis Fargo Gang, a probably-defunct band from Norfolk, Virginia, that my cat reviewed back in 2013. References rarely get more obscure than that unless you write for Pitchfork.

You can support deserving independent musicians like The Pink Stones by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. I recommend the Neil Youngish “Miss Wind Turbine” from the 2017 EP, Just Some Songs. And be sure to follow The Pink Stones on Facebook and Instagram. And follow Hunter Pinkston on Twitter.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Atlanta next Sunday night, June 17, catch The Pink Stones at The Bakery with Supercrush, Big Bite, Bad Moods, and Harmacy.

theCatherines – Every Time You Say It’s Okay I Know It Is Okay

theCatherines – Every Time You Say It’s Okay I Know It Is Okay
SONG OF THE DAY
GUEST POST BY FLUFFY

Hi. It’s me again. I’m Fluffy. The cat. Sometimes the Food Guy lets me write his log post and then he helps me put it on the Winternet. The Food Guy said I could write today’s log post if I found a good song. So I went on Bandcramp and found a song called “Every Time You Say It’s Okay I Know It Is Okay” by theCatherines. It is a good song and you will enjoy listening to it.

This song is about the time the Food Guy was gone and I knocked over a lamp and messed up the shade. I was afraid the Food Guy would be mad at me, but when he came home he said, “It’s okay, kitten.” And then I knew it would be okay. What’s that? The song isn’t about the lamp? Are you sure? Well, let me listen to it again…

OK I think I get it. This song is about sitting in a window on a sunny day and watching the clouds floating in the sky and seeing the people on the street and running under the bed whenever the FedEx truck drives by. And then the Food Guy comes and sticks his head under the bed and says, “It’s okay, kitten, the FedEx truck is gone so you can come out now.” And then he rubs my tummy so I know that it’s okay. I’m not sure why I’m afraid of the FedEx truck, but I’m not going to stay around and find out.

The Food Guy says I have to tell people what I like about this song. I like it when lots of people sing at the same time and they’re all singing different notes and it sounds cool. What did you say, Food Guy? He said it’s not lots of people, it’s just two people and they are doing overflubs. Oh. Overdubs. The Food Guy seems to think they are doing them rather well. He says they sound like The Mamas and the Papas which I guess is good but I don’t remember my Mama and Papa. All I remember is I was living in a box on the street and then the Food Guy gave me a real home.

Whenever the Food Guy writes a log post, he throws in an Obscure Reference to demonstrate what he calls his Encyclopedic Knowledge of Popular Music. I wouldn’t know anything about that. The only Encyclopedic Knowledge he’s ever demonstrated is the ability to know exactly how many beers are in the refrigerator. Anyway, he shared his Obscure Reference for “Every Time You Say It’s Okay I Know It Is Okay” with me: the guitar riff brings to mind the riff on The Byrds’ version of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages.” And the lyric at the end of the second verse, Using ideas as my maps, is also from “My Back Pages.” Yeah, that’s pretty obscure, Food Guy. Now go calculate the BDR (Beer Depletion Rate) and I’ll call you if I need any more help.

TheCatherines are Heiko Schneider (music, words, playing, and singing) and Sandra Ost (singing). They are from Hamburg, Germany. I looked on a map, and Germany is only six inches from our house, so I may walk over there tomorrow. I have made that same joke in two previous log posts, and I will keep making it until someone laughs. TheCatherines say they are a “studio project with one simple dogma catma: every song-recording should take no longer than one evening of joy, wine and cigs… 😉 We love everything that jingles and jangles and makes some noise. And melodies…” I am planning to keep listening to theCatherines and maybe I will write another log post about them someday.

You can support deserving musicians like theCatherines by visiting their Bandcramp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. The cheap-ass Food Guy bought two songs and paid, like, $1.25 for each. I’m glad he isn’t that cheap when it comes to buying cat litter. I’m surprised he actually buys Tidy Cat and doesn’t just hold me out the window when I need to do my business. Just kidding, he isn’t a bad Food Guy, all things considered.

And be sure to follow theCatherines on Facecrook!

Bear Punchers – Can I Pet Your Dog?

Bear Punchers – Can I Pet Your Dog?
SONG OF THE DAY

When I was younger my family attended a Methodist Church in Tennessee. Twice a year, all of the middle school kids who were members would be rounded up and packed off to a weekend retreat at some woodsy locale in the mountains. I think we were supposed to bond in Fellowship, or find God in Nature, or something like that. The youth minister would lead the show, and they always sent along a young married couple to act as chaperones and to give us role models for our nascent aspirations.

On one of these retreats, when I was probably in the eighth grade, one of my classmates was there who was a little more advanced than the rest of us because he had a steady girlfriend. And at some point, he came up to the male chaperone and asked, “When do you know that it’s time to get married?” He’s fourteen years old and he’s already thinking about getting married. Like I said, he was a little more advanced than the rest of us.

And the chaperone said, “I don’t know about the when. But the person you marry should be your best friend.” And I’ve always remembered that. It’s the only meaningful thing that I ever got from one of those retreats. But it was a good one, a good thing to remember. And many years later, I was lucky enough to fall in love with, and marry, my best friend.

“Can I Pet Your Dog?” by Bear Punchers, is from their new fifteen-track album, Not All Dogs Are Depressed. Bear Punchers is, I think, Jack Jackson (guitar, vocals) and Kiki Sanchez (percussion, kazoo, backing vocals). The credits for a previous release note that Kiki “mostly laid on the couch.” The band self-describes as “an acoustic folk-punk duo from Virginia who take no prisoners.” Their new album is, they tell us, “dedicated to our friends who hump us.” I hope that, like me, they were lucky enough to marry their friends and aren’t living in sin.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Bear Punchers by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. They have thirteen albums and EP’s on Bandcamp, dating back to 2014, so surely you can find something you like (and don’t call me Shirley). This is where I usually say, “And be sure to follow – – – – on Facebook and Twitter.” But I couldn’t find Bear Punchers anywhere. They have an Instagram account with no posts and one follower (me). So it goes.

“Poo-tee-weet?”

Dog Mom – Sweetheart,

Dog Mom – Sweetheart,
SONG OF THE DAY

One day in the not-too-distant future, I’m going to call up one of those Pitchfork reviewers and say, “I was into Dog Mom from Day One. Where were you? The most trusted voice in music. Yeah, right. I wouldn’t trust you to review an old man playing an Irish jig on a tin whistle.” So let me explain to the Pitchfork reviewers, and to all the other wankers holed up in their mom’s basement eating Nutella ‘n Cheez-Whiz sandwiches on white bread with the crusts torn off and passing themselves off as cutting edge music bloggers, what they are missing…

You are missing out on a first rate vocalist. Dog Mom has the soul of a soul singer (you see what I did there?), delivering her songs with an expressiveness that is both beautiful and haunting. The vocals on her first single, “Blue,” earned that track Song of the Day honors. We are happy to report that she sounds even better on more recent tracks such as today’s SOTD, “Sweetheart,.” Now, at some point, we’re going to have to address that comma in the song title. I’m willing to work around it just because I know it will drive you guys at Pitchfork right up the wall. Now back to what you know-nothings are missing…

You are missing a very good songwriter with the ability to create a hook using a handful of widely-spaced notes from a guitar and keyboard. It’s quite annoying, really. Overlay that with a vocal track that crafts a melody out of the air and we have a song that could be passed on into a warm summer night from the roof of a building, or from an empty bridge spanning a river.

And finally, anyone not following Dog Mom is missing out on some Next Level Underwear Music: songs that a person writes and records following a breakup while sitting on a bed in their underwear. Dog Mom takes this to the next level by anticipating the breakup, not only recording the Underwear Music before the breakup occurs, but potentially causing the breakup by creating the song.

Knowing me, thoughts will eclipse reality
And that’ll be what drives you away from me
It’ll be me realizing my nightmares
It’s my fault nobody cares
I get paralyzed in my head
I’ve already made and done laid in my bed

Dog Mom is Kim something. Her Spotify bio describes her as “a ’99 born girl from Chicago, Illinois, just trying to make music that is okay.” On Bandcamp she self-identifies as “just a girl who loves girls makin’ some tunes in her room.” Dog Mom is associated with Sematary Records, “a record label focused on giving Queer and POC youth a larger platform to distribute their art.” Check out the label’s Bandcamp page. There’s some interesting stuff there and I’ll bet no one at Pitchfork has bothered to listen to any of it.

You can help support deserving musicians like Dog Mom by visiting her Bandcamp page, listening to her songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. Be sure to buy something. As Dog Mom says,

And be sure to follow Dog Mom on Instagram and Twitter.

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard – Absolutely Sweet Marie

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard – Absolutely Sweet Marie
SONG OF THE DAY

Today’s feature should be required listening – or viewing – for anyone who wants to be a musician, or for anyone who just loves music: Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie.”

I love the song’s dramatic arc. It starts off as a standard folkie track, with a strummed acoustic guitar. Then it builds. And builds some more. And ends up as a genuine cooker. This is how you construct and present a song. And this is what Rock Music should sound like. Notice that Jay forgets his harmonica, and has to pause to pick it up and put it around his neck. Jay would probably deny it, but he appears to smile at the lapse. But when he turns back to the audience, he’s back in character. And notice that when Jay stops strumming to deal with the harmonica, Ben picks up the slack for a few bars.

“Absolutely Sweet Marie,” like seemingly every song Bob Dylan recorded, has been covered and recovered by many artists over the years, most famously by Jason and the Scorchers (for whose version I never cared). It is amazing how many different interpretations can be derived from a single Dylan song. Bob himself is rarely faithful to the recorded versions of his own songs. As Bob told me one night over beers at an after hours club in Soho, his recorded versions are merely templates, not finished products. The song itself is never finished; it evolves, grows, and develops each time it is performed. Full disclosure: I have never met Bob Dylan.

The Jay Farrar / Ben Gibbard video appears on the YouTube channel of Tim Hand. It was recorded October 23, 2009 at the El Rey Theatre (in Los Angeles). Tim notes that this was “#15 song at show (2nd song encore).” Amazingly, the YouTube comments are not 100% positive; one reviewer whined, “I probably would’ve walked out. This is an embarrassing cover and an insult to the original song.” Really? I don’t know what some people want out of Life.

Now in a strange twist: YouTube user Albumania took the audio from George Harrison’s performance of “Absolutely Sweet Marie” at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert, synced it up with footage from Concert for Bangladesh, and threw in clips of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I think the result is fairly amazing. Albumania tells potential viewers, “The video is a fake, but it works, so don’t get hung up about it!” But, as is usual with the Winternet, several commenters don’t get the joke. For better or worse, here it is! Enjoy!

(And for those of you keeping score at home, the guys behind George are Klaus Voorman and Jesse Ed Davis.)