Imagine waking up to the warm smell of pancakes accompanied by the crackle of bacon frying in a pan, as you roll over to shield your eyes from the rays of sunlight that illuminate paths of dust from your window to the floor. Sunday mornings have a special aura about them, and in this edition of SoundTrax, I will highlight that feeling with a handful of tunes sure to put you in that Sunday mood, any time of the week.
“A Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James
In honor of her recent passing, it would be a shame not to start off this soundtrack with the wonderful voice of the late, great, Etta James. Enjoy!
“Somebody That I Used to Know” (feat. Kimbra) by Gotye
If you thought you were listening to an unreleased Synchronicity b-side at first, you’re not alone. There’s no denying that Gotye has striking vocal similarity to Sting, but the similarities end there. Featuring understated, but carefully planned production, this will be one of the standout songs of 2012.
“Miserable” by Roman&Alaina
Pairing depressing lyrics with upbeat music is always hit-or-miss, and takes some serious songwriting chops. Roman&Alaina rise up to the challenge wonderfully with this jangly tune. Now stop dragging the covers back up to your chin, and let the pace of this track pull you out of bed.
Alas, the day is upon us to write the last edition of Press Shuffle. As a way to close off our run of musical exploration, we’ve decided to compile our personal favorites from all our previous playlists and put them together here”take a listen at your leisure. We hope you enjoyed our trip into the OurStage vaults as much as we did, and we hope to see you soon!
“Rule The World Freestyle” – Jae Apollo: This song is a great example of traditional rhyme schemes in hip hop; working with the last word of a phrase, the vocalist adapts phonetics to fit his purpose. Proficiently executed, Jae Apollo’s track represents the path modern hip hop has been taking in the last couple years.
“Aheste” – Fahir Atakoglu: Tinged with Middle-Eastern harmonies and colors that reflect the composer’s background, this wonderful fusion tune brings the early Brecker Brothers recordings to mind, yet the track is incredibly successful in maintaining its own identity, which makes it a personal favorite.
“Colorado Rain” – Fiske and Herrera: A song about travel and discovery, it reminds us that life is about living. As simple as it sounds, many forget this simple tenet. To know where you’re going, you need to be aware of where you’ve been.
“Complicated Rhythm” – Bella Ruse: Is that a typewriter? By golly it is! It’s been stated before that this author has a soft spot for happiness-infused folksy duos and their feel-good, lovey-dovey lyrics, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this incredibly talented act is included in this list. Besides, singer Kay Gillette’s vocals are so invitingly playful that she draws you deep into her musical world in mere seconds.
“Something Insanely Clever” – Ellen Cherry: Ellen Cherry’s incredibly soothing voice is but one of the highlights of this track. The contrast between the rhythmic guitar strumming and the ethereal texture of the strings give the song’s form a perfectly cohesive structure and just the right amount of tension it needs.
“Peace Of Mind” – Zebulun: If peace of mind is hard for you to find, then music is what you’re missing. The use of reggae as a tool for protest has always been powerful, and this song is an excellent example of the voice of the people.
“No Funeral” – Revocation: Whether you feel like being being pounded by a relentless assault of drums, have your face melted off by Dave Davidson (who we recently had a chat with) and his shreddy guitar parts or just enjoy pure, unadulterated energy pumping into your ears, this song is for you.
“Veda” – Grannada: Driven by late-century alternative rock, Grannada bring hard-hitting riffs and a Cerati-reminiscing vocal melody from Panama. If your thing is hard rock, then this song is for you.
Have any tunes in particular that you care to share? Disagree with any of the picks? Let us know by dropping a comment!
Listen to previous Press Shuffle playlists over at 8tracks.com.
Take Carol Channing, Joanna Newsom and some old wire recordings from the 1940s and you’ll be able to somewhat approximate the antique indie pop of Bella Ruse. Led by the whimsical warble of singer Kay Gillette, the Minneapolis band makes strange bedfellows out of their instrumentation, mixing glockenspiel with piano, guitar, kazoo and typewriter. The music that emerges is jaunty, teasing and a little magical. Gumption & Guts bounces along with kazoo chasing piano, as Gillette declares, This hell I’m living is no worse than knowing / That I just never had the gumption or the guts to try. Romantic satisfaction continues to evade the songstress on Complicated Rhythm, a quirky hodgepodge of tambourine, guitar, piano, trumpet and (again) typewriter that punctuates each lovelorn sentiment with a cheerful ding. There’s a lot to love about Bella Ruse, if you’ve got the gumption and the guts to try them out.
The OurStage “Kick Up The Keys” Competition launched headfirst from the gates, ready to out the slickest ivory ticklers the world has ever seen. The tunes were so good, we couldn’t quite contain ourselves. As a result, this month’s theme playlist the largest we’ve ever made. Sixteen tracks fit to shake the nerves and rattle the brains of Jerry Lee Lewis himself are all yours for the taking. We sure you hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Cheers.
1. Amy Kuney “ “Appreciate Your Hands”
2. Bella Ruse “ “Gumption & Guts”
3. Brad Fitch “ “Worst Holiday”
4. Elise Lieberth “ “Bicycle (You Never Forget)”
5. The Getaway “ “The Wolf (Need You Here)”
6. Green To Think – “Prisoner Of War”
7. IV Elmendorf “ “It’s Over”
8. Jenn Cristy “ “You Don’t Know”
9. Jesi Kettering “ “I Fell In Love”
10. Joy Ike “ “Eat It All Up”
11. Julie Slonecki “ “More Than Space”
12. Parachute Musical “ “Back To Life”
13. Sheila Star “ “Keeps Me Alive”
14. Ty Mayfield “ “19 To 2”
15. The Working Hour “ “Stay Here”
16. Andrew Varner “ “Autumn Leaves”
Recently we delved into high-energy music here at Press Shuffle. We’ve taken you from the enthralling rhythmic trance of dance and electronica to the backbeat-driven intensity of rock and roll. This week, though, we’ve decided to give ourselves a bit of a challenge. We’re redefining the meaning of “energy”. We’re taking you from the high spot we left you off last week and giving you a smooth landing.
Acoustic music has been generally associated with low-volume situations, and therefore lacking the power and energy of other electronically-enhanced music. It’s also garnered that connection due to the popularity of the so-called “Unplugged” shows that many bands have been keen on since the early ’90s. Not many bands can make an electric-turned-acoustic song carry the emotional weight and power it originally had; acoustic in popular music has become synonymous with watered down and simplified. The allure of acoustic music lies in the raw nature and intimacy of the performance. Of course, the energy that this music conveys to the listener is completely different to that of rock and club music; you won’t see anyone jumping to the beat of the music or throwing horns to the performers. But it can be just as intense. So, let yourself be immersed into this playlist, and feel the vibe. We guarantee you’ll feel light and happy by the time this playlist is over.
It’s good to be Wiz Khalifa. After Warner Bros. kept delaying his major label debut, he decided to part ways with the label and instead began releasing a series of free mixtapes, including the acclaimed Kush & Orange Juice. After building up a strong underground following, he signed to Atlantic Records and released his chart topping single “Black and Yellow” late last year. In March, he finally released his major label debut, Rolling Papers, which sold almost 200,000 copies in the first week alone. Now to top it off, he’s dating a model!
And apparently, his girlfriend Amber Rose is more than just a pretty face. During an interview during the VMAs, Khalifa and Rose stated that they were working on new music together. Describing the music as “mysterious,” Rose said that they might release the music for free online, and they may not even attach their names to it. Rose said that “you may not even know it’s me. We might just throw it out there, might give it out and see what’s up.”
There’s no handbook for being an independent musician nowadays. No checklist of items that once accomplished guarentee the gates of Madison Square Garden will open with a sold out crowd waiting for you. Hard work and creativity seem to be the name of the game lately, and this week’s Needle In The Haystack artist Bella Ruse seems to have embraced the challenge.
“Hiya. We’re Bella Ruse. We’re a folk pop duo (I’m Kay, he’s Joseph) and we travel the country in our vegetable-oil-powered van. So far, we’ve been through 44 states on tour; still working on New Hampshire, Florida, North Dakota, Louisiana, Hawaii and Alaska. We eat a lot of fast food along the way because the smell of the veggie oil makes me hungry for french fries. We should probably stop doing that.
Today I’m trying to write a song for the RPM Challenge, in which you record a ten-track album in the month of February. I’ve written one full song so far and about fifty-seven bits and pieces so I’d say I’m doing pretty good. Joseph is writing his ten songs about Pecos Bill for a musical he’s working on with a friend. I don’t think he has any songs done yet. I win.
The first song I wrote for RPM is called “Operation”. As in the game where you remove little plastic objects with tweezers from a board shaped like a man and try not to touch the sides or else the man will get shocked and his lightbulb nose will light up. If his nose lights up, you have to put that piece back and try again. I always hated that game, but it turns out it’s a pretty good metaphor for life and love and all that. How DO you remove a broken heart without getting shocked? My nose is always lighting up.”
Upon first listen, its easy to think that this week’s Needle In The Haystack artist Bella Ruse got confused when naming “Complicated Rhythm”, the song up for free download. With simple and to-the-point melodies matched with lots of open air and light breezy guitar strumming, the rhythms on the track seem anything but complicated. Upon further inspection however, the song opens up with sounds not often found in a traditional pop folk song. Trumpets, bells and even a typewriter could easily confuse a song, but Bella Ruse presents these quirky sounds with effortless ease that fold into a wonderful melody. The duo even manages to simplify a sticky romantic situation with the lyric “I’m your lover/you’re my friend/and we’re both wrapped up in a complicated rhythm“. Nothing complicated about it.
Check out Bella Ruse’s explanation of how this (and other songs) came to be, and download “Complicated Rhythm” for free below.
It was only a matter of time before Bella Ruse was scooped up as a Needle In The Haystack artist. Just this past year the folk pop duo has embarked on three national tours, recoded three EPs and released their first full length album. Their live show has impressed onlookers from Seattle to New York and garnered them world wide television and radio play”their song “Push On” even scored them an opening spot in the Lilith 2010 Festival through OurStage’s “Lilith Local Talent Search”. Their brand-spanking-new album Kuhzoo was funded purely through Kickstarter.com, and if all that’s not enough ambition for you, the band is currently touring in a van powered by vegetable oil.
Check out the video below to learn even more about Bella Ruse, and tune in all week for free downloads, interviews and more.
R.I.Y.L. Beirut, Cat Power, Blind Pilot