One thing that sets Nashville apart from most cities is that you can take a chance of just showing up at one of the city’s staple venues on almost any night and be completely taken away by the talent on stage. I had one of those nights last week when I decided to check out The Basement in Nashville to scratch my Saturday night concert itch. Allow me to describe what it was like to hear Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks perform songs from his album Pope Killdragon. From my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, Strand of Oaks performs by creating a masterful tone with his guitar and voice. The combination of pedals and reverb create a beautiful sound that allows you to really enter in to each and every song. With apocalyptic imagery and the creation of new worlds that seem somewhat familiar, the songs elaborate more than most with quality in writing. Check out this awesome song called “Bonfire:”
Strand of Oaks’ performance was pretty epic for a guy and his guitar. He enters in to each song, fully emulating the emotion that it deserves. Following each dramatic song, Timothy emits a lighthearted smile, which is rare in many singer-songwriter performances today. To the audience member, it seemed to show that this artist was privileged to be able to share his music with me, and I was certainly privileged to hear it. There was a fun side to this apocalyptic poet, like between songs when he said, “If only I could write a song about flip-flops.” I, for one, am thankful that his creativity encompasses more than just songs about popular American footwear.
There seems to be more to Strand of Oaks than meets the eye and ear. Even with what seems like a rough past, Timothy remains persistant and seemingly more inspired than ever. He is definitely one of the most gracious and humble artists I’ve had the pleasure to talk to yet. I would love to take a step inside his mind to view some of what inspires his creative genius. Margan Galen King describes his most recent album, “Pope Killdragon pulls you in magnetically, forcing your attention to its every word in desperation to comprehend both your own surroundings and the threat looming in the distance.” I encourage everyone to take a listen to this astonishing album because there is certainly nothing else like it out there.
Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Other Lives take the spacey vibe of their latest hit “For 12”, off their 2nd album Tamer Animals, to Mars in this incredible video journey through outerspace. The Oklahoma-based band’s added strings really build a perfect ambient setting to the enhanced digital effects of a spaceranger exploring the terrain to the forward sounds of western alternative bliss. The group consists of 5 members who play the said instruments as follows:
You can catch these guys on tour now pumpin’ the release of their new album through TBD Records. Currently on the east coast, the group has a show in Asheville, NC where they will then be making there way out west by the end of the summer. Tamer Animals is set to release in the UK in Late August of this year.
Wet Years’ music is a beautiful mix of ambient, blues, and experimental sounds that come together to form a very soothing and airy vibe. Timing changes, vocal effects, drawn-out guitars…they got it all. If you are lucky enough to attend one of their shows, be sure to pick up a complimentary cassette tape of their EP. Yes, people still have cassette decks.
Keeping the vibe of getting you all the top posts from the last week but we’ve decided to add a bit of PodCast flavor to help the listening process. So here’s our TopCast Rundown of this week’s Top Posts.
It’s not everyday that you’re captured by a new age classical piece while stumbling through the internet, but it was impossible to leave this track alone, having played it almost 10 times prior to writing this post. I know it’s a bit older, released in 2009 but “Turbine Womb” is an incredibly moving experimental composition by the 21 year-old Austrian vocal, piano, violin performing sensation Anja Franziska Plaschg.
Anja brings an interesting feeling to her dark ambient style, adding a touch of beauty to every stroke of the keys. It’s songs such as these, while lacking lyrical passion, touching on a multitude of emotions that help reveal the true art in a sound. I’d imagine coming from Vienna has had a great influence on Soap&Skin’s creative soul. Be sure to visit Soap&Skin here.
Written By: Mark G. Valente | Online Marketing Director | @MarkwithMWL
Sacred Animals’ native Wexford to Dublin along the coast is a straight road, but veer a few miles off it and you find yourself up in the mountains. From the Sally Gap you can look out across Lough Tay hundreds of metres below and see the wind carving its way through the hills. “The energy is incredible – so primal. You realise life is pretty fleeting. But that’s kind of precious in a weird way.”
And the music’s precious too. It draws on the rich tapestry of styles and sounds that make this such a compelling time to make music but also draws from those hidden places – Darragh’s is not a completely clear vision of what the music is and might become. “It’s about everything that makes artists we love, people like Thom Yorke, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear) create and then go back and explore. I’ve written songs for years and have always loved doing it. But when the songs start coming out like this, from somewhere I couldn’t always reach, that’s something really exciting.”
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
Chicago & Illinois as a whole, What needs to be said about its street cred in the world of music over the years home to Wilco, Andrew Bird, The Smashing Pumpkins , John Prine, Miles Davis, Eddie Vedder was originally from Evanston, Illinois. RATM guitar master Tom Morello from Libertyville, Illinois. And an entire Blog could and probably is devoted to what Chicago Blues has given to the world.
Out of that amazing lineage comes Carta Marina –
Chris Reehoff – Guitar, Glockenspiel
Justin Shields – Keys
Jeff Palac – Vox, Bass, Guitar, Harmonica
Rick Gladkowski – Drums
Anthemic, Spacey, Touching, At times Raw is just some of the ways their collective sound could be described along with many more adjective’s. But I’ll leave that to each individual set of ears who has the pleasure of listening to their album End Of An Era. Recorded live @ Uptown Recording. It’s so refreshing to hear a band at the top of their game being able to track live and nail each song with energy and precision. Strong and melodic vocals from singer Jeff, Which at no point over the course of the 9 tracks does he grate on the listener, Instead by the end your ready to press play again to hear his soaring refrain of Arcadia also featuring some great interweaving guitar lines by Chris. Not to leave out the Rhythms provided by Rick who has power and accuracy with every hit. Never over indulgent he creates a solid frame for the melodies and textures to live and breathe. Textures enhanced by subtle delays, reverbs and the perfect licks and phrases of keys man Justin and sounding at times like Garth Hudson if he was let go through The Edge’s FX setup.
The album can be purchased from the bands Bandcamp site with some great extras for those who are inclined to help a band by parting with those few extra dollars.
Among its early associates were Joseph Beuys, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, La Monte Young, Joseph Byrd, and Yoko Ono who explored media ranging from performance art to poetry to experimental music to film. They took the stance of opposition to the ideas of tradition and professionalism in the arts of their time, the Fluxus group shifted the emphasis from what an artist makes to the artist’s personality, actions, and opinions. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s (their most active period) they staged “action” events, engaged in politics and public speaking, and produced sculptural works featuring unconventional materials.
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