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Liz Wiegard: Girl You Called Sweet

13882193_918307961629652_6530216318988988902_nSo I’m lazing around this morning… reading through some emails, and I come across this one about Liz Wiegard, a singer/songwriter based here in Southern California. Originally from St. Louis, Liz apparently first picked up the guitar because she thought it would “make her cooler,” according to her bio. To be honest, that’s the reason I got into playing in bands… I thought it would get me more attention from girls. Funny how that happens.

Liz’s most recent single, “Girl You Called Sweet,” is now playing on repeat through my speakers. Initial impressions were that this girl has a gorgeous voice. She has the kind of voice that seems to be perfect to immerse yourself into. It’s soft, it’s soothing, it’s sweet, and it touches the soul (mine, at least!). The song itself is almost trance-like. I keep hitting repeat.

Take a few minutes and listen to this track:

I think I’ve now played this song 6 times in a row. I want to hear more.

Liz has an album coming out titled Into The Wild Blue. Her press release states it’s slated to drop in October, so you can bet your butt that I’m going to look for it.

Liz Wiegard links: [Official Site] [Facebook]

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Twin Oaks: “Ghosts”

I’ve written about Twin Oaks multiple times, and I will most likely write about them again and again. Wait. I think I’ve written that before in a past post.

Anyhow, they released a new song, “Ghosts,” late last month. It’s a taste of what’s to come on their new record, White Noise. After hearing it, I can honestly say, “Wow.” If this is a gauge on what’s to come, then sign me up and call me Mary.

Take a listen.

https://soundcloud.com/twinoaks/ghosts

Twin Oaks will be performing at the Tribal Cafe on Friday, May 29 @ 7pm

Go visit their official website for more information.

Twin Oaks on: [Official Site] [Facebook]

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Kaity and The Flood: “Weight of Love” (The Black Keys cover)

Kaity and The Flood have just released a cover of “Weight of Love” by The Black Keys. This version is much more electronic than the original, yet maintains a similar vibe and feel. Personally, I’ve been getting back into synthesizers, so it’s cool to hear how they’ve been incorporated into this song. Singer Kaity Joyce’s voice soars beautifully over the music, and when she goes falsetto in the ending… chills down my spine, I tell ya.

Take a listen:

The Black Keys version is over 7 minutes long, I believe. This cover is just over 6 minutes, so quite a bit of the solo sections have been shortened. Let me know what you think of this recording and if you haven’t already, go check out Kaity and The Flood online. They’re currently working on an EP which should be released this summer. Based on this cover song, I’m looking forward to hearing what they come up with!

Kaity and The Flood on: [Official] [Facebook] [Twitter]

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The Norms: “It Takes Two”

It’s always exciting for me to write about artists I’ve already written about. I guess at the most basic level, I’m thrilled that the artist in question is still producing new material. They’re still moving forward, they still have their eye on the prize. That’s never a bad thing.

I’ve been involved with a number of projects that eventually called it quits because of one thing or another, so believe me, I know how challenging it is to keep it together as a group.

The Norms have been covered by TheFrontloader a few times already. They’ve come in for a Frontloader Session, and just recently they reached out to inform us of their new single and video for “It Takes Two.”

I says to myself, “Sweet!” and took a listen/look. The song showcases their blend of pop/rock, with catchy riffs, guitar lines, and a sound that is inspired by The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Weezer & Bloc Party. I always dug the quality songwriting of this band… take a look!

In their most recent press release, The Norms state that their “EP is set to release in late January after which they will embark on their first national tour.” Very cool, indeed. I look forward to the new EP and can’t wait to be invited backstage at their shows.

Guys… I’m going to be invited backstage, right? RIGHT?

The Norms on: [Official] [Facebook] [Twitter]

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Twin Oaks: “Animal” and “Clarity”

It should be obvious by now that I’m a fan of Twin Oaks. I’ve written about them a few times already, and they were gracious to come into the studio for a Frontloader Session.

Recently, they released a couple of new songs… and you need to hear them before they’re gone.

“Gone? Where are they going?” you may ask.

Truth is, I am totally kidding. They’re not going anywhere. I just needed a way to get your attention.

“Animal” builds on their established sound of atmospheric/dream pop found in their Lion’s Den EP. One thing to notice in this song is that the drums are becoming a more prominent player in their sound. Thundering, pounding, intense, dynamic… Twin Oaks seems to be expanding their soundscape.

Very cool.

“Clarity” seems to be the antithesis of “Animal.” Calm, cool, and serene, “Clarity” is a headphone user’s heaven.

https://soundcloud.com/twinoaks/02-clarity

Twin Oaks has a way of sounding organic yet unorganic at the same time. Their music screams to be in a movie… the sound is so visual (at least for me). Take a listen, revisit their Frontloader Session, and check out their websites. This is a band that deserves attention.

Twin Oaks on: [Official Site] [Facebook]

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Sally Jaye: Too Many Heartaches, Pt.1

We’ve been blessed with rain here in Southern California. Much. Needed. Rain. These rainy days keep me in bed and thanking the computer gods that laptops were created. I’m enjoying the crisp, clean air as I type this… spinning the latest Sally Jaye record, Too Many Heartaches pt.1.

“Waaaaaitaminute, there… Sally Jaye? That name sounds familiar!”

Yup. You should know that name because we wrote about Sally back in 2008 when I came across her album, Amarillo, one of my favorite albums of that year. I still listen to it every now and then, especially the title track… one of my favorite songs of the century so far.

0003685250_10Too Many Heartaches, pt.1 definitely continues my goobing-out over her music. I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now (it was released earlier this month), and just like Amarillo, I just know that I’m going to continue listening to this record for a long time to come. The reason why it’s just “part 1” is because the sessions were actually split into two parts: one before she was pregnant, and one after she discovered she was with her first child. Jaye states in her bio, “I was beyond thrilled that I was going to be a mom, but I also knew that meant I needed to get some more songs recorded from this chapter of my life before I moved on to a whole new one.” She went back into the studio and recorded what became part 2 (to be released early 2015). “When I came back to record Pt. 2, I felt like yelling them out a little more versus the softer approach I was feeling in the first sessions,” Sally explains.

I was so excited when I got an email from Sally, telling me about the coming of this record. Ignoring all of the liner notes, I went straight to the music and lost myself for about 30 minutes. Opening with “Maggie the Superstar,” Jaye sets up an album that is acoustic and rich with color with traditional country flavors. The record captures Jaye in a storytelling mood, with characters that we all have lurking somewhere deep inside of us. There’s regret, there’s longing, there’s misunderstanding, there’s envy… perhaps things we don’t usually want to face or admit, but it’s there. It took me multiple listens to each song to find out what her message is to me, and you’ll probably experience the same thing. The interesting thing is, though, that I think each person will find their own meanings, as the lyrics paint such a broad yet vivid picture.

One thing I have always loved about Sally’s voice is that it doesn’t get in the way of the story. Dynamic in delivery, her vocal highlights the lyric, propels the song forward, and lets the listener sink right into the mindset of the protagonist.

She has such a pure voice.

My favorite track off Too Many Heartaches, pt.1 has to be “All I Ask For.” Poignant and sad, the song discusses a family’s tragedy and how they not only deal with it themselves, but also how they must still face the knowing public each and every day. Jaye writes, “I just want my messed up boy to be all right / That’s all I ask for.” I got sucked into the story immediately and played the track a few times in a row even before moving on…

Take a listen to “All I Ask For.”

The record closes with her interpretation of Townes Van Zandt’s “At My Window.” Jaye’s performance is subdued to almost a whisper. You won’t want to miss this performance.

I could write a 2,000 word essay on why I dig this record… and another 2,000 on why you should pick it up… but I’m not going to do that because all the words in the world do not compare to listening for yourself. Lucky for you, Sally Jaye is giving the album away for free.

“FOR FREE?” you say. Yes, for free. That’s all Sally wants for Christmas (via her Facebook page)… “Dear Santa – All I want for Christmas is a ton of people to download this record (it’s free). Oh and I’d also like a new pocket knife, some warm shoes (that aren’t Uggs, because I just have to take a bunch of crap from my husband when I wear those), and a really high quality large skillet. Thank you. – sj”

I’m guessing that most of you want to make Sally happy, so do the easiest thing on the list: download the record.

“Where do I download it???” you may be asking.

Click on the image and WHAMMO! You will be instantly transported to how you will spend the next 30 minutes of your life.

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Sally Jaye on: [Official] [Facebook] [Twitter]

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Cathryn Beeks, ListenLocalSD, and a Sunday Tradition

Guess what I recently acquired for TheFrontloader.com? I’ll give you a clue that might help: it’s business cards.

Yes, I finally got some business cards (or “biz-c’s”), and to tell the truth, it makes me feel like I am now complete as a business. Isn’t that funny? Now, I don’t know how many of you are business owners, but there’s something about having a biz-c that makes me say to myself, “Ahhh… NOW I’m 2 legit 2 quit!”

I’d like to thank Mindy Milburn of Graphic Strike for designing these awesome new cards. I’ve been having fun handing them out to anybody and everybody. Yes, even the dog next door got one. Dog didn’t quite get what to do with it. Dog looked like this…

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Anyhow, I bet Cathryn Beeks has biz-c’s. Who is Cathryn Beeks? WHO is Cathryn BEEKs? Now it’s my turn to look as confused as THIS dog:

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Back in 2008, I wrote about Cathryn Beeks and her album, Desert Music. Go ahead and read it to remind yourself. At the start of the post, I you’ll see that I wrote, “Cathryn Beeks” is practically synonymous with the words “San Diego Music.” Well, that relation hasn’t changed, and if anything, it’s only getting stronger.

ListenLocalSD, Cathryn’s company, has been promoting local music since 2001. I remember standing with Cathryn in a San Diego bar one night when she told me her vision for ListenLocalSD. Now, here we are, 13 years later, and look at what she’s accomplished. Cathryn has hosted thousands of ListenLocalSD showcases for an even greater number of artists, and she has made one of the more difficult tasks every artist confronts incredibly simple: finding a place to display/perform your talents. If you’re an singer/band, visit the ListenLocalSD website, click on “calendar,” and you’ll see what I mean. Then you will thank the music gods that she exists.

For all of you music lovers out there that aren’t singers or bands, you’ll want to visit the website as well. Every Sunday at high noon, Cathryn hosts the Listen Local Show. This radio show is dedicated to the San Diego music scene, featuring songs and interviews with artists that perform or are currently touring in San Diego.

Very cool.

Last week, Cathryn contacted me and suggested that TheFrontloader.com have its own spot on her radio show. I said to myself, “Self? That’s pretty awesome,” and enthusiastically said yes. Then the daunting task of recording my voice befell me. People, it’s one thing to record yourself singing, it’s something entirely different recording yourself talking.

I swear it took me over an hour to record a one minute intro to an artist we had here on a Frontloader Session. ONE. FRIKKIN’. HOUR. Take a listen… you’ll find our spot at about the 1:45 mark. Don’t laugh. It’s more difficult to do than you think.

I don’t think I’ve ever done that many takes for a song. We here at TheFrontloader.com are excited to say that our spot on the Listen Local Show will be occurring weekly… like I said before, it will feature a performance straight from our Frontloader Sessions.

We are so proud to be associated with Cathryn Beeks and ListenLocalSD. Cathryn has given so many artists/bands their first gig, which will undoubtedly end up in their best-selling bio. How cool is that?

Check out ListenLocalSD. Dig it, share it, spread the word and support local music. They ARE the next big thing.

And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to spend the next hour recording my dorky-ass voice for the radio show. I’m telling you – it’s a LOT more difficult than it seems.

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Treble Down: “Devil At My Door” + New EP + How to Kick Ass

Treble Down in the FL studio

Treble Down in the FL studio

If you’ve been following TheFrontloader.com on Facebook and Twitter, then you already know that Treble Down was just in the studio the other night to record for our Frontloader Sessions.

Waitaminute… you DON’T follow TheFrontloader.com on Facebook or Twitter? Well, here’s your chance! Click here for Facebook and here for Twitter and you will be magically transported to those sites… do it now. I’m a patient man.

Ok, now that you’re following, you will always be updated on the artists that come to the studio. Good for you!

So as I was saying… Treble Down was just in the studio. They informed me that their latest EP is now available, which was awesome to hear. I dug their first EP, so I was sure I’d dig this new one. I was correct in my assumption.

Treble Down in the studio

Treble Down in the studio

My favorite track is the opener, “Devil At My Door.” This blistering psychobilly/punktry/metalarky (I just made up a couple of new genres) showcases the sheer power of this band. From the thunder of Nathan Ballard’s drums, the thump of Johnny Gunz’s bass, to the ripriffing of guitarist Tyler Anderson, the song explodes right from the get-go. Top it all off with the monstrous vocals of Melissa Salas, and you’ve got a song that I’ve been playing now for the past 45 minutes straight.

The song makes me kick ass at anything I do.

I could literally be doing something as mundane as washing dishes… pop in this song… and BAM! I’m kicking ass AND washing dishes. Either that or I’m kick ass AT washing dishes. The point is that I’m kicking ass.

Take a listen… it’s something you MUST do today. Treat yourself and kick some ass.

If you can’t do it right now, then do it later. You can do it while you go to the bathroom. Come on… you have 4 minutes out of your day to kick some ass, don’t you?

“Devil at My Door”

Man alive, I dig that song.

You can pick up the new EP here. I know they have shows coming up, so check in with their Facebook page for updates.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to kick some ass again and hit “play.”

Oh, and their Frontloader Session was filled with badassery. I can’t wait to let you all hear it!!!!

Treble Down on: [Facebook] [Twitter] [Bandcamp]

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Moxi: “Save Me”

913852_334068170030088_283457745_oIt’s been busy here for the past two weeks. I’ve done a few sessions and enjoying every second of it. Years ago when I was recording something with the great John Beard in the studio, I had mentioned to him that I have no desire to be an engineer… “It’s just too much work!” I would tell him. Well, I’m doing that right now with these Frontloader Sessions and if I could, I’d go back in time and slap my younger self in the back the of the head.

“You’re an idiot,” I’d say to my younger self.

“But didn’t my idiocy make you wiser and more experienced? he’d ask me.

“Well, sure… I guess.”

“So in a very real and tangible way, I’m a genius.”

“Shut up. Mom always liked you best.”

I have great conversations with myself.

My younger self would have loved Moxi, an indie pop band from Los Angeles. My older self digs Moxi, too. Perhaps my younger self KNEW I’d like Moxi in the future, which is why my younger self was such a genius (shhh… don’t tell him I said that).

Taken from their bio:

“Moxi is an indie pop duo from Los Angeles, CA, built on the dreamy vocals of Anna Nelson and surrounded by the moody, atmospheric keyboards of Andy Toy. Drawing on elements from pop, classic cinema, and 80’s new wave, Moxi sets Nelson’s distinct vocals on a backdrop of big drums and electronic textures.”

Accurate description. Take a listen to “Save Me,” off of their Summer Singles EP…

See? Accurate description. Digging it. The riff, the motifs beneath the surface, the vocals, the big-ness of the sound… all of it I dig. If I could dig it any more than I do now, I’d be in China. Get it?

And now, for sake of redundancy… here’s a video of “Save Me” performed live from Dead Music Studios:

I know what you’re thinking this time… you’re thinking, “Thanks, Swap! You posted a studio and live version of this song! For that, I owe you $62.53!” to which I would reply with, “Aw, that’s nice of you, but you can knock off the 53¢ cuz I’m cool like dat.”

Be sure to visit their official site for more music, info, music, and links to their good stuff. The music of Moxi makes me want to plug in my Yamaha DX-7 and remind myself that there’s still so many uncharted worlds that electronic music can go to. Check them out… share it, spread the word, and say hello to them on their various social media sites in the links below.

Moxi on: [official] [facebook] [twitter] [youtube]

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The Donnies The Amys: “Stay the Same”

frolf_crop_1I was washing my dishes this morning (yes, I left them in the sink last night) and realized that my sink doesn’t plug up anymore. A few weeks ago, I was having this problem… no matter what I did to clear it out, the darn sink would clog up again. I Drano’d the sucker and it’d clear out, only to plug up again in a matter of minutes.

Needless to say, I was quite perturbed and put out… all at once.

So the plumber came and discovered that there was a flippin’ piece of drywall stuck in the pipe. ”Drywall?” I said. ”How’d THAT get there?” The plumber was just as stumped as I was, of course.

”That’s a mystery you will never solve, I’m afraid,” he told me. And that made me sad. But then I got happy because the sink isn’t clogged anymore.

Wasn’t that a great story??? I know it made your day reading it.

After being pleased with this whole episode, I sat down at my computer and played music from The Donnies The Amys, a two-piece band out of Los Angeles. This made me even happier than the Sink Incident.

The Donnies The Amys are made up of singer/keyboardist Donnie Stemp and drummer/producer Amy Wood. They met, they recorded some music, and they are now playing through my speakers as I type this. Here’s a funny… according to their bio, “​Amy has been a drumming fixture in Los Angeles since she was 14, and has played with many local and national acts including Fiona Apple, Big Black Delta and Conway. Donnie has been growing lettuce.”

Their bio made me laugh.

Their music made me hit “repeat” numerous times. Lush synth textures, drums that are out of the norm, excellent songwriting… so good.

Take a listen to “Stay the Same,” the title track off their latest EP.

And now, just to be redundant, here is the music video. I dig the dancing vampire.

Pick up Stay the Same and their debut release here on iTunes. You’ll be glad you did. Your sink will thank you, and you’ll be able to ward off dancing vampires… unless you’re into that.

The Donnies The Amys: [official] [facebook] [twitter] [iTunes]