The Musical Discoveries of Mr. Reilly
Magnificent Spins 03/08/2016 - 06/06/2016
Greetings fellow NBT Music Radio listeners across the globe! It hasn't been without challenges lately but by now you've probably all experienced some of the broadcasting hiccups that may have occurred due to the way the music industry is constantly attempting to indoctrinate you with only the music that they intend to program your mind with. Of all the music industry heroes in my life right now, Martin is certainly the warrior who is devoted to making certain that you are hearing independent music without the unwanted influence of the puppet masters who attempt to control what you hear and how you hear it. There are countless radio stations (both digital and terrestrial) worldwide that call themselves independent programming, but they are too lazy to weed out the mainstream drivel that is auto magically programmed from behind the industry curtain.
NBT Music Radio is proof that with dedication and focused resistance, you can create something unique and beautiful that adds immeasurable value to thousands of daily lives. How many of you can say that? Well, if you support NBT Music Radio today then you can honestly make that claim. Independent radio is something that is very dear to me. You see, my dad began his career in terrestrial radio during the Great Depression. In those days you did everything at the station. You checked the repeater, monitored the signal, made sure the antennae was calibrated correctly, arranged the music, created the Ads, and did nearly everything short of making the actual music. He built his own amplifiers at age 13, MC'd for Ray Charles with that amplifier, and went on to become a very successful DJ, complete with a fan club. At 93 years of age, he still imparts his wisdom upon me and supports my artistic endeavors. This moral support is wonderful in easy times, and keenly critical in dark times.
I encourage you all to step up and support Martin's endeavors. He is doing everything at NBT Radio, just like my dad did in the 40's, but having to resist what the music industry is attempting to force him to do. Please stand and support NBT Music Radio today. That way we can all enjoy independent music from around the world all day long, whenever we desire.
I've discovered and re-discovered a few gems these past few months. I hope you explore the artists below and add them to your queue. Support independent music by buying their songs and attending their shows. Sign up to watch for these artists on SongKick or your favorite concert notification app. Happy listening, pass along any recommendations to your friends, and encourage them to tune into NBT Music Radio!
Ummagma - Upsurd
Ummagma's genre-bending works of hybrid loops and crafty musicianship always make for an adventurous listen. Often sprinkled with shifting themes and ephemeral passages the duo provides enough depth and aural imagery to satisfy listeners who require that kind of stimulation to organically make it onto their list as something to live life to. They are a wealth of concepts and ideas that come together in a hybrid brew that neither annoys or claims any false pretenses. It's apparent that both Shauna McLarnon and Alexander McLarnon are creating something innovative and truly unique. They are what I hope to find every time I listen to independent radio and browse indie music websites. I'm always hoping to find independent music like this that resonates with me. Ummagma simply delivers the originality of countless bands but all within the same track. Bravo! Standout tracks from all their releases since 2012 are Upsurd, Lama, Winter Tale, Outside, Risky, Kiev, Photographer, Titry, Rotation and (one of my favorite's) 1+1=3. Check out more songs from their self-title full length releases, Ummagma, Antigravity and Frequency ( also bunch of other songs here) True patrons of the arts, and indie music hunters will appreciate and support Ummagma.
Mirel Wagner - To The Bone
Mirel Wagner is a 23 year old singer/songwriter, born in Ethiopia and raised in Espoo, Finland. Since age 16 she's been writing Blues and Folk songs "stripped down to the bone". I imagine that To The Bone could have been a melancholy remembrance of an era that preceded the industrial revolution. The content is timeless and knows no bounds. Who hasn't loved and lost, and who among us would not be able to be so intimate with Wagner's close-on-the-mic dirge that instantly brings us to that place where we have no emotional defenses or pretenses to distract us from what matters most.
but your love drags me down
like the clothes
when you swim
down deeper down
like the roots of old trees
my heart has no home
you’ve bruised me to the bone
A lovely haunt by an amazing artist who caresses her guitar and escorts us into bitter sweet nostalgia.
Caribou - Niobe
For a journey into the sublime and understated, you'll without a doubt appreciate Caribou and their tune, Niobe , an excellent representation of what Dan Snaith is all about. Here is the video of their live rendition, at the Coronet in London circa 2011. With hints of Death Cab For Cutie and even Animal Collective, these guys take a slight turn toward the surreal in their approach to textured hooks and builds. From fans you'll get testimony that their live sets are even more intense than a perfect listen of their studio works. Check out these two wonderful interviews of Dan here to get a sense of why the music of Caribou simply has it's own footprint beyond the overwhelming world of sound-alike artists. First the BBC Collective Interview and then the Caribou, L'interview Discothèque Interview where he talks about production, remixes, and bandmates/collaborators such as Owen Palett, and his 2014 release, Our Love-- a deliberate journey through his life.
Sandra Kolstad - Titanic II (Oh How We Waited For This Moment)
Norwegian-born, Berlin-based singer-songwriter, Sandra Kolstad, delivers some very unpredictable melodies that satisfy with loosely pleasing harmonies that give this tune a most beautiful and organic feel. I really enjoy howher works are not over-produced, allowing the calm quirk to bleed through the new wave timbres. It's truly an uplifting adventure through some kind of electronic time work that borrows from 90's and 00's while firmly implanting modern lead keys toward the climax. Although this tune isn't a recent release, I do recommend it as an introduction to her works. Also check out Fire Burn, Blood Flow for more examples of her unique delivery and style. If you want some amazing visuals and other-worldly story telling check out her video for My Yellow Heart.
Songhoy Blues - Petit Metier
It's a bit dubious to think about why I have come to discover Songhoy Blues. Unfortunately I don't own a babel fish and am unable to translate lyrics, so I have to imagine that they sing about all the things that someone from West Africa would likely sing about-- war, love, peace, death, and living. Regardless of message their music seems to translate so well no matter where they travel. It's likely that if it weren't for Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs producing this band's debut album on Atlantic Records you probably wouldn't be reading this article right now. Rife with talent, this band was discovered by other established artists and because their sound is beautiful (and because they do not directly compete with the establishment) they were invited to play gigs in the U.S. for some major brands, err I mean bands. It's wonderful to be a novelty, but Songhoy Blues really is a timeless talent. Regardless of their journey and the overwhelming odds they had to overcome in order to get visibility, these artists have an organically pleasing heir about them. If you want to learn more about their roots, the band is also featured in a documentary called They Will Have to Kill Us First, about the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and the banning of music in much of the country. As reported by a major music publication beginning with a 'b', three of Songhoy Blues' members were displaced from their homes in Gao, forcing them to move. That action led to the formation of the group. I'm glad to have discovered them on NBT Music Radio this month.
Tocotronic - Spiralen
Dirk von Lowtzow's vocal delivery of Tocotronic's wonderful folk classic is a tune that should be on everyone's late night playlist. Not only is the melody impossible to remove from your mind, but the execution and delivery is nothing short of all the soothing and chill tunes you'd need to wind down your evenings. English translation of some of the lyrics: "You sing to me new songs from dying missiles". Pensive, understated, comforting.
Natasha Khan & Toy - The Bride
The Iranian folk classics that Natasha Khan approached and reinvented are a spectacular journey into her heritage and musical perspective. To really see what makes an artist tick, you have only to see what cover songs they gravitate toward. Separate only in title from the Sexwitch project, her approach to The Bride is to profusely bleed as if living her last moments on earth. There is little more to mention here for all of the Bat For Lashes fans, but for those just discovering her works I do recommend checking out a description of her Sexwitch performances here, which is certainly a primal outlet for all the times she kept things under control with BFL. The Kassidat El Hakka video combines all the primal elements of Middle Eastern Tribal Drums with the Krautrock she so dearly loves.
Mechanimal - Sunlight
Sunlight, by the audio-visual experience called Mechanimal, is a dreampop downtempo intelligent nouveau electronic sound wrapped up in triphop parchment and complete with a shoegaze bow. The band hails from from Athens, Greece, led by Giannis Papaioannou (main producer), songwriter and keyboardist and solely responsible for the direction of the band. Their self-proclaimed descriptor, "drone n roll" is fitting, but I hear some affinities to the likes of UNKLE and Massive Attack only with distorted and reverb-washed shoegaze guitars. The band's music seems to represent the cause & effect of the Greek Government's despotism that has left its citizens in dire straits, and their fan base represents the youth that must endure the life-long aftershocks of the country's economic decline. Their latest album and 3rd full release, Delta Pi Delta, features a revolving line-up (with Eleni Tzavara on vocals, Tassos Nikogiannis on guitars, Giannis Papaioannou on keyboards, Antonis Charalambidis on drums). The record is a departure from the darker places and concentrates conceptually on life on the outskirts of Athens rather than the dirt and grime of the inner city. The Mechanimal songs I especially enjoy the most feature Tzavara (formerly of Film and Etten) on lead vocals. It isn't often that I find a band that satisfies triphop, industrial, and shoegaze so I was quite pleased to hear all of their 2016 release on bandcamp here. Incidentally, the band's small indie label, Inner Ear, is host to one of my other favorite artists from Greece, Nalyssa Green.
Shannon Wright - Who's Sorry Now
Who's Sorry Now is a beautiful blues dirge that emotes and haunts with exquisite candor and warm whiskey nostalgia. It's no surprise that a song like this is organic and authentic enough to stand out from the everyday fray of independent radio. The song is the 4th track from her album, In Film Sound (2013), and was released on the French label, Vicious Circle. Wright has been releasing solo material for over a decade with 7 full-length releases under her belt. On any level that's a fantastic accomplishment, especially considering her experiences. By doing some research you'll find she's had more than a few music industry challenges with labels and has accomplished much of her amazing work through perseverance and true grit. For those that aren't convinced that Wright is just another solo artist releasing studio albums you will change your mind after seeing her live. Here's a great raw example of Wright live at the Point Ephémère in Paris, 2010. No effects on her vocals, just raw emotion with drums and guitar. A true spectacle of authenticity and rear-view mirror love story bravado juxtaposed against an overly sterile and over-produced modern landscape. Sorry kids, this kind of performance simply cannot be unless you've lived, loved, fallen, and arisen-- living a life and willing to give up everything on stage until there's little or nothing left. Check out her facebook page , say hello, and watch this artist at work. Her discography is here.
Malka - Corazon Sin Sangre
New York City's Malka is Nugaze and chill guitar-laden psychedelica at its finest. Their brain-freeze track, Corazon Sin Sangre, is from their March 2015 release, The Constant State, which made #9 of the Record Stache Top 10 Dream Pop Albums Of 2015. Check out it out at bandcamp. It's incredibly easy to listen to their soft and sublime sound sculptures, especially since the drier drum production provides an easy way to take in the beautifully washed out keyboards, vocals, and guitars. That's what provides almost a 70's kind of feel here, but something that you wouldn't necessarily hear back in that era. The shiny, glimmering guitars of EJ DeCoske slice perfectly through extended sections of legato vocals soaked in a wash of hazy, delayed arena-like vocals elevating Darko Saric's vocals to a complimentary twin texture. David Ciauro and Michael Dawson hold down the low end and rhythms that allow for such sonic intensities in the mid and high ranges. I like this band because they have a sound that appeals to a few different audiences. Sure most of them probably wear more black than any other color, but their sound is a colorful wash that bathes their listeners in a sea of late night reverie.
Other recommended and notable artists & songs (not necessarily independent artists, but worth an investigation!):
Bloc Party - Eden
Live version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MNibCVRqqo
Psychill, progressive, evolving, ethereal, cerebral
Spoonerman - Egghead
Johannesburg Punk from their 9 Song EP, Rants In My Pants
Raw, gritty, loose, punk, indignant.
Museum of Backwards Hats – Ebenezer
Grand old style Alternative.. with Guitar
Charlotte Hatherley - Where I'm Coming From
Live Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MefLUFywIm4
Recalls a vibe of early 70's Pink Floyd, with modern sensibilities
Glass Animals - Hazey
Moody, chill, downtempo.