When I was a kid, my mom would drop me off at Rhino Records as she went shopping. I’d have about $20 to spend as I like. Being a kid, my music knowledge was quite limited. All I knew was what my oldest brother played on his stereo.
So I’d be there, staring at the endless shelves of records with nothing to buy. This made me quickly develop a sure-fire method of finding new music to hear: by judging a book by its cover. Yes, I’d buy the record with the coolest cover or name.
This method led to the discovery of The Cure (Head On The Door), New Order (Brotherhood), among others. I still use this method today.
So I picked up this featured album simply because I totally dig the artist’s name. “Izzy Bizu” just rolls off my tongue and sounds super cool. Try it.
I tell you- judging a book by its cover works. I’m still digging A Moment of Madness and I think I’ve played it 4 times through today. Izzy has a voice that reminds me of a cross between Amy Winehouse and Adele… the music could suit either of those singers as well. If you’re a fan of Winehouse or Adele, or if you like the soul/R&B/funk/jazz/pop, I’d highly recommend you take a listen to this record.
To put it simply, A Moment of Madness has some good songs, some really good songs. For me, the standout track is “Mad Behavior.” It has an odd-time-gospelly-epicness that I can’t help but play again and again. Bizu cowrote every song on the record, and this song showcases the depth in her style.
So 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.
I’ve been listening to this album so much lately. Melanie De Biasio’s 2014 No Deal is such a gorgeous record to experience. It’s spacious, haunting, and reminds me how wonderful it is to just get completely lost in an album.
No Deal creates an engrossing atmosphere that makes me hang on her every word. I’m serious when I say that time passes by without my knowledge while this record plays… and when it’s over, I want to return to that place so much that I either hit repeat or, if I have to go do something, I think about it until I can get back to my stereo. You might be saying, “Dude, that doesn’t tell me much,” and you’re probably right.
Just listen to the title track and I hope you’ll know what I mean.
Here, I’ll help you out. This is De Biasio performing said title track live. It’s just her voice, flute (she plays jazz flute!), and a guitarist…
Wowzers, that’s good stuff.
If you enjoyed that, do yourself a favor a pick up the entire record!
Since releasing No Deal, De Biasio has put out another record, a one-track serving titled Blackened Cities that has (amazingly enough) one track. The running time is almost 25 minutes, though, so dig in an be prepared to lose track of time.
I’d start with No Deal, though. Yes. I’d start with that one.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and recording Jaime Wyatt this last week. I haven’t had time to work on the videos yet, but her music is so good that I just had to share this video with you all.
Jaime is what I would consider an Americana singer/songwriter with a voice that made me take a step back and say, “Whoa.” It wasn’t even a loud, “WHOA!” it was the kind of “Whoa” that you say when you are not only surprised, but extremely mesmerized as well. Her rock/country style surrounds the catchy and memorable songwriting she possesses.
“Marijuana Man” was posted on her official YouTube channel back in October of last year. It’s a fun one that appears to chronicle the travels of the legendarily mythical Marijuana Man. I’ve never met The Marijuana Man, but he looks like someone that I could hang with whilst watching The Lego Movie.
Jaime has a myriad of other videos on her channel. Be sure to subscribe to it to keep tabs on her… and be on the lookout for her Frontloader Session!
You just never know what can happen from the simple act of trying to sell your stuff.
Through the years, I’ve acquired a bunch of music gear. Don’t ask me why I keep getting more stuff… it’s truly a disease… but I keep finding stuff that I apparently need. It’s often referred to as GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and I’ve got a bad case of it.
So I’ve got all this gear, and I don’t use all of it because of various reasons. Some of the pieces are simply so old that it either doesn’t work anymore or I’ve come across a more efficient version of it… some of it isn’t used because, frankly, I never took the time to learn how to use it. Surprising.
I put up a post on Craigslist to sell some of this old stuff. Someone replied with questions, to which I answered. Turns out the item wasn’t what they were looking for, but we started a conversation about what we do musically.
The guy turns out to be artistcalled6, a talented electronic dnb, chillout/industrial artist that describes himself as “a musician that traverses all genres, and really has no genre…unless there is a genre called “whatever the fuck I feel like playing.””
He let me hear some of his demos and pointed me to his website… one track caught my attention: “Passed Transgression.” Completely blew me away.
This track is absolutely thunderous. I must have listened to it 4-5 times straight. The repeating chord progression and motif puts you in a trance… and then the drums… oh, the magnificent drums… wow. I highly recommend using headphones for his music.
There are no lyrics, no vocal lines, nothing to sing to, but the sheer power and dynamics of this song is all you need. He has a way of taking a simple idea and expanding it to the point where you think the dam is going to break if one more drop is added. There’s so much to listen for, so playing one 3-minute song leads to 30 minutes because you hit “repeat” so many times.
I have no idea how he puts his songs together, but I hope to find out. We’ve stayed in touch and you can bet I’m going to pick his brain.
Lately, the work I’m doing with Kaity and The Flood has brought me back into electronic music, so artistcalled6 came at just the right time. His music lets my imagination wander and rethink how I approach writing. There truly are no limits except for the ones we impose on ourselves.
Yes, you never know what can happen from the simple act of trying to sell your stuff. I should do that more often. Maybe Bruce Springsteen will want to buy this old reverb unit that’s been sitting in my closet now for 10 years.
Brother Sal describes his sound as “Whorehouse Gospel,” meaning that it resonates within all of us, the sinners and the saints. I’ve never heard it put quite that way, so you can imagine how curious I was to hear his music.
Sometimes it’s the mere description of the music that makes you want to listen. For example, I once read a band describe their music as, “the shit.” That made me take a gander at their songs and, as you can probably tell, they WERE “the shit.” I can’t tell you what happened to that band, but I can tell you that Brother Sal is here and now, and you should take a listen here and now.
I’ve been enjoying his album, the piano-driven Blood and Dust… it’s one of those records that you put on repeat and just let it play for hours and hours. The moods the record pulls out of you ranges from deep introspection to hope, joy, and the whole ball of wax. I guess that’s why I can play it for such a long time and not get tired of it. There’s blues, there’s soul, country, there’s dirt, there’s grime, and there’s a voice that you just trust.
It states in his bio that “he recently stepped into the hallowed ground of the world famous Sunset Sound studios to lay the next chapter of his story to tape in his upcoming album, The Other Side of Sin. But of course, for a working man like Sal, one new album isn’t enough. He’s also completing another full album, The Rise & Fall of the Hummingbird. And just in case two full length original albums aren’t enough for you, Sal is also finishing up two cover albums, Live at Sunset Sound and Midnight Whiskey Blues.”
VERY cool. There is no news on the current status of these records, but you can bet that I want to know when they are released!
It appears that Brother Sal is playing regularly at these venues:
Sundays & Thursdays
11pm – The Piano Bar
6429 Selma, Hollywood CA
8pm – Melrose Umbrella Co.
7465 Melrose, Los Angeles CA
Through his Twitter feed, he lists more upcoming shows on a regular basis. Be sure to follow him to stay updated.
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
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!!!!
It’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.
I 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.
I came across Marie Danielle the other day from a Halloween show poster. I can’t tell you where I found that poster, but it did it’s job… I’m now a fan of Marie Danielle.
In case you’re wondering, and I know you were wondering, I’m going to be working on Halloween… so I guess my costume will be that of an RN. Now, that may seem like a boring costume, but there are many options: I’ll wear all pink and say that I’m Bubble Yum. Or Hubba Bubba.
So like I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, I was lucky and came across Marie Danielle from a venue’s Halloween poster. Sometimes you just hit gold on the first try. She’s a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter that doesn’t have much information regarding her happenings online. Her Facebook page does state that she’s currently in the process of recording a full length album with producer Simone Felice (of The Felice Brothers), though, which is always great to see.
I clicked a few more links and found “Tinsel Town,” a track that I hope is on the record:
“I know you’re gone, but I’m gonna love you anyway.” Great line.
After playing “Tinsel Town” about 10 times in a row, I decided to contact Marie. Sometimes you hit gold on the second try as well. A conversation ensued, and she offered more tidbits about herself:
Since I first began writing songs I’ve always dreamt of making a record. But it was something that seemed almost unattainable, something far off in some dream-future. Then, after a brush with death, I discovered the only time we have is the present. This lent me the courage to share my demo recordings with Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers, an artist/producer I greatly admire, and now I am in the process of recording an album with him, his partner David Baron, and my friend and collaborator Christian Wargo of Fleet Foxes.
“Brush with death???” I had to ask what that was all about.
It was a downward spiral of a relationship culminating when my boyfriend tried to strangle me. Which, as horrible as it was, was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It changed me in a profound way. And if it hadn’t happened, I never would be recording this album. He and I both were deeply changed by the experience. And are now good friends.
My response was, “That’s frikkin’ intense.”
It was. Took a couple years to really move on, but it led me here, and here is pretty freakin awesome. To be able to work with someone like Simone is so far beyond what I ever thought my songwriting would lead to. And add Christian Wargo to that, and David Baron, I keep waiting to wake up.
And now she’s being featured here on TheFrontloader.com! Man, her life just keeps getting better and better!!!!
“Tinsel Town” was apparently the first song Marie wrote after the breakup mentioned above. She states, “I never played it out. But one night when I was preparing for the studio I played it for Christian and Simone, and they both loved it and persuaded me to record it. Now it’s probably my favorite.”
If you haven’t played “Tinsel Town” yet, go back and hit “play.” You’ll thank me later.
I found a video of Marie performing another song, “Darlin’ You Know,” that was apparently posted in September of this year. Lovely voice, lovely song.
I was pleasantly surprised with how candid Marie was with me. It leads me to believe that her songs will be just as revealing, which makes me want to listen even more. Be sure to check out her Facebook page to stay updated on the record, the shows, the music, and the person. I look forward to her album release. If “Tinsel Town” is any indication on how good the record will be, I know I’m in for something special.
Sometimes Halloween posters give you so much more than just something to read while standing in line to buy some mints. Thanks, Mr. Halloween Poster… I owe you one.