Songwriters

I'm Here for the BOOs: Nashville's Halloween Playlist

Get tipsy off pumpkin beer? Check.
Watch Hocus Pocus and re-realize how awesome it is? Check.
Stress over the whole couples-costume thing? Check.
 

Create a totally badass Halloween playlist featuring some of my favorite local bands? CHECK.


Get in the spirit and give it a listen! -Caroline Bowman

 

   

Okie Outside of Muskogee

 Zeke Duhon’s self titled debut EP on Big Deal Records (My Morning Jacket, Ray Lamontagne) is a brief portrait of a young man working to figure out his own truths and, by proxy, illuminating artistic mile markers a large number of people in this town can relate to. The preface (his and possibly yours): a young Okie heads east to Music City seeking the larger stage that Tulsa couldn’t offer.

                It’s a good time in music to be a singer-songwriter straddling the fence between indie and pop. The lines have blurred again between which is which, and the stalwarts of both are becoming cozy bed fellows (see Ryan Adams’ 1989). On this EP, Duhon is swinging for the fences. He is going for Vance Joy/Taylor Swift homerun hooks and choruses. And while he never quite gets there, you have to respect the effort of a 20-year-old swinging that size of a bat. What keeps the EP tethered to East Nashville and Duhon’s indie upbringing is the depth and closeness of his lyrics. He had some help from seasoned song crafting vets: Brett Dennen, Kevin Griffin and Matthew Perryman Jones all have writing credits on this EP.

                The strongest track on the record is a song written solely by Duhon. “Faith and Hope” has the stomp/clap catchiness to draw you in and the lyrical content to keep you intrigued. The song is a metaphorical invitation to grab a gun and pick a side. It is an invigorating political call to arms, but is veiled enough to cover whether Duhon is leaning left or right.

                Duhon is a singer-songwriter first. The acoustic guitar is not ever present, but is still the apparatus upon what each song is built. He is more David Gray then James Taylor, telling generational truths using modern tools. The EP has the Nashville polish on it, which might turn some indie purists away, those people might be read as bitter hipsters, but there are times during the album that you can’t but help catch yourself tapping along. The record works best when it is Duhon’s lone artist voice guiding the ship. Here’s to hoping he gets the chance to develop that voice even further.  -Alex Vucelich

 

 

   

Emily Neveu Supports Emily Wells at The Chapel - 10/21

The San Francisco based sensuous and broody singer songwriter, Emily Neveu will be performing tomorrow night at The Chapel in support of the popular multi instrumentalist, Emily Wells. This is a great pairing for an evening of penetrating avant folk music. We highly recommend you head out to this show and get a full dose of two highly talented artists!

   

Album review: Bloodbirds - MMXIII

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
Twenty-year veterans of the LFK/KC underground music scene, Mike and Brooke Tuley have played with a number of bands familiar to local rock audiences. Best known for their time with Ad Astra Per Aspera, they established Bloodbirds in 2011 with the intent of cutting loose and shaking things up.
 
And they have. Dense, dark—equal parts Fun House (Stooges), Spacemen 3 and Black Angels—Bloodbirds’ newest release MMXIII may also be their swan song, given the departure of bassist Anna St. Louis for Chicago. In some ways, it is St. Louis whose playing defines the band. Forward in the mix, and by no means shy, St. Louis plays with punchy authority, reminding of some of the other great “lead” bass players like Jon Entwistle and Peter Hook. Brooke Tuley is a powerful drummer; her parts are simple, but dead-on. She locks perfectly with St. Louis.  Mike Tuley plays on top of their aggressive foundation, a canvas for his arsenal of shimmering hammer-ons (“Modern Sympathy”), punishing riffs (“Did You Say”), and sometime dulcet tones (the comparatively clean Blue Mask jangle of “Convalesce”). Depending on the song, his sound can be metal harrowing or as ropey, surf-psychedelic as the theme from Repo Man.
 
About those songs: they’re functional, gripping, emotional soundscapes, not necessarily bound by pop hook conventions. They hit you with the shape-shift intensity of vintage heavy rock like Blue Cheer or modern darkness merchants like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Which is to say the focus here is not necessarily on hum-ability. Even allowing for that, it would be nice if the vocals had a dash less delay density and a bit more clarity in the mix. Lyrics and vocals on MMXIII are more about mood than meaning (or mood as meaning), stray lyrics emerging from the driving murk to arrest your conscious mind here and again.
 
The tough thump of “No Trains Coming Through” totally belies the song’s title. With Roky’s manic intensity, the song “Did You Say” features the ominous, repeated line “Did you say you want the end to come right now?” And the music echoes the sentiment. “Round Moon’s” cascade of guitar features some of Tuley’s most expressive fretwork, summoning up the incantations of bands like the Icarus Line and the guitar howl of the Stooges’ Ron Asheton. For an album that emphasizes a certain heavy-osity, MMXIII manages to shift mood and tone effectively.
 
Brothers and sisters, the Bloodbirds can make a show-stopping addition to anybody’s Psych Fest. Live shows may be few and far between, given the departure of St. Louis, but they have reunited in support of MMXIII occasionally and the members remain close friends and open to the odd gig. Go catch them if you have the chance.
 
—Steve Wilson
 

 

   

Hazel English Releases Day Wave Produced Track - Fix

Hazel English is a singer-songwriter from Sydney, Australia. She currently resides in Oakland where she met producer, Jackson Phillips (Day Wave) in early 2015. They began recording songs together and the collaboration resulted in creating a blend of interspersed shimmering guitars and airy melodic vocals set amongst a nostalgic, dreamy ambience. Hazel's EP Never Going Home is set to be released this fall.

It´s exciting to hear about new music and new artists landing in town to share some great music. Check out Hazel English´s new song, Fix and we´ll keep you posted on the release of her debut ep, Never Going Home.