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Artist: Feist

Artist: Feist

Feist album coverFeist Album coverFeist Album Coverfeist-album2

A lot of the music I like these days does not have a good genre handle. Pop is more closely identified now with women than ever before due to the big divas that current rule it: Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and the like (though they have their place—good voices there if not used subtly). But the term ‘pop’ alone doesn’t cut it for me to describe what I like–but neither does rock or folk or …

All the genre categories have been scrambled in current music-speak, but this one more than most: “smart pop,” “alt-pop,” “alt-folk-pop,” and “indie pop” are some of the franken-names I’ve seen. I’ll go with alt-pop, or alternative pop, as the closest to describing what I like. The vocals tend toward folk, the instrumentation can variously sound like rock or jazz or pop. The overall vibe is light, frothy, and fun.

Feist, a Canadian musician, was top of the charts circa 2008-2010. Her songs are a good example of this alt-pop. They sound feminine and smart, and her lyrics are full of playfulness and whimsy. Included here are her top hits: 1234, I Feel It All, and Mushaboom. The last I include is a favorite track, 7/4 Shoreline, from a group I loved in mid-2000s, Broken Social Scene. It was only in researching this post that I found out she was a vocalist for this group back then and is one of the lead vocals on this song.

If you like what you hear, then consider supporting the artist by buying tracks and/or subscribing to a streaming service.

Feist – 1234

Not only was the song big, but this video became a viral hit on YouTube when it first came out.

Feist – I Feel It All

(recording only—neutral visuals)

Feist – Mushaboom (lyrics)

(recording only—neutral visuals)

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 Shoreline

She sang with the group back in 2006

(recording only—neutral visuals)

 

Musicians & Youtube Creators: Pomplamoose

Musicians & Youtube Creators: Pomplamoose

“The name of the band derives from the French word pamplemousse, meaning grapefruit. Pomplamoose is an English-spelling approximation of the French pronunciation.” – Wikipedia

Pomplamoose album

Pomplamoose is an American musical duo which feature multi-instrumentalists Jack Conte and vocalist Nataly Dawn. The two met at Stanford when students and, with their amazing musical talents, started workin together. But what put them on the map (circa 2008-2009) was their delightfully creative, quirky, funny and intriguing homemade music videos. These ‘youtubes’ show them playing several instruments and singing multiple tracks—in essence, putting the song together. The videos are an amazing labor of love and viewers went nuts for them in a big way. At first they produced what are known as “cover” songs (already made famous by another artist–a precedent that many other YT musicians have followed), but they also wrote and produced their own music. Eventually all the tracks got made available for buying at all the usual places.

Mr. Conte plays most of the instruments, some of which are very technical—his prowess is jaw-dropping. Ms. Dawn is the primary vocalist. Her voice belongs in the school of French chanteuse (I was not surprised to hear in an interview* that she’d lived in France for many years). It’s sly, silky and sexy and she knows how to use it to charming–and sometime heartbreaking–effect (don’t miss Somewhere Over the Rainbow, link below). That said, they are both multi-talented: she plays bass guitar and other instruments and he sings backup. They each have also pursued solo work.

The couple (who are a ‘real-life’ couple as well) took a break from the channel for personal reasons*, but in 2014 they came back with the titled “Pomplamoose: Season 2” with a bunch of amazing videos that upped their game. This culminated in an album of the same title released just last month (July 2014).

I love so many of their videos and songs that it was really hard to cull a short-list. I start the list below from their earlier vids to their more recent. At the bottom, I’ve linked the big playlist of all their music videos and I think they are worth watching. As always if you like what you hear, please consider supporting the artist by buying their albums or some tracks. You can also offer support for the production of the videos/songs, which are expensive in their own right, by checking out the site Patreon, which allows one to offer old-fashioned ‘patronage’ support. Patreon.com is actually Jack Conte’s creation; here’s their page. I provide lots more links at the bottom of this post.

OLDER

Another Day

An original song of theirs that became a big hit

 

Little Things

An original song. They are so cute in this one.

 

If You Think You Need Some Lovin’

Sexy & funny (another original)

 

NEWER

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Did I mention ‘heartbreaking’?

 

Come Together

The Beatles classic with a little Hey Jude thrown in, all in one take.

 

I Feel Good

How do they dare cover James Brown’s incomparable 70s hit? They take it in a different cool jazz direction and it works.

 

*Info about their history came from an interview with them via a podcast called Ear Biscuits by the YouTube favorites, Rhett & Link where they talk about their journey.

Pomplamoose Links: 

PomplamooseMusic YouTube Channel and full playlist

Jack Conte channel / Nataly Dawn channel

Official website: They are on tour Fall 2014.

Older music is available by searching via Amazon, iTunes, and other sources. New album “Season 2” is available via Loudr and iTunes.

 

Composer: Adam Roberts

Composer: Adam Roberts

Robert Adams Leaf Metal Album I love many different types of music—there’s very little I won’t listen to, or at least try. But I am a life-long lover of classical music. I started my own investigation when I was 15, just picking up what I could find at the library, and later what I could afford to buy. I worked my way through various compilation albums. Bach, Beethoven, and Aaron Copland were my first set.

While I love many of the well-known classic works and composers—and have a special place in my heart for all vocal music (more about that in another post)—I am a believer in the fact that if we don’t want classical repertoire to end up in the museums, we need to support the composers of our own time. These include such luminous names as John Adams, Phillip Glass, Andre Previn, Kirke Mechem, John Corigliano, and many others.

But they also importantly include new and upcoming composers and one of these is Adam Roberts. Let me say up-front that I know someone who knows him, but he and I have never met and I had never heard his compositions until I heard his name and decided to see if his works were on SoundCloud. I’m not a musicologist, so I’m not going to attempt to classify or categorize him. I would instead reference you to this excellent review and in-depth article on Roberts’s album Leaf Metal.

What I hear when I listen is a complex play of textures, especially in the strings, that creates a thick weave of sound around the listener. It is bold and invigorating to listen to, surprising this listener into paying closer attention. We are so often surrounded by music that lulls or matches our heartbeat (after all, rock, hip-hop, EMD, pop–it’s mostly 4/4). We need music that wakes us up and holds our attention until we arrive at the silence.

As always, please support the artist when you can. Here’s a link to buy the CD on ArchivMusic.com.

Adam Roberts: Leaf Metal CD

 

Pasiphae Verses, for ten wind instruments

 

Shift Differential, for violin and viola

 

Strange Loops, for chamber orchestra and electronics

 

Artist: David Cloyd

Artist: David Cloyd

Song: Never Run + others

Somehow I stumbled on to his cover* of the well known Radiohead track Weird fishes/arpeggi and liked it so much that I started to listen to the rest of the album, Unhand Me, you fiend! on Spotify. It’s an older album, released 2009, but as good an example of indie-rock that I’ve run across. My favorite track: Never Run.

If you like what you hear, please support the artist by buying or using a streaming service.

*Glossary: “COVER” – n. When a musician or band performs a song previously made famous by another performer(s). Can also be used as a verb. Example: “She covers Beyonce’s ‘All the Single Ladies’ on her latest album.”

David Cloyd :: NEVER RUN :: From The Album UNHAND ME, YOU FIEND!

 

David Cloyd :: WEIRD FISHES/ARPEGGI

 

David Cloyd :: UNHAND ME, YOU FIEND! :: Album Sampler (plays a handful of songs from the album)

 

Artist: Birdmask

Artist: Birdmask

Song: Hunters by Birdmask + others

Found this song on SoundCloud and immediately fell in love and went to listen to the artist’s other work. Really liked a lot of it and sharing it here. Hunters (first below) has rich harmonies, almost choral-sounding, and then in the solos it’s folk-like. Finally he comes in with this syncopated Latin beat that ties it altogether.

About YT versus Soundcloud: The video for Surrender shows him making the song himself. The last one, Used, has a trippy music video which creates an effective visual of pixelated, psychedelic colorization. But I also provide links to the songs on Soundcloud if you prefer no visuals. If you just want to go directly to the Birdmask page on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/birdmask.

If you like what you hear, please support the artist by buying or using a streaming service.

Hunters – audio via SoundCloud

YouTube:  Hunters (neutral visuals)

 

 

Surrender (These 2 versions are slightly different from each other; both great.)

Surrender –  audio via SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/birdmask/surrender

YouTube: The artist making the song; not music video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usrA68IeDYs

 

Used –  audio via SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/birdmask/used

YouTube: Official music video (trippy psychedelic one)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wo_WfQGsrU

 

Music: The Broods – 2 songs

Music: The Broods – 2 songs

The Broods are a band and fairly new. I caught a bit of the video for their release ‘Mother & Father’ and the song immediately caught me with its hook. It’s floaty and dreamy but with a beat. A combination I often like.

A word about music videos*: I only provide YouTube links to songs because it’s an easy, free and legal way to share the song. I’m not promoting the music video per se because 9 times out of 10, I’ve not really watched it. On YT, I’ll find a playlist I want to listen to, turn it on and do other stuff on the computer and have no idea what’s on the video. However for this blog, I’ll usually try to link to vids that have a neutral visual component+ (like the 2nd vid below). If I do link to the actual ‘music video’ for the song, I’ll have watched it and decided it was fine, that the visuals are not too ‘weird’. That said my ‘weird’ meter may not be yours, so… just saying.

As always, you can check out their music via previews on iTunes, AmazonMusic or plenty of other streaming services. I’m a believer in supporting artists either via direct buys or via streaming services.

Broods – Mother & Father (original music video*)

Broods – Bridges (neutral visual+)

Great new music – Sampha

Great new music – Sampha

This song was a random find on YouTube. I’d started to listen to another artist’s vid, kind of liked it. As often is the case, it belonged to a longer playlist. I was busy, so I let the playlist roll on and these GEMS came on. I know nothing about this artist, but there’s not a lot out there, just a few tracks, though he’s also played on other artists’ tracks.

Song – Happens by Sampha

This one is my favorite. The piano is somewhere between jazz, R&B, and sophisticated pop.

Song – Too Much by Sampha

Super mellow piano and aching vocals. Can’t classify it—which I love.

Enjoy. There are links on the YT vid if you care to buy. Support the artist if you like the music. Also available on Spotify and other streaming services. (Just to be clear: this is not an official promo of any kind. I just found this, liked it and want to share.)