Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers - The Confiscation EP

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/28/07
Photo by Samantha Lamb
Samantha Crain and the Midnight ShiversIf you've got a hankerin' for some splendid americana then this is an album I heartily recommend.

It's five blisteringly beautiful rootsy tracks by Samantha Crain and The Midnight Shivers called 'The Confiscaion EP'.

Her voice is similar to that of Erin Mckeown with a bit more chew and drawl and her music is in the tradition of folk that blossomed from the early days of bands with jugs and washboards. In fact she put out an EP prior to this called "i'm going to meet the devil and i don't know what to wear" that drops a couple notches even closer to that end.

I'm not sure if the "i'm going to meet the devil and i don't know what to wear" EP is still available but you can always hit her myspace profile and ask. It's worth your time -- neat little CD -- very raw.

I do know that as of this writing you can get 'The Confiscation EP' direct from her and that's the method I recommend. As much as I love CD Baby -- the more money you can get directly to the artist the better as far as I'm concerned.

Samantha Crain is a seriously underrated artist. It takes about a minute of your time to hear for yourself via the samples included here or the player on her myspace profile.

Tip: Try 'Beloved, We Have Expired'

You'll thank me later for this...

Samples - Double Click a Track to Listen


- Samantha Crain -
i'm going to meet the devil and i don't know what to wear EP (2006 Green Corn Rebellion Music)
All songs by Samantha Crain © 2006
1.) devils in boston
2.) house of love
3.) hold each other up
4.) river run, rock roll
5.) 400 blows
6.) goodbye darlin

- Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers -
The Confiscation EP (2007)
All songs by Samantha Crain © 2007
1.) The River
2.) Beloved, We Have Expired
3.) Traipsing Through the Aisles
4.) In Smithereens, the Search for Affinity
5.) The Last Stanchion Goes Belly Up

Links for Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers:

Cherry Vid - The Rain by Lou Rhodes

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/28/07

Lou RhodesThis is the new video from former Lamb singer/songwriter Lou Rhodes for her song The Rain.

It's from her forthcoming album Bloom due out next month (Sept '07).

She's pretty endearing just as a person let alone a prolific artist - here's a quote from her bio for Bloom:

“Sometimes I think, ‘My God, I keep writing all these love songs,” and I really struggle with that,” she confesses. “I think I’m a bit of an emotional junkie, you know? It seems to be what consumes me. The heart never ceases to provide me with subject matter. I don’t know why that is. Someone asked me the other day, ‘Are you in love with being in love?’ And I couldn’t really answer that question.”

Hope you enjoy this video and Lou Rhodes as much I do.

>'The Rain' - Handwritten Lryics - by Lou Rhodes<

Links for Lou Rhodes:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alina Simone - placelessness

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/27/07
Photo by Vinciane Verguethen
Alina SimoneAlina Simone's debut LP placelessness, released this August (2007), plays partly like a disquieting recountance of people, circumstance and actions that could perhaps have been and gone better but are being related precisely because they did not and partly like endearments and yearnings that fall under the same unsettled skies.

The music is an edgy brand of sparse rock and would-be folk with blues undercurrents that combine to form a unique and cohesive flavor with a surreal bite. Throw Simone's voice into the mix, reminiscent of Tracy Marcellino[1] and Björk[2] with an added signature "wail" that dispels any and all doubt of conviction, and the results are positively hypnotic.

Placelessness is easily one of the best albums of 2007.

1.) Velvet Painting
2.) Saw Edged Grass
3.) Refugees
4.) Pacifica
5.) Swing
6.) Nightswimming
7.) Black Water
8.) Lonesome
9.) Riot Act
10.) Country of Two

Track 2 (Very Popular) Lyrics:
Saw Edged Grass:
You just took off running through the saw-edged grass --
we didn't even turn, we knew you would come back.
No one really knew... we tiptoed around the things that set
you off, like playing with matches in the high dry grass.
Run, run there you go, over the creek bed. Why are the
brilliant ones always so crazy? I know you love us more
than you love your demands, but something keeps you
running and only you can stop it. We let it go in silence.
It takes off the edge. Sometimes we wrap it up in silence,
cuz it's the only way to rescue the wildest friend. There
you go, running through the saw-edged grass (turn, turn,
you burn on the horizon). Hair whips round your face,
tumble through the weekend (underneath the overpass,
over the offramp). Something keeps you running and we
can only guess (digging up the things you hid under the
footbridge). Scratches from the branches will only give you


Links for Alina Simone:Notes & References: 1. Tracy Marcellino is the voice of LA alt/electronica band Twilight Sleep [website|myspace], 2. Björk [wiki|website|myspace]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Leah Siegel - Little Mule

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/25/07

Leah SiegelLeah Siegel's most recent album 'Little Mule', released in 2006, is 'pick O the litter' one of the best from a year that brought us a robust population of high quality non-mainstream works.

Listening to her music is an intense experience. From ballad to board rattler her charged rock-n-roll delivery is electric and memorable.

Little Mule - Track listing:
  1. A Day At The River (With You & Your Lover)
  2. The Water
  3. The Grandma Song
  4. Sea Dragon
  5. Lemon
  6. A Trail Of Peach Pits
  7. My Heart Is A Graveyard
  8. Pin Down
  9. The Motorcycle Song
  10. Black Tile Room *
  11. Raincloud
  12. The Pond Was Dry **
All Songs Written by Leah Siegel
Except *Seve Elliot, Chris Tarry, Leah Siegel
Geoff Stanfield & Brian Wolfe
**Leah Siegel and Geoff Stanfield

Leah SiegelHer music has a signature sound but beneath that it's alternative and good old rock and roll.

The signature 'Siegel' sound is created largely through her amazing and attention grabbing voice along with what I believe are chord progressions containing a sizeable number of rich sounding 7ths and 9ths. There's also a distinct crunch to much of her overdriven guitar[§].

Of her voice and guitar --

Leah SiegelIn the song 'Pin Down' she takes her voice deep into her throat and sings softly with much emotion along a gentle rich progression. Then she soars to skin dimpling heights through a beautiful repeating straight sequence split by arpeggios that are near wont of transformation to a song in full Spanish style -- all the while tending your ears with that beautiful throaty voice.

And she can turn around and punch the pedal on songs like 'The Water'.

Both these songs, and a couple of others, have chord structures that remind me of something Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) might have put together. My mind jumps to many examples but I don't want to get burried here so I'll toss out just one -- anyone remember The Crunge, a song drenched in 6ths and 9ths that had a kind of rhythmic crunch§ or bite to the guitar?

Leah SiegelLeah Siegal is one of the hottest acts around and she's given us 'Little Mule' -- one of the best albums in recent years.

It's definitely one of my favorites.

She has some excellent tracks loaded on her myspace profile. It's a great place to start...


Links for Leah Siegel:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cherry Pick - Jenny Lundmark

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/24/07

Jenny LundmarkI'm a huge fan of Swedish artists, which you'll be hearing more about not too far down the road, and I also like electronic, traditional (think Greensleeves or the many inerwoven themes within Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture) and world music.

Especially when it's all rolled into one package.

Most of the Swedish artists I listen to are far southerners in and about Scania -- the city of Malmö in particular. It seems many don't actually live there but rather maybe it's 'the place to be' for music in Sweden.

Time to head up north (Norrland)...

Based there in Umeå is the very versatile composer and singer Jenny Lundmark.

You may have seen her on YouTube singing and Vilsen with Swedish hip hop artists Block 44 (from their album 'I skuggan av Tellus') and you can also hear her sing with Patrik Öberg in their folk-rock/pop-rock project Below Zero.

Not enough contrast for you?

Okay dig this -- as a solo act she writes and sings in a genre that is very 'epic-world'. This one's the sweet spot for me.

While claiming influence that include Vangelis and Loreena McKennitt I believe it's the Enya sway that you'll hear above all else.

I always took Vangelis as 'epic-electronic' (Blade Runner, for example - one of my favorite movies) and Loreena McKennitt as 'celtic-world'. Enya seemed to be a fusion of both gone super nova. I'll never forget the first time I heard Orinocco Flow (Watermark - 1988) -- I could not get to a record store fast enough. And being a student of classical theory going back to the origins of scales I was beside myself with pieces like 'Cursum Perficio'.

It's in the similar vein of 'epic-world' that Jenny Lundmark writes and she's incredibly talented at it.

She currently has a few pieces up on her myspace profile from the project she's putting together.

Here's your chance to get in on something fresh with an artist in situ.

Lyrics for "Du och Jag" by Jenny Lundmark (2007)
När din blick möter min
Säg mig vad är det du ser?
När du rör vid mig
Säg mig vad är det du känner inom dig?


När din blick möter min
Stannar världen, allt blir tyst
När du rör vid mig
Tänds en låga jag ej trodde var möjlig


All den tid som vi har kvar, ska vi dela du och jag
Nu har jag fått den jag vill ha, det finns inga tvivel kvar


Links for Jenny Lundmark:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Emilie Autumn - Tarts and Bloody Crumpets - Shout-Out

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/23/07

Emilie AutumnThank you to the lovely wayward EA forum gushing lass's for your charm drenched words!

To solarfacade - you battered rose, MsLeFaye - sweet gun slinging tattle tail, Mistress TiggTea, violetfaerie (ladyjulianne oui?), beautifully miserable AngelOvRock and flee - undisputed queen of tarts (who held my hand through the acrid EA DT's) --

Thank You - I Love You!

Also a word of special thanks to the OE minxes manning the lines - your patience knows no bounds. I owe you a few evenings of misconduct and debauchery (bring your whips).


Trespassers William - Chords - Lie In The Sound

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/23/07
Photo by Todd Roeth
Trespassers WilliamThis is a transcription I did of the Trespassers William song 'Lie In The Sound' from their album 'Different Stars'.

'Different Stars' was originally self released by the band in 2002 then re-released in 2004 under the Nettwerk label.

The band is best known for their dreamy brand of folk and for the Id stirring voice of lead singer/songwriter Anna-Lynne Williams. A voice I have tried many times to describe yet never felt I could do it justice.

If you want to hear that 'sound' everyone talks about with regard to her voice then this song and the title track from the same album are two of the most knee melting examples.
Lie In The Sound by Trespassers William

Cm / Bb F (3 times)

Cm / Bb F
i love you more than i should,
Cm / Bb F
so much more than is good for
Cm / Bb F
me. more than is good.

Eb / / /

Cm / Bb F
oh the timing is cruel.
Cm / Bb F
oh i need and don't want to
Cm / Bb F
need more than i should.

Eb Gm Bb F

Bb / F /
i am falling, say my name
Bb / Gm /
and i'll lie in the sound.
Bb / F /
what is love but whatever
Bb / Gm /
my heart needs around.

Cm / Bb F
la da da da
Cm / Bb F
la da da da

Cm / Bb F
oh my sheet is so thin
Cm / Bb F
so i say i can't sleep
Cm / Bb F
because it's so very cold.

Eb / / /

Cm / Bb F
but i know what i need
Cm / Bb F
and if you were just near to
Cm / Bb F
me would you go...

Eb Gm Bb F

++++ (2 times)

Bb / F /
i am falling, say my name
Bb / Gm
and i'll lie in the sound.
Bb / F /
what is love but whatever
Bb / Gm /
my heart needs around.


Bb / F /
and it needs you too much
Bb / / /

Cm / Bb F (3 times) Eb / / /
Cm / Bb F (3 times) Eb / / /
Cm / Bb F (3 times) Eb

Links for Trespassers William:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cherry Vid - What's a Girl To Do by Bat for Lashes

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/22/07

Natasha KhanI only found out yesterday about Bat for Lashes while reading the myspace blog of lotte kestner, a solo project of Trespassers William Anna-Lynne Williams.

Upon investigating I ran across this amazing video for the song What's a Girl To Do.

First thought: "Anna-Lynne you hear as good as you sound..."

The song is from the album Fur & Gold which was released between Sept '06 and July of '07.

If you read the Bat for Lashes bio and check out this simple yet incredible video and song we'll be of equal footing.

The brainchild of Natasha Khan, Bat for Lashes is worthy of attention.

I certainly plan on staying in tune.

Links for Bat for Lashes:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cherry Vid - Buttons by Sia

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/21/07

SiaYesterday I ran across this and I haven't stopped laughing yet.

This is a promotional video for the song Buttons from Sia's upcoming album 'Some People Have Real Problems' slated to drop by year's end.

Buttons by Sia
you caught me pushing imaginary buttons
(step away from me lover, away from me lover)
you caught me counting imaginary school-children
(get away from me lover, away from me lover)
yes, i can see that your carpet is animated
(walk away from me lover, away from me lover)
yes, i see open wounds in everyone i dated
(away from me lover, get away from me lover)

i am no good for you
i'm seeing ghosts in everything i do

you caught me turning all the lights on and off
(walk away from me lover, away from me lover)
when will you see that i am carrying this stuff?
(walk away from me lover, away from me lover)
can't you see that i am losing my marbles?
it's marvelous, losing another, losing another

i am no good for you
i'm seeing ghosts in everything i do

Links for Sia:

Cherry Pick - Laura A and The Bad Grades

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/21/07

Laura AzzarelloThis is a bluesy rock music with a lot of soul and a spat of jazz that combines with Laura Azzarello's lush and somewhat deep voice to form an almost familiar 70's sound but with a 'less pedal busy' contemporary feel.

There's a character to her songs and her soulful voice that commands the music like someone who's been belting it out on stage a decade or two longer than this girl in her mid twenties. I was very surprised when I found out how young she is.

Laura Azzarello

The ensemble is rock solid. The guitar work is nearly edible -- electric liquid blue to light shades of fuzz. I'm easily drawn to rhythm and it was the well thought out snappy percussion of "Case of Daniel" that first sucked me in. Plenty infectious from the outset and then I got the knockout punch from Laura's killer voice -- I was hooked.

Album Artwork by Cherie Langford
Laura A and The Bad GradesYesterday I got the album 'Laura A and The Bad Grades' in my mailbox. I'm almost jealous of myself.

It's an album of wonderfully catchy songs featuring a singer that could make any band sound good and a band that could make any singer sound good.

From the album - the songs "Case of Daniel', "Can't Please 'Em All", "Senselessness", "Manhattan", "Marlboro Man", "Dixie" and "Outro for MJ" were written by Laura Azzarello who also plays keys. The Bad Grades are Andy Ellis, Mark Azzarello and Caleb Dolister.

The Laura A and The Bad Grades myspace profile adds Pia Paulamaki to the crew and says "and you if you want".

I want.

Links for Laura A and The Bad Grades:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cherry Vid - Le Marin by Babet

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/20/07

BabetShe seems to me to have come right out of the blue -- but what a landing.

Babet has been making quite a splash on the music scene lately with the song 'Le Marin' from her new album Drole D'Oiseau.

When I first heard 'Le Marin' I was delighted. Then I saw Babet sing it on live radio and was truly captivated. There's something about this music and as much about Babet herself.

Everyone remembers groups like ABBA and The Beatles with similar cause. It's not just that they made such good music but as well they had a unique spirit in them and for what they were doing. It was alive and visceral -- so real you could feel it in the air. And it endeared them to us.

People like that are rare so I get pretty excited when I hear great music coming from personalities that are so much larger than life. They just exude charisma and everything around them lights up.

When the video for this song came out -- I was just floored.

It's a thing of beauty for it's colors and effect alone but to augment that you see Babet and that intrinsic magnetism in her facial expressions and gestures. It adds a whole other layer of magic to an already enchanting song and to this pastel land of size shifting marvels through which she walks.

You can throw all the effects in the world at a project and still end up with a whole lot of nothing. This video, on the other hand, is alive and infused with a distinct flavor that can only be described as "Babet".

This girl is one to watch in coming days and months -- and years.

Le Marin


Links for Babet:

Cherry Pick - Summer Mayne

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/20/07

Summer MayneShe writes and sings easy listening folk rock and pop with a mostly indie-pop flavor.

Her voice is usually even tempered, though earnest, but sometimes carries an endearing sadness to it - like a soft spot exposed on an otherwise very strong person.

Back in March of 2006 I ran across her website and a song that has been one of my favorites ever since called 'Nothing Left To Lose'. It's still available as of this writing here. You owe it to yourself to hear this and it's a perfect example of that sadness/strength I just described.

She's got a song up on myspace called 'Oh Light' that is also becoming a favorite of mine. As of this writing you can download it as well.

Finally, I love her myspace bio. Check this out -- and give her a shout if you like what you hear.

I drive a Volvo stationwagon. My black standard poodle Abbs sits in the passenger seat. We like burritos. Sometimes I get frustrated when it's time to take my nap and there isn't a cozy space near by. I sing a bit too loud in grocery stores. I prefer windows that open and feel sad in some high rise buildings. I read before going to sleep each night even though sometimes I have trouble stopping. I try not to let the fear fester. Florida is not a place I would ever live. Whenever I try to take shortcuts I get lost. Who I'd like to meet: People who think they have the answers. People who have no idea what the answers are. People who look for answers. People who don't believe there are answers. People who are sure the answers are different for everyone. People who are sure there is only one answer. People who believe the answer is less important than how well we love. People who love to answer. People who answer to love.

Links for Summer Mayne:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thea Gilmore - Chords - Avalanche

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/19/07

Thea Gilmore

Thea Gilmore's 2003 album 'Avalanche' combines her often minimalistic tendencies with just enough engineering to appeal to mainstream.

In it's entirety the album is one of her best works and the title track 'Avalanche', as with her complete songbook, epitomizes her mastery of poetic pros.

This is a summary version (w/out all the notes) of my original transcription which I posted to ultimate-guitar.com back in March of '06.

Am F C G (2 times)

Three PM
Blue as a roadsign
With a bag and some cheap wine
The suns in my eyes
The smoke trails of aircraft
The kite tails and light shafts
There's a language in the sky
There are bones
Hiding under the viaduct
Sweeping down by the railway line
Making wagers with the day
There's a rumour
Dirty as a chimney stack
Quiet as roadkill
On the northbound carriageway
And who's gonna raise a hand
When all we were taught to do was dance
Who'll be able to stand after this avalanche

Am F C G (2 times)

Well they sold you
Back your outrage
In a neat little shrink-wrap
And a beautiful face
And you think
That you've found your purpose
While they've been trailing the breadcrumbs
Of a watertight case
So you're shouting
But you're shouting softly
So no-one can hear you
And get the wrong idea
But behind
The closing eye of the tabloids
We will be waiting
And we'll say it clear
Cos who's gonna raise a hand
When all we were taught to do was dance
Who'll be able to stand after this avalanche

Am F C G (2 times)

Three PM
Blue as a roadsign
With a bag and some cheap wine
The suns in my eyes
The smoke trails of aircraft
The kite tails and light shafts
There's a language in the sky

Am F C
There's a language in the sky
Am F C
There's a language in the sky

Links for Thea Gilmore:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Betty X - Building a Betty Machine

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/18/07
Photo by Craig Thomson
Betty XThis is Betty.

Vitriolic's anonymous voted 'most likely to fall off the wagon "...but what an amazing half gainer!"' Betty.

eX 'Salon Betty'.

This is Betty X.
Her sardonic truculance isn't so new these days but her ability to pound a message into your face in bursts of machine gun-like percussion, crunching guitar, punctuated (yet surprisingly lyrical) bass and her best clipped (not so secret) yelling voice are worthy of attentions reaching far beyond live shows.

She's created a type of industrial metal with a vocally punk'd edge. Quite possibly a serrated edge.

This kind of flavor is usually associated with a mosh pit or disturbing movie sound track but Betty hammers it out in a way that much of the time any refined desk jockey or couch potato can listen to and enjoy. Track after eye blackening track.
Photo by Craig Thomson
Betty X

If you're a fan of Evanescence and NIN and ever wondered what the two might sound like if you put them in a blender with a spritz of OTEP to offset the sugar and spice then you'll flip when you hear Betty X.

Has she taken 'Girl Power' too far?
Photo by Craig Thomson
Betty X - Spokeswoman?
Photo by Dan Nash
Betty X - Chairperson?

I hear she's part Irish and part American Indian. So am I but I'm also half Italian and that's what keeps me calm.

Betty -- not so much.

Has she taken 'girl power' too far? My inner 'hurt me' says "no" ...

Gigmates Johnny Spector & Teebes
Johhny & Teebes

Links for Betty X:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cherry Vid - Violence by Rose Kemp

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/14/07
Photo by Chris Lucas
Rose KempRose Kemp -- one of the most amazing talents of our time.

Sometimes she's a really big firecracker in a very small box. Other times she's a comrade in mourning.

She can sing sweet and gentle or she can take out an eye with a word.

And she wields her axe with aptitude -- exactly how she handles her voice. One minute picking out beauty in a choice progression and the next minute stomping on fuzz.

She's everything I ever wanted in a rock diva.

Two very talented people, musician / visual artist Frànçois and musician Rozi Plain (who obviously has her hands in visual arts as well), put together this stop motion animated video for Rose Kemp's song Violence. The result is a beautiful eye and mind opening amalgam of three amazing individuals.


Violence by Rose Kemp
Video by Frànçois & Rozi Plain

Nothing but the ticking of the clocks
The slamming of the stocks
Nothing but the silence on the street
Where we were meant to meet
There's nothing else to find here

Listen to the witness in the dock
The turning of the lock
You don't know why you're still alone
But the intimacy shown
Is enough to make me certain

The stupidest thing I've ever done
But it was so much fun

Nothing like the setting of the sun
When day had just begun
You left me silent by the phone
And I didn't like the tone
You quickly said goodbye with
Your chilling heartless undertones of choice
The weapons in your voice
They leave me feeling empty
They leave me hollow to the core
Like I couldn't fail anymore
Even if I tried to

Two three four

So I pick up the blankets
The daylight is fading
When I've only just managed to raise my head
So I draw back the curtains
It's six in the evening
And I've only just got the courage to get out
of bed
Nothing is right in my head
Nothing is clear in my heart
I feel like my body is dead
The day doesn't have to start here

Links for Rose Kemp / Frànçois & Rozi Plain:

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Divine Madness - Secrets

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/12/07, 08/15/07

The Divine MadnessIt's been just over a year since I last wrote about The Divine Madness1. A lot has happened since then and the horizon is filling in so I think an update is long overdue.

I'll tell you about their album Secrets -- and bit more.

Let's start with the current lineup.

The Divine Madness
Victoria Mazzè - /2
Chris Ride -
Chris Cano - //keyboardist
Moni Scaria - (3)
Dylan Halacy - drummer (?)

In 2006 they released the Precious EP containing the four tracks Closer, Precious, The Future, Crawl and Redemption.

Later that same year they released their debut LP Secrets, a whopping 23 track 11/12 double CD set.

Secrets - Track List
Disk 1
Disk 2
01Haunted01Total Addiction
02Secrets02The Future
04Blessed05Show Me
05If Tomorrow Comes05True Love
08Forsaken08The Sorrow
12Until The Break of Day
Secrets (double) LP © 2006 MazzeCanRide Music ASCAP (635961079224)

Here are some samples you can listen to or purchase. (excellent review reading music)

Note: Contents of sampler are subject to change.

The genres covered by this album are rock4, 'new wave'5, and a heaping helping of victoriandustrial6 which is beautifully haunted by Mazzè's gothically7 angellic voice and the often operatic8 vocal harmony arrangements. Combine that with rich yet smartly restrained guitar and a set of synth9 patches keying everything from ethereal strings to toy piano'ish10 sounds (think ) and you get a decidedly 'through the looking-glass'11 flavor. Though always rhythmic there are even reaches to 'electro dance'12 here -- a portent of ensuing persuasion. I did mention 'new wave'5.

The content largely covers dark themes from tacit vampirism and death to loneliness and dark fantasy as underscorings to otherwise traditional songs dealing mostly with love and with loss. Most curious and attractive I think is that these don't seem to be the songs of a depressed poet emoting, but rather the works of happy minds exploring. No surprise that 'Alice in Wonderland'13 comes up time and again in association with The Divine Madness. Thank you Grandma Brown14.

Secrets is an enchanted musical odyssey of considerable depth served up in bite size tracks.

The Divine Madness is a group of prolific and tireless professionals. They're also sticklers for perfection. It shows in their sound, their look and everything they touch.

From pen to master15, cover to cover, Secrets is one of the best albums around. It contains a few songs such as Closer and Precious that alone are worth it's entire purchase.

Last I read Secrets was nearly sold out and the band is considering selling a reprint as two single albums 'Paradiso' and 'Inferno'. If you'd like it in it's current incarnation you might want to hurry.

Currently their music sounds like it's heading into more 'electro dance'12 territory. They are, much to my pleasure, doing this without sacrificing that special sound they have and though it stupifies me as to how -- they just keep sounding better everytime I hear them.

If you want to hear their latest hit them up at their myspace profile and check out songs such as 'The Hunger', slated to track one of their upcoming albums 'Rapture'. In a word -- G O R G E O U S. And you'll hear precisely what I mean about bringing in the dance w/out sacrificing their sound.

They're still hugely underrated but I have no doubt in my mind that the road will rise up to meet them. I like to consider myself a part of that road.


Videos by The Divine Madness

YouTube / Brightcove




Links for The Divine Madness:

Notes & References
1Touring the Indies 07/17/06 Article: 'The Divine Madness', 2(UBL) the ultimate band list Profile: The Divine Madness (see bio), 3Kidneythieves Website - KT | News (aka ), 4, 5, 6 Music - a genre created by , 7/, 8A slow or style of singing usually associated with , 9, 10, 11(,and What Alice Found There - 1871 ), 12, 13 - 1865 , 1415 - a mixed master from which copies are made

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cherry Vid - Lenore's Song by Yunu

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/11/07

YunyuThis video about blew my mind when I first saw it. Over 16K images were used to create the animation that captures the deliciously dark side of Yunyu very aptly.

Three points of huge interest that gave me the trifecta "wow! wow! wow!" (for our canine readers that would be "bow! wow! wow!").

First is the song -- absolutely brilliant. I've posted the lyrics as cap'd from her myspace player below the video.

Second is the acting and choreography. So much stop motion (and similar) animation focuses on one or two effects and all else is forgotten. Not here. There is a full story being told. Look at the acting by Yunyu and cast -- the facial expressions and posing. This is high quality stuff that beats the knickers off most of the slew of 'high dollar production' dvd movies I've bought recently.

Finally there is the attention to detail. See above ...and all else is forgotten. Here you have faces in objects that combine with the music to be pretty disturbing if you're paying any attention at all.

This video is a beautiful distraction from real life disturbia and a solid work that reflects the wonderful music for which it was created.

The song itself is from Yunu's debut LP 'Spiked Soul' (see links at bottom) which I also recommend. It's a curio rock compilation with a nearly hidden and seemingly very personal monologue of turmoil ('cause the and the of preservative esteem are conflicted) going on beneath an intelligent and highly witty veneer. That's my take anyway. I dug deep there huh? Don't worry -- Dr. Frank will be sending her a bill.

But wait -- it gets better!

When it arrives you'll find this really neat dual pocketed red cloth foldover (Yunyu Spider Logo'ized) filled with goodies and tied together very neatly. Open it up and you get two CD's. One for you and another that's labeled "Yunyu says... Give this to a friend." I'm guessing it's a sampler but since I don't have any friends I may have to give it to myself and find out. Finally there is a DVD for (c'mon you can guess this...) "Lenore's Song". It's a high quality version of what you see below.

How awesome is that!?

You also get some pretty slick stickers that stick nevertheless.

Yunyu is currently threatening to put out another album and I think she means business. Check out her website or myspace profile -- she keeps them both up to date and pretty well synched and you'll also get to hear some of her other songs.

The girl is a keeper.

Lenore's Song by Yunu

(Inspired by “ THE RAVEN” by Edgar Allen Poe…was I right about Lenore, Mr Edgar?)

Gently Gently I came rapping
Like the bird whose beak came rapping
Wanted mine and wanted yours
Both souls I seek to keep

Wondering Wondering If I’m intruding
Fear you old friend fear you so much
Thinking thinking if I should
Call upon you tonight

When I see you laughing with them
Have my secrets become jokes
When I see you lunching with them
Is my flesh the meat they poke?

Wanting Wanting to know if
You are my friend just so if
When my flesh is dead and rotting
You would help them end their plotting

Where Where where were you when I cried
Where Where Where were you when I died
Did you fight
Did you fight

Where where where were you
When I screamed my last
Where where where were you
I find you nesting at my chamber door
Along with them
Along with them….

Never nevermore
I’m your lost Lenore
I’m who you called a whore
When they came for me
Never nevermore
I’m your lost Lenore
A ghostly imprint upon your mind I bore

Gently Gently I came rapping
Wondering why you stand there gaping
When I stand here still alive
A thousand knives upon my back

Yes there are still some with your name
The name of you whom I still blame
Wondering wondering why you are
Shivering your face so white

Did you think that I should visit
Risen from the grave of lies
Am I just a ghost of conscience
That’s come haunting you tonight?

Where Where where were you when I cried
Where Where Where were you when I died
Did you fight
Did you fight

Where where where were you
When I screamed my last
Where where where were you
I find you nesting at my chamber door
Along with them
Along with them….

Gently gently I came rapping
Not in the shape you have me come in
Am I just an imagination
Is there still some salvation

See you backing backing slowly
The smile you wear in life just fading
Wonder why you clutch your left
Is that heart of yours still beating

This is just a visit my friend
U Wonder why I fear no more
Do I exist do I not
Am I a haunting of your mind

Where Where where were you when I cried
Where Where Where were you when I died
Did you fight
Did you fight

Where where where were you
When I screamed my last
Where where where were you
I find you nesting at my chamber door
Along with them
Along with them….

Never nevermore
I’m your lost Lenore
I’m who you called a whore
When they came for me
Never nevermore
I’m your lost Lenore
A ghostly imprint upon your mind I bore

Gently gently I came rapping
Tapping at your chamber door
Am I in your troubled mind
Ever ever more?

Links for Yunyu:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cherry Pick - Adrina Thorpe

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/10/07
Adrina ThorpeSTATSMy Notes
Adrina Thorpe, as with many high quality artists who don't self promote with their dorsal fin breaking water, is a highly underrated artist. She released her debut album 'elusive' in 2004 and is currently working on her next release with a drop date goal of December 2007. Along with fine vocals and a mature introspective ability to write she's also known for her keyboard skills. If you're a fan of 's 1997 , or you'll love Adrina Thorpe.

Sample Tracks: I Recommend 'Fly'

Voices to Live and Die by - Katharina Nuttall

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/10/07

Katharina Nuttall
Deep, lush, dark but not jaded, commanding and yearning, intoxicating, somewhat androgynous and very sensual, beautifully unsettling and technically true.

The first time I heard her sing I was taken with goosebumps. Nine months later and I'm still waiting for them to go down.

Katharina Nuttall has a voice to live and die by.
Katharina Nuttall

She's also the author and performer of one of my favorite songs 'Place of Hope' from her debut solo album 'This Is How I Feel'. (see the video attached below)

You can find more of her videos with this Google search.

In addition to the more epic pop-rock ballad style songs you'll find above there's also a few softer and sometimes extremely wrenching songs like 'Our Kind of Love' and 'Dry the Tears'. Those two in particular are reminiscent of memorable movie score pieces. No surprise considering she actually has written movie scores.

And you'll hear the 'ish sounding rhythm driven 'In My House' and 'Shake It Babe' which you might think came right out of an dance scene.

Very versatile.

Having produced and performed backing vocals for the likes of (who does some backup vocals as well for Katharina on 'This Is How I Feel') and produced movie and video as well she is a woman of many hats.

'This Is How I Feel' is an album I highly recommend buying. It's a profound experience that will saturate you thoroughly and stay with you forever.

Katharina Nuttall - Place of Hope

'Down by the river there's a place of hope
A place of hope
And when the dark nights come that is where I'll go
It's where I'll go
You left a love-mark
In my heart
It hurts to Breathe
Hurts to breath
I was to scared to fall
I really had to leave
I had to leave
In my dreams
there's a place
We swim you and me
I wanna drown with you again
I threw a coin into a wishing well
A wishing well?
yes! A wishing well
But there was no coming back and no water to spell
No water to spell
In my dreams
there's a place
We swim you and me
I wanna drown with you again
Give me a place of hope
' ~Katharina Nuttall - 'Place of Hope'

Links for Katharina Nuttall:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Alexandra Krakus - Birdsong

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/08/07, 07/18/06

Alexandra KrakusEver have one of those moments when you see someone as if through a completely new set of eyes?

Sometimes that's a bad thing but I think those we remember most are the times when our vantage of someone is whipped into a higher plane. When it's a good thing. And perhaps the most profound of all is when someone who resides already very high in our sky appears suddenly to have shot off into the cosmos and become a blazing star.

Last February I was off surfing the net for 'something music something good' and I came across the myspace profile of . This was definitely 'something music something good'.

She had several songs on her profile player that were excellent. Though she spent her childhood in I noticed she had listed as her location so 'excellent' didn't surprise me too much. The best in the world is coming out of Canada right now and especially from the ladies. One thing that does surprise me is that so many of them are friends. Does that kind of thing rub off on people or does it just bring out what's already there?

Much of what I heard had a very laid back sound to it. I'm talking standard DIY definition -- not as Wikipedia sort of mentions in passing as perhaps a predominant musical assocation. There's definitely strong associations to and DIY but ... some other time.

The point I was making is that it seemed as if good songs maybe fell from her when she shakes and she then whips out the guitar and hits record and presto -- instant music. To this day I do actually believe it comes that readily to her. Amazing.

She's quite prolific so I tend to hit her profile frequently but I missed a gap of a couple months with the internet as a whole awhile back so I've recently been playing catchup.

In the process of catching up she was one of the first people I visited to see what was new. That was the day I first heard 'Birdsong'. That was the day Alexandra Krakus went from a highly situated resident in my sky to a blazing star out in the cosmos.

I'll spare you my cursing "why can't I hear anything remotely this good on the radio" rant and leave this on a peaceful note -- an Alexandra Krakus singing Birdsong note.

(hit the little right arrow [play] button - enjoy)

Alexandra Krakus

Alexandra Krakus -- Birdsong
Big blue sky up above
Perfect weather for love
I'll stretch my feathery wings
sing sing sing to the sky
sing sing sing as I fly
high high high up above 'bove 'bove
the humans and their...

...troubled, rubble-filled lives
Downcast, sensitive eyes,
Haunting habits and fears
tears tears tears in their eyes
tears tears tears as I fly
high high high up above 'bove 'bove
the humans and their...

...young ones running amok
Old ones tending their clocks
Lost ones tossed in the crowds
loud loud loud in their cars
proud proud proud like the stars
far far far up above 'bove 'bove
my simple song of love.

Links for Alexandra Krakus:

Voices to Live and Die by - Jessica Irvine

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/08/07

Jessica IrvineOkay, so what exactly do I mean when I say "Voices to Live and Die by"? (besides showing off my poor grammar)

I mean that there are some voices that impart to the listener such a sense of the 'beauty in humanity' that when you hear them you're struck so hard that it knocks everything but the innocence right out of you. The tarnish is lifted -- everything reflects and you're overcome with a gladness to be alive. And at that very instant you know that if you were dying it would be okay because you're so filled with rapture that surely it will follow you to where you're heading and you'll defy the adage -- you will not "die alone".

has a voice to live and die by. She's also an exceptionally talented composer. I've heard her range from a fusion of pop and hip-hop (sans rap) to some experimental styles that defy my explanation. I personally prefer the more pop oriented Irvine but damn -- with a voice like that she could sing any style and it would bring a smile to my face.

I know very little else about her. At her website she mentions a desire to put out an album. I would gladly wait an eternity for that. Hopefully she won't and will find a way to work it out much sooner.

Stop by her myspace profile and listen to her and let her know what you think.

Finally, is this one of the coolest and most inspiring images you've ever seen!?

Jessica Irvine

Links for Jessica Irvine:

Great Northern - Chords - lOw IS a hEIghT

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/08/07

Photo by Jason Odell
Great Northern

ere's a transcription I did of 's song 'lOw IS a hEIghT'.

It's a very simple song given it's unique flavor by the chromatic minor to major key (repeat) swaying and by the breathtaking vocal harmonies which are one of the signature features of Great Northern.

The band tends to move between very personal and sparse sounding songs to pieces, such as this one, which sound very large and rich. Their music is emotive in that way the best written songs used in movies are. You know -- when a scene makes you feel completely unbreakable and then it's followed up with another that makes you feel so damn fragile you want to cry and despite the changing visuals it's one single song forming the audio canvas that can pull you fully into either mode? Yes -- they're that kind of good.

If you like music that'll move you through tickles and earthquakes then you'll love Great Northern.

From 'Trading Twilight for Daylight' here's 'lOw IS a hEIghT'.

(intro - rhythm)
/ / /

Am F C E F
Drink to the s-un. We write to millions

Am F C E F
You kill everyo-ne around you

Save yours-elf from...

From the ground you break

And the lives you take

C F C F Am

/ F C E F
I lock the door, spinning the dust...

In a room

Am F C E F
Still like the s-un around you

Don't like the sp-ace of
All our sp-ace of
And you've just bec--ome a word...

C G F Am

/ / / / / / / / / / (x5)
F E G F Fmaj7 F Fmaj7 F Fmaj7 F


Links for Great Northern:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Art in Manila - Set the Woods on Fire

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/06/07

Art in ManilaThe wispy voiced story weaving master poetess is back -- and she's come bearing gifts in the form of the band '', a group who's every single component carries a distinct share in the sound they make.

Together they've given us 'Set the Woods on Fire', set to drop 08/07/07, a debut album that melds the depths of Fink's creative surrealism and captivating voice to the ear lulling organic mechanics of five other artists.

The lineup:

[] (guitar, vocals)
[] (keys, vocals)
[] (keys)
[] (guitar)
[] (bass)
[] (drums)

The track list (all songs by 'Art in Manila' except where noted below):

1. Time Gets Us All
2. Our Addictions
3. The Abomination
4. I Thought I Was Free
5. Set the Woods on Fire
7. Anything You Love
8. The Sweat Descends (written by )
9. Spirit, Run
10. Precious Pearl
11. The Game

Most know Fink for her ethereal pros and that dreamy silken frog in her throat. One and you're off to realms that only the spirits residing in her head can take you. Exotic places, surreal and often dark -- always addictive for the love or the grief or the coveting of what secret vantage she has.

I hear lyrics such as:

"When I was a girl
I witnessed an accident
A man struck by an automobile
He flew through the atmosphere
Like a rag doll with magical powers"

from 'The Abomination' and I am transfixed. Immediately after that she goes on to compare the event with a " in a ", the occupants shouting "When we land it'll all be better!", and I think then I understand her desire to have the band's name associated with .

While surfing the net she apparently ran across a reference to Bell's recent exodus to the Philippines. It was titled 'Art in Manila' and maybe looked something like this:

Source: Coast to Coast AM

For those familier with and you'll recognize Adrianne Verhoeven straight away as the primary vocal backing Fink. Together they create a earthy sound and they have a most delightful penchant for blending melodies to create harmony. This is brought to a wonderful place in their arrangement of the song as a hot and deliciously dark that'll have you sweating.

Orenda Fink wrote the other ten tracks but she left the machinations of creative arrangement to each member's individual talent, predilection and whim. The net effect is remarkable. Fink at her absolute best as part of a sextet in which each member's musical virtues flourish in the presence of the virtues of the others (i.e. the sum is greater than it's parts).

From a genre standpoint they're and with their fingers in many things including , , , and or (depending on who's definition you use). The music varies enough to give good contrast but stays within enough of a bandwidth to remain cohesive. The furthest departure I find is the somewhat 'Spirit, Run'.

The engineering, ground up, is outstanding and serves up all eleven of these brilliant and beautiful songs that make up 'Set the Woods on Fire' with flourish and mastery.

Start to finish this is the best album of 2007 and sets a dizzingly high bar for those that follow.

One final note about the package itself. The artwork and layout are beautiful and all paper used is made from 100% recycled material and I LOVE that they included the lyrics.

Art in Manila - Set the Woods on Fire


Purchasing 'Set the Woods on Fire' by Art in Manila:
Links for Art in Manila: