Song Spotlight: Fan The Flames – Sheer Mag

Sometimes, you just need a little loud and raucous rock’n’roll. This gutsy quintet from Philadelphia provides just that. They’ve only released a couple of EPs so far, and I wouldn’t say they are the greatest rock’n’roll song writers yet, but their send EP was better than their first, and their music is loud and rowdy and it works.

Album Review: SVIIB – School of Seven Bells

SVIIB is the 4th and, regrettably, final studio album from dream-pop/synth-pop band School of Seven Bells. Benjamin Curtis, one of the principles in the band died from lymphoma during the middle of recording the album, which was finished by his romantic and creative partner, Alejandra Deheza, with the support and assistance of  producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen.

The album set the tone with the driven and exultant Ablaze, a song about being brought to life again. “You set my heart ablaze”, sings Deheza, and the song makes you feel it.  As the album progresses, it is both elegiac and sweetly melancholic, with clear remembrances of one partner for another, and a joy expressed in having had the experience.

Recommendation: Buy It

Songs I have a Playlist For: Ablaze, Open Your Eyes. A Thousand Times More, Elias

Clunkers I will Thumbs Down: Didn’t have one for this album.

Album releases, starting February 26th

Febuary 26th:
Loop the Loop – Bullion
Meet The Humans – Steve Mason
When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired – Mothers
Grandfeathered – Pinkshinyultrablast
At Hope’s Ravine – Holy Esque
Magnetic Season – Mugstar
Stargazer – Golden Dawn Arkestra
Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled – Donovan Woods
You’re a Man Now, Boy – Raleigh Richards
First Light – Sennen
Hold On Dreamer – Frøkedal
Post Society – Voivod
SVIIB – School of Seven Bells
Dig In Deep – Bonnie Raitt
Outdoor Museum of Fractals/557Hz – James Holden, Camilo Tirado, & Luke Abbot
Feels – Feels
The Ridge – Sara Neufeld
Plaza – Quilt
How to Dance – Mount Moriah
Hills End – DMA’s
Honest Man – Matt Andersen
Death Index – Death Index
Imperium Simulacra – Black Cobra
99¢ – Santigold
Going Down in History – Waco Brothers
For All Kings – Anthrax
Higher Power – The Dirty Nil
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It- The 1975
Sisters – Odd Nosdam
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin – Willie Nelson
Convenanza – Andy Weatherall
Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep – Crater
GeorgeFest: A Night To Celebrate the Music of George Harrison – Various Artists
Stranger Things – Yuck
This Unruly Mess I’ve Made – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
How Can We Fix This? – Shields
Escapism – Library Tapes
Keep It Together – Lily and Madeline
HXLT – HXLT
This life denied me your love – Gorgio Tuma
Heartwatch – Heartwatch
2013 – Meilyr Jones
Mother Town Hall – Bill Pritchard
G0d Don’t Ever Change, The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson – Various Artists
Vroom Vroom – Charlie XCX
NIHL – Altarage
Perfect Tense- Fahlula
Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage – Steel Panther
Salvation (Deluxe Edition) – Madeline Juno
The Occultation Of Light – Mondo Drag
Sur le fil du rasoir – Kool Shen
Ride of Your Life – Tinashe

Album Review: My Wild West – Lissie

My Wild West opens with a kind of maudlin reminiscence of California in Hollywood. I feel like this entire album is a forlorn breakup album with LA or California…I’m not exactly sure which.

Not that it means My Wild West is a bad album. It’s just a little self-absorbed at times. Lissie is a good song writer, with a taste for pretty straightforward pop, and occasionally something more folk-inflected. He voice is always a little husky, a little gravely. It’s just that sometimes, she a little too slick for her own good.

In any event, the album starts out with a breakup song for  some part of her life, and ends up with a love song for some new part of her life, in Ojai, which is clearly a about her retreat and rejuvenation in the moderately remote Ojai, California. In between, she has some chargier stuff (My Wild West, Hero, Daughters) and some stuff that’s a little more reflective and introspective (Stay, Go For a Walk).

Recommendation: Stream It

Songs I Have a Playlist For: Don’t You Give Up On Me, Together or Apart, Hollywood

Clunkers I Will Thumbs Down: Hero

Song Spotlight: Elysium – Bear’s Den

If you hadn’t figured it out by looking at my favorites list, or some of the other song spotlights, I have a fondness for neo-folk bands, especially those with unusual instrumentation.

I actually discovered Bear’s Den relatively recently, while wandering around at random on YouTube and I’ve liked what I’ve seen of theirs. I like the play of the trumpet against the guitars and banjo here. They could use a little more dynamic range, but it’s a pretty song and I enjoyed it.