Archive | October, 2014

V is for V V Brown

26 Oct

Like Amy Winehouse and Duffy , V.V. Brown delves into 60’s soulful pop on her song “Crying Blood.” But what separates this track from “Rehab” or “Mercy” is its sheer playfulness.

Though her more recent albums have shied away from retro influences and are more heavy handed, this tune, which appears on her 2009 debut album Traveling Like The Light, is full of fun lyrics, despite it’s dark content.

There’s a touch of surf rock here, laden with a heaping spoonful of novelty songs such as “ Monster Mash” and “Purple People Eater.” Not to dismiss “Crying Blood” as anything less than a well crafted pop song, but it does pack a novelty sound and punch. The chorus even resembles that of “ Monster Mash.”

But while those songs are broken out once a year at Halloween parties across the world, Brown is actually singing about a painful relationship and not an imaginary gaggle of monsters. In fact the lyrics can get quite depressing, as the title of the song suggests. “Obviously it is hard to see that sun will never shine when we are together/how can you be so ignorant to the fact that I’mma be in this pain forever.”

And Brown sings well, with the passion and soul of songstresses of decades passed with an electronic dotted background that brings “Crying blood” well into the present.

Still, with a chorus of gruesome imagery, the song would also be an appropriate way to ring in Halloween with all the brokenhearted ghouls of the world.

Discography: Traveling Like The Light (2009), Samson and Delilah (2013).

Official Website: http://www.vvbrown.com

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Love for Love Song

19 Oct

You might know multiple daytime Emmy winner Scott Clifton for his work on soap operas such as General Hospital, One Life to Live, and The Bold and the Beautiful or from his popular youtube channel Theoretical Bullshit. But what many may not know is that Clifton is also a gifted musician.

“Love Song” is a nearly five minute ode to a girl and their complicated relationship. But what makes this song stand out in the sea of millions of singer/songwriter tracks is its lyrics.

//media.myspace.com/play/song/love-song-46443766-49726859<p><a href=”https://myspace.com/scottcliftonsmusic/music/song/love-song-46443766-49726859″>Love Song</a> from <a href=”https://myspace.com/scottcliftonsmusic”>Scott Clifton</a> on <a href=”https://myspace.com”>Myspace</a&gt;.</p>

Right from the start, Clifton evokes the imagery and verbose poetry that is reserved for some of the finest songwriters around. “At times it comes and goes again/an empire founded a whim/and is it less important that we were young/In years will I look back and miss/ the way that we made all of this a sanctuary that I would never change for anything”

It’s the type of writing that conjures up the likes of Cat Stevens, on such songs such as “Sad Lisa” and “Lady D’Arbanville” but with a Rob Thomas-esque vocal spin.

The added piano instrumentation playing side by side with guitar adds an air of whimsy to “Love Song” that is both mournful and hopeful. It is this mix of light and dark, along with Clifton’s knack for choosing the right words to showcase his emotions, which elevates this track beyond most introspective songs.

It could easily have been a song, on paper, that would work well for Cat Stevens and for Rob Thomas, with its ability to transcend time. But Clifton makes it his own by packing passion and delicacy into a love song that begs to be loved.

Girl Go Home (2014).

*Though Clifton has released a number of EP’s and LP’s, Girl Go Home, is the only one currently available for purchase*

Official Website: http://scottclifton.com/

Excellent Ezra

12 Oct

Whether solo, playing with The Harpoons or with the Boy-Friends, Ezra Furman excels at writing and performing compelling throwback tunes evocative of legends such as John Lennon and Bob Dylan while adding his own modern take to tracks.

Here, with The Harpoons, Furman’s “Take Off Your Sunglasses” is a blast of fresh musical air, with a taste of harmonica throughout the tune and lyrics and vocals that are in a sense a punchier  “You’re Gonna Make me Lonesome When You Go” by Dylan.

Besides the catchy chorus ,which is sure to loop in listener’s head, what stands out is Furman’s songwriting ability and his delivery. Packing more words into just one verse than most words in a song’s entirety, Furman demonstrates that he can write as profoundly and truthfully as Dylan with such lyrics “I said in the middle of the night everybody loves everybody else in the middle of the day” and “I don’t want to think about things I don’t want to think about in the middle of the night in the middle of the day.”

Furman’s twangy vocals even draw comparisons to Dylan, but as many as there are young musicians who are trying to be the next Bob Dylan, Furman isn’t trying. On “Take Off Your Sunglasses” it just comes naturally. What has the potential to be repetitive and derivative comes off as new with Furman’s passion and innate talent. It’s not something one can learn, and that should be a lesson other musicians should take away from this track.

Insightful and quick witted, Furman makes listeners dig deep into themselves while showcasing a rapid fire style that Furman makes his own. With retro and modern elements, “Take Off Your Sunglasses” is one track that is not to be passed up.

Discography:

  • Banging Down the Doors (2007)
  • Inside the Human Body (2008)
  • Mysterious Power (2011)
  • The Year of No Returning (2012)
  • Day Of The Dog (2013)

Official Website: http://ezrafurman.com/

How Can You Really Not Love Foxygen

5 Oct

Indie rock band Foxygen, who are known for psychedelic sound, make no apologies for their lo-fi sound in “How Can You Really” off of their third soon to be released studio album “. . . And Star Power.” In fact, the way that Foxygen embraces their late ‘60s/early 70’s sound is what makes them so unabashedly modern.

“How Can You Really” is a hazier version of Todd Rundgren’s 1972 power pop hit “I Saw the Light” with lead singer Sam France delivering delicate yet blurrier vocals than Rudgren. The lightness of the song comes through on the intro which carries itself into the melody, hitting on mellow tones, never steering itself too far into the dark, despite lyrics that suggest otherwise.

At nearly the three minute mark the tune commits an act that is all too rarely heard in music today: A good guitar solo. Ok, there are other instruments at play, but it is the guitar that appears to be having its moment of glory. Let me be clear, It’s not that these instrumental breaks don’t happen in other current groups, it’s just that it is becoming a more rare art form and Foxygen wants to make sure nobody forgets its importance in a song. It may only last around ten seconds, but it is enough to make an impression on listeners.

As a complete package “How Can You Really” is a great leading single and puts its stamp on retro rock in 2014

Discography: Take the Kids Off Broadway (2012), We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (2013), … “And Star Power (2014)

Official Website: http://www.foxygentheband.com