FAULT Music

FAULT Weekly Playlist: Amanda Mair

For fans of Lykke Li, Kate Boy, and Tove Styrke, Amanda Mair is a Stockholm native who gained attention as a teenager with her debut single, “House” in 2011. After an extended hiatus, Amanda announces a new forthcoming EP and teases it with the single “Empty Blockings.” Like so many of her Swedish contemporaries, Amanda displays a flair for breathy vocals over hypnotic drums and glittering synths. We can’t wait to hear more from Amanda, but in the meantime, we asked her to put together a playlist of tracks that inspire her as a musician.

 

 

Lana Del Rey – High by the Beach

“I LOVE Lana Del Rey and have listened to a lot of her music. This song just hit me directly with the quite melancholic melodies and the discreet beat.”

Banks – Gemini Feed

“For me ‘Gemini Feed’ is the perfect balance of dark and lightful. Myself I have a bit hard time writing uptempo cheerful music. With the chorus very direct and open but the verses being more innocent, it’s just the perfect match.”

Mura Masa, Bonzai – What if I go? (Feat. Bonzai)

“This song just makes me wanna dance every single time. Love the bouncy beat and the sound.”

Jai Paul – BTSTU

“I’m a huge fan of Jai Paul. I love his calm falsetto together with the more aggressive sound.”

Emelie Nicholas – Nobody Knows

“This song just hits my heart. The pads are goals and when the sleepy swiping melodies meet the drum machinge likely chorus it’s like releasing a bird or something.”

Lykke Li – Love Out of Lust

“This one just had to be in the list. A big influence since I was young. Especially the airy drums, the big timpani, an innocent cowbell and something I suppose are whistles. Its a sound I really can relate to.”

Susanne Sundfor – Memorial

“I feel like I get sent to heaven, a safe place with soft clouds when I listen to ‘Memorial.'” I love the ecclesiastical vibe.

It’s so mighty?! And the arpeggiator makes it extraterrestrial and the choir is just GENIOUS. The melodies, the vocal, the strings, the piano outro. Why didn’t I write this song? I can’t stop:)”

Saturday Monday, Julia Spada – The Ocean (Feat. Julia Spada)

“Drums, drums and more drums please! The one key to my heart. I like the energetic perky beat together with the soft cold strings.”

The Blaze – Territory

“Another key to my musical heart is a distinctly acoustic piano. And when that adapts of a deep kick, weird vocals and sounds, I’m sold.”

Massive Attack – Teardrop

“This one also have the ingredients of High on the beach. The dark instrumental go down deep but the airy vocal lifts the song and it’s like an on going fight between them. Perfect.”

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Grace Weber channels old school soul in her new single “More Than Friends” (FAULT Premiere)

Do you remember those paper “fortune cookies” all the kids were making in grade school? You would pick two numbers out of a randomly pre-selected set as determined by your all-knowing paper crafting friend. Each of the four corners would open to reveal some deep dark secret or foreshadow something to come. It was the Magic 8 ball before Magic 8 balls were a thing.

Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent, but also totally relevant when we’re talking about Brooklyn-based singer and Grammy Award winning artist Grace Weber and her new single “More Than Friends,” which we’re happy to premiere on FAULT today. The artwork features said paper craft fortune cookie, and the track itself exudes a nostalgic longing, expressed through Grace’s old-school soul vocals, and minimal composition. Soft guitar plucks, thoughtful synths and Grace’s vocal acrobatics make “More Than Friends” a tune of tunes. Stream it below.

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In conversation with with electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling

It’s not often that you see violist captivate the mainstream but ever so often, a musician breakthroughs and is able to capture the same emotional connection as any vocalist has with their audience. One person for whom this tale rings true is Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey Stirling is one of the biggest artist development breakthrough stories in recent years. A classically trained violinist from Gilbert, Ariz., Lindsey has entered a futurist world of electronic big beats and animation, leaping through the music industry with over 9 million YouTube subscribers, over 1.7 billion views on her YouTube channel, Billboard chart-topping hits and sold-out tours worldwide.  

Her successes don’t only live on the internet either, her Crystalize album reached Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Chart and Classical Album Chart once more cementing Lindsey’s place within the music industry. With a new album entitled “Warmer In The Winter” featuring collaborations with Sabrina Carpenter, Becky G, Trombone Shorty, and Alex Gaskarth, the album features ten Christmas classics as well as three original songs. We caught up with Lindsey to discuss the above, and so much more! 

 

Being classically trained in violin, was it an organic transition to incorporate electronic production into your music?

It was a gradual, experimental yet natural process that brought my music to where it is today. After playing classical music my whole life I realized I didn’t want to just play what was on a page; I didn’t want to play songs that had been played for hundreds of years, exactly the way they had been played for hundreds of years. I wanted to be a creator. So I started to experiment with tons of different styles. I joined an indie rock band, toured with a country band, dabbled in hip-hop, played in a Celtic fiddle group, and finally was ready to create my own sound.

You’ve been very open with your writing process and discussing the dark experiences you had to draw from to create Brave Enough. How did it feel to lay so much of yourself bare on the record?

There is a fine line between being vulnerable and oversharing and it is a hard line to draw. How much is inspiring and how much is too much? I had so much that I was feeling when I wrote Brave Enough and in a way it felt inauthentic to write about anything else. These were the thoughts and emotions that weighed heavy on my heart. I decided that if I thought these emotions, songs and stories could inspire or help others, it was worth sharing.

I have been given such an amazing gift; when I share a piece of art, it will be seen or heard by millions of people. That is extremely humbling but also it is a big responsibility. So I figure, if I’m going to say something, I should say something that I believe will help someone.

Was it made any easier because of your large following of younger fans who could benefit from your experience or was it harder because you were shattering the previous perception of your well being?

I don’t want to be seen as the perfect happy girl who hides behind filters and edited photos. I think it is so important to show that everyone struggles. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, everyone has times of low self-esteem, I think every woman has looked in the mirror and disliked what she saw in the reflection. I’m not saying these are good things, but they are real and if these feelings make you feel broken or different then it is harder to have hope that we can move past them. I have always tried to be open about my struggles. I’ve shared my history with anorexia and depression and my heart breaks that came from the passing of my father and best friend. When I was at my lowest points, I found hope and courage knowing that I wasn’t alone so I shared my stories to hopefully give courage to others.

Your music videos are so in tune with your cinematic violin arrangements – when you’re writing a piece are you always considering which direction the visuals will take or does that come after the composition is complete?

It goes both ways, sometimes I get the video idea before I even have a song for it and then I write the song just so I can make the video. That is how I wrote shadows, lost girls, mirage, and others. Sometimes I get the video idea while I’m writing the song. That happened while I was writing Master of Tides, roundtable rival, etc. And sometimes I figure out the video idea later.

Where do you draw musical inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from my music from my faith, I write about the person I was, and the person I am trying to become, I write about the times I fell down, and I write a lot about what it feels like to persevere through trials.

What is your favourite tour story?

We went riding Segways in Prague. It was the coolest thing ever.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

Honestly, the highlight is that I still get to plan new adventures for my musical journey. I am currently planning my Christmas tour and I walked onto the stage set today for the first time. I drew the set on a lined piece of scratch paper months ago, and yet there was in front of me, filling the stage and looking amazing. We fitted the costumes that my stylist and I had meticulously designed, we worked on choreography. I am just so full of gratitude. I can’t believe that my dream came true; that I continuously get to dream big and create music, shows and videos that I am extremely proud of. That is the continuous highlight of my career.

What is your FAULT?

My fault is that I’m a perfectionist and workaholic – I need to learn to take more time to myself!

 

 

Don’t Tell Me “Real Music” Is Dead When Jacob Banks Is Selling Out Venues Worldwide

 

Words & Photography: Miles Holder

You hear it all the time, “oh real music is dead”, “the industry isn’t what it used to be”. You hear it from those joyfully reminiscing on the heydays of Aretha, Gladys and Muddy Waters, you hear it from those inside and outside of the industry, and of course, you hear it from people who just want to feed into the false economy that vocal talent isn’t worth dust anymore. I say this to anyone we ever interview, I say it to anyone who thinks themselves an authority in the music industry, and I say it to you if you believe that young musicians aren’t slaying it night after night with powerhouse vocal performances – believe me, they are.

You might be asking why this article comes across so hyped up, what life-changing performance did I witness that has led to this passionate “come at me bro” review? Well, I’ll tell you! It was Jacob Banks playing to a soldout crowd at London’s Village Underground.

Opening act Joy Crookes, while small in stature captivated the room with her sultry and hypnotising singing voice. While only 18 years of age, the Elephant & Castle native has the stage presence of an artist far beyond her years. Exclaiming “I do this all for fun” as she played arguably her best-known tracks ‘Sinatra’ and ‘Bad Feeling’. It was her final track, ‘Power’, which truly set the crowd ablaze. In her soft speaking voice Joy began by telling the crowd, “I think that all artists should stand for something”, but ‘Power’ isn’t a whaling battle-cry anthem you might expect from the name, nor did it need to be for the message conveyed. Joy’s vocal control and her delicate grip on the melody had the crowd clinging on to every note she sang. Lyrics ‘You got bitches, you got hoes, We the people, and we know, All we want is to be accepted’, delivered so eloquently arrested every listener in the room and lyrics ‘I sing, you can’t take my power’ left us all shouting a resounding “Amen!”

Then, came the main event, Mr Jacob Banks. Starting his set with ‘Worthy‘ from his 2013 record ‘The Monologue’, (a track I presumed he would end on) it was only the beginning of what would be an epic show. We’ve all come to love Jacob for his soulful voice and blues revival on recorded tracks but live; there’s a whole new layer of grit in his voice that I for one hadn’t heard before. On the small stage, Jacob brought the audience to church, becoming the church chorus, conductor, alto, bass, soprano, pews and all. When ‘Unholy War’ rolled around, hands instinctively shot up and waved as Jacob boomed ‘Wade in the water’. Jacob also played a new and unreleased tracks, a fast-paced jazz infused track leading into an impressive guitar solo by Daniel Byrne. The whole performance was sublime, ‘Rainy Days’ merged into ‘Dear Simone’ so seamlessly and when Jacob returned for his encore, ‘Cahinsmoking’ left us all in awe.

While Jacob’s music transcends any generation divide, I do want to point out from what I could see; the crowd was 80%, young people. Young people who happily parted with their money to listen to Jacob’s and Joy’s FAULTless voices. Two days later and the whole performance still echoes in my mind, and I’m sure the same goes for everyone there – “real” vocalists still exist, and not in the dark corners of dilapidated blues houses! They’re selling out large venues in London to New Orleans and if anyone tells you that “real musicians” don’t exist in modern music, tell them that on the contrary, they’re just not looking in the right places.

FAULT Weekly Playlist: LuvAbstract

Ohio native LuvAbstract first delighted listeners this past Spring with ‘Risk’, a track that emanated a full-blown YOLO mentality. His latest single ‘Driveway’ tells the personal tale of a goodbye that perhaps was a little too premature; something which everyone can indeed relate to. It’s an uplifting song that communicates the innocence of such a powerful moment.

Both ‘Risk’ and ‘Driveway’ comes off LuvAbstract’s forthcoming EP, which is due out next month. Before then, we asked him to share some of his current favorite tracks. Listen in below.

Jon Bellion – Luxury

“This was the first song I heard from Jon a few years ago. The emotion of the music and the lyrics resonated with me.”

Jessie Reyez – Kiddo

“This song talks about certain parts of the industry that need to be addressed. As long as we keep quiet, things will never change for the better.”

Raf Riley – Summer

“The way I took this song is, ‘Don’t wait for the perfect time. Just go for it.’ Whatever your ‘it’ is, stop waiting for the perfect storm to come. Because it won’t. Just go for it!”

LuvAbstract – Lost Girls

“I’ve been making music for years now. This was the first song that got international attention. This was the first time I told a real story and opened up. I am forever grateful to this song.”

Amine – Spice Girl

“I love the playful yet intricate lyrics and the effortless yet powerful vocals. Amine truly understands how to make a song.”

Kyle – Don’t Wanna Fall In Love

“I love love songs and break up songs. Kyle makes the perfect breakup song while using a Jane Child sample.”

Halsey – Control

“The lyrics of the hook are powerful and motivating. ‘I’m bigger than my body…. I’m meaner than my demons…Who is in control’ However the music behind the lyrics suggests a sad tone to those lyrics. So she basically is trying to convince herself that she is in control. I love the layers of meaning in this song.”

Melanie Martinez – Dollhouse

“Melanie is a conceptual artist. The message behind this song is beautiful. And the way she personified the message was amazing.”

Kehlani – Down For You (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)

“I absolutely love duets and Kehlani and BJ perfectly executed this one.”

6lack – That Far

“I miss the good ol’ days where hip-hop artist made music when they were feuding. This song is clearly a diss song to someone. Rather than going to social media and yelling, he stuck to his true guns, Music. Not only is it honorable to leave it in the music, but if you take out the concept of the beef, this is still a great song.”

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FAULT Magazine Meets Sorcha Richardson

 

 

Dublin born, Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Sorcha Richardson first hit our Radar back in 2015 with the release of her critically acclaimed ‘Petrol Station’ and we’ve been hooked ever since. With the release of track ‘Waking Life’ and about to embark on tour with Imelda May, we caught up with Sorcha to find out more about her career, music, life, future and of course, FAULTs.

You’re about to set off on tour with Imelda May, excited?

I can’t wait!  Rehearsals have been so much fun. I’m excited to travel with the guys in my band. I’ve played in Cork a handful of times but it will be my first time playing the rest of the cities. And the venues are incredible. Some of the nicest in Ireland. I can’t wait to see Imelda’s show too.

Do you find your songs take on new meaning and experiences when you perform them live to a crowd?

Yeah there’s a few in the set that feel extra special to play live.  Waking Life is one.  I wrote it when I was feeling a bit dissatisfied with life and so it feels very triumphant to play it to a room full of people.   There’s another song in the set that isn’t out yet, which I wrote about leaving Dublin for New York and the consequences of that decision on my relationships with the people I left behind here.  That’s a special song to me anyway but it has an added weight when I perform it in Ireland.

You’ve been performing for many years now, what’s been your toughest hurdle to climb in your progression as an artist?

I used to have such bad stage fright and I really didn’t enjoy performing because of it. All throughout school I played the drums in bands and never ever thought of myself as a singer.  So when I moved to New York and decided I wanted to sing these songs I’d been writing, I felt so vulnerable to be at the front of the stage with a microphone rather than at the back behind a drum kit. It took a lot of really bad gigs to get over that fear. And it still comes back every now and then, usually if I haven’t played a show in a while. But now I really love performing, especially the full band shows. They kind of just feel like a party.

Waking Life touches on hope, dreams and the realism of “life isn’t always how we planned it” and lyrically it’s very cinematic “flowers dying in the kitchen” “wrapped your fingers around my bleeding heart like branches overgrow” – would you say the visual aspect of lyricism enters your mind much when you song write?

100%. Writing songs is so visual for me  It’s almost like I’m watching a moving in my head as I write.  Sometimes I’m trying to capture that visual and translate it into words. Other times I’ll know that a lyric feels right because of how vividly I can see it in my head.  Even when I write about very concrete memories, it’s like they take on an altered, distorted shape in my brain.  Like a reimagined version of events that’s almost as vivid as the real thing.

Is it hard to find inspiration when you’ve got such a unique artistry or do you just find it in places outside of simply the realm of music? 

Sometimes I just don’t feel that creative. But there’s lots of things outside of music that inspire me – a lot films, books, photography. I like reading and watching interviews with musicians or writers, even if they’re not talking about music. It’s just fascinating to me to hear different people’s turns of phrases.  There’s times when I’ll be on the train and overhear a snippet of a stranger’s conversation and that finds its way into a song.

You’re Irish born but you’ve lived in NYC for a while now, do you still feel a close connection to Dublin as home, see NYC as home or neither and feel slightly displaced in both?

Dublin will always be home.  Even spending these last few months here has been amazing cause I’ve been able to have a bit of a routine that feels like normal life rather than coming home for a 2 week holiday.   New York feels very much like home too but I don’t feel anchored to New York in the way that I do with Dublin.  It’s always felt like a very transient place to me.  People come and go a lot. It sometimes just feels like everybody’s passing through.

Right after moving to New York I had this feeling like I was in some kind of no-mans land between the two places.  I had a life in Dublin and a life in New York and they felt really disconnected from each other.  And it felt like the longer I was away from home, the bigger the gap between them would come because I was adding more and more weight to my life in New York and less and less to my life in Dublin.  But in the last 3 years or so, a lot of my Irish friends have also left home, (a good few for New York) and are friends with my New York friends and so the two worlds have kind of blended into each other.  It feels less like I’m displaced in both and more like I’m part of a generation of young Irish people who have all done the same thing.

You’ve mentioned that birthdays are a time where you reflect and reanalyse your wants and goals, what will you be hoping to achieve for when your next birthday roles around?

It was my birthday a couple weeks ago.  I want to have a better party next year.  This time around I had my friends come to my house and then I made a rash decision to go to a bar in the city centre that just resulted in everybody getting separated. In hindsight we should have just gone to the bar on my street.   So I definitely want to have a better party next year. I also want to tour more. I’d be down to live pretty nomadically for a year. Maybe also be making something that resembles an album.  I should also learn to parallel park because driving around Dublin and not being able to parallel park is a nightmare.

 

What is your FAULT?

Not knowing when to leave the party / leaving my phone at the bar

FAULT Weekly Playlist: Saint Clair

Scottish born, London residing singer Saint Clair first got her start gigging as a jazz singer in swanky hotels before opportunities opened up with Marling and Ghostpoet. After providing backing vocals and playing keys for other artists, Saint Clair decided to dive in headfirst into her solo effort. With an affinity for old school records and jazz standards plucked from her earlier musical experiences, Saint Clair’s approach to pop is unlike any other, giving her edge over other artists in the space.

Buoyed along by appositely languid, throbbing production from New York’s Rahm (signed to Terrible Records, also home to Blood Orange, Solange, Empress Of), Saint Clair’s new track “Amnesiac” finds her exploring a sub-conscious world which seems to offer limitless possibilities. Speaking about the track, she says; “‘Amnesiac’ is about desperately anticipating sleep in order to escape reality and live in your dreams instead; being transported to a place where everything is untouched and reimagined. And Rahm captured this world perfectly through his dreamy production.”

“Amnesiac” is a glimpse into Saint Clair’s forthcoming EP ‘D2’ due out in late November and to satiate the anticipation, we asked her to put together a list of some tracks she’s currently listening to.

Rare Silk – Storm
“Rare Silk are an American jazz vocal group from the 80’s and this track is the most stunning, lilting antidote to a long stressful day. Let it transport you straight to a deserted beach, piña colada in hand.”

Kamau (ft No Wyld) – Justfayu
“Discovered this powerful anthem through watching the brilliant ‘insecure’. It’s a perfect blend of old-school soul with more modern, Outkast-esque moments and a lyric that slowly becomes a hypnotic mantra. The video is well worth a watch too.”

Elliot Moss – Without The Lights
“This song is a real dynamic journey flitting between the fragility of the piano and vocal bookends and the synth-heavy electronic production (trap hats and all). The evolving sections and huge climax are reminiscent of James Blake and the track has all the more impact when watched with the truly amazing music video.”

BANKS – Crowded Places
“This song, written with Jack Antanoff, is a real stand-alone heart-wrencher about social anxiety. The lyrics are raw and honest, with an almost stream-of-consciousness delivery. I also absolutely love the vocal production on the verses.”

Kiah Victoria – Titivating
“Produced by New-York’s RAHM (the man behind my latest single, ‘Amnesiac’), ‘Titivating’ is a laid-back, sparse, eclectic soul banger that wraps itself around Kiah Victoria’s flawless vocals. There’s so much to enjoy throughout this track, with unexpected twists and turns and effortless swag and mischief.”

SEVDALIZA – That Other Girl
‘That Other Girl’ is my favourite track to emerge from Sevdaliza’s ’The Suspended Kid’ EP. Her sound is so bold and fearless and she has such an interesting backstory. The visuals are killer too.

THANDII – Cameo
“One of my best mates and an amazing independent musician and writer. ‘Cameo’ is a lush, psychedelic, percussive track with vocals reminiscent of Unknown Mortal Orchestra.”

Vivienne Chi – Vivienne
“‘Vivienne’ an intense, self-reflective, biopic that builds unbearable, almost manic tension until the epic chorus hits you between the eyes. The writing is so clever and visceral and has an almost unnerving quality about it; she let’s you into this intimate part of herself, like listening to someone unravel. Musically I feel like Kate Bush and The White Stripes have had a love child.”

Chloe x Halle – Red Lights
“Couple of little genius sisters who write, play and produce most of their stuff. Their vocals blend so beautifully and I love how their delivery has an annunciated quality, which gives it almost a classical or old time musical theatre sound. This track is pulsating yet dreamy with beautiful harmonies and super cool understated electronic drums.”

ANDERSON .PAAK – Put Me Thru
“This whole record has almost worn the needle down on my vinyl player. ‘Put Me Thru’ is an arbitrary choice as I could have chosen any track off ‘Malibu’. He’s got a bit of a Midas touch as all his collabs (Knxwledge, Dre, Kaytranada, Goldlink) have been amazing too. He’s also a charming and brilliant live musician. Give the rest of us a chance ey Andy?”

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Detroit rockers Filmspeed takes us through their “Hexadecimal” album track-by-track

Two parts Motown, one part Tinseltown, all parts moving. This is how Detroit power trio Filmspeed describe their intricate sound. Comprised of Craig Broomba (vocals, guitars), Nick Stout (bass, guitar, backup vocals), and Oliver Dobrian (drums, backup vocals), Filmspeed combines blood pumping anthems, melodic hooks, and soulful grooves to create a sound that is uniquely their own, as evident in their album “Hexadecimal.” The name stems on a reflection of memories and past events that tell a story from your point of view. The band explains, “[memories] always comes in bits and pieces like chopped up scenes from a movie about yourself. As more crazy things happen in this life, the more you’re living at the speed of a film; Filmspeed.”

We asked Craig, Nick, and Oliver to take us through the album, track by track to get a better idea of where the music comes from. Read on!

Anywhere But Here
This jam was written to be exactly that, a jammm. It’s inspired by windows down, sunny sky, radio blasting, with the lil lady riding shotgun and belting out Hair Metal songs at the “Get Off My Lawn” crowd. At moments when I’m happiest does a song like this come out.

We tend to open up live sets with this track, so it made most sense to kickstart the album. Kind of feels like loading up the cannon and then lighting the fuse. It’s always our secret desire to be that very song you’re belting out on your sunny drive.

Just My Luck
Ever thought to yourself, “What the f^ck are the odds of this sh*t!?” How ‘bout daily? How about so often you’ve lost the reflexes to even shrug? Ok, you’re almost there. Call it fate, call it God’s will, call it the universe, but don’t call it coincidence.

I may be one of the biggest skeptics, one of the biggest cynics you are likely to meet, however when things line up the way they tend to do in this life, it’s very difficult to deny some kind of bigger plan going on. For most people, the shock never wears off so it’s not as easy to connect the dots. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, this type of thing happens so often that I might as well write a song about it. We ended up choosing this track as our 2nd single. With the sarcastic swagger, it’s a nice redirect towards a bit more attitude.

There’s A Way
I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with time since I was a little kid. It is the only resource an individual has that is perpetually diminishing. Nothing is forever and no one can offer you extra time. This song is a reflection of the anxiety that comes with building this music career in a constant state of crippling urgency. Everything needs to be done yesterday. The album should’ve been out two years ago. This song was written almost three years ago.

Funny enough, the working title for this track was “Running”, that’s just with the vibe of the music made me want to do. Since everything about this career is so rushed, its easy to talk about the subject on a track that feels both urgent and unstoppable. At multiple times in my life I’ve had to deal with anxiety, depression and insomnia. This song helps bleed the lines, if you will, as a mantra to “Get your mind made up and your feet still running. We know there’s a way.”

Why Don’t We
This is the song we play to get singles in the crowd to start mingling. The 2nd verse begins
“The last call’s in a few. It’s one for me, or it’s two for you. Either way I think we’d better sleep it off.” Not a whole lot of hidden meaning there. It’s meant to be a party song.

The beginnings of this song are actually inspired by a cheesy demo drum loop on a cheapy cheap keyboard. It had this kick snare pattern that reminded me a lot of “Tears of a Clown”. Once I ran into a guitar line that complimented it, song took more of a “Money Talks” feel. It reminded me of those minutes at the bar right before they bring the ‘ugly lights’ up, when everyone is making their last sales pitches to wake up in a new bed, most of us have been there. Whether you or not you succeeded is at least two different songs.

I Feel Alright
For years now, I’ve maintained a few personal twists on a cliched statement. “When life hands you lemons, squirt the juice in the eyes of your enemies. If you find yourself without enemies… it’s Martini time.” Whether it’s fueled by powerful intoxication or pure spite of the universe, this song is about keeping it cool while it’s all burning down.

Between family health issues, legal troubles, the endless financial struggle, and the everyday anxiety of being a musician, it’s always tough to identify which one is causing the insomnia on any particular evening. At the height of some of this chaos, I was out and about, gigging with the boys and bumped in to a buddy I hadn’t seen in a while. Catching me right after a set is like kicking the door open during an orgy, neither side of it is prepared. What you’ll get is an out of breath, sweaty, full of piss and bourbon, wide-eyed maniac. Now; standard question when you see someone is, “How ARE you?!”, and although standard replies are widely varied, my instinctual answer was, “Ya know? I feel alright. I feel better than I should.”

It kind of occurred to me then that “the show must go on”, not just for the friend who, I’m sure isn’t looking for a full ‘Katie Couric special’, but for myself as well. Everyone deals with chaos, everyone handles it differently. For my part, I choose to freshen my drink, and give it all the old one finger salute.

Love Me Like Tomorrow
Both Nick and I had parents pass away this past year.
This song is incredibly difficult to explain. I’m still processing any of it.

This past March, I flew in to Detroit from Kansas City after the fight of my life. My sister picked me up from the airport and we went straight to a hotel that she, brother in-law, both nieces, my Mom and her husband were all stuck at for the last week while the power was still out in their neighborhood. My Mom had been battling breast cancer for 5 years and was currently under in-home hospice/palliative care. Although my brother in-law is an RN (and an amazing one at that) no part of a hotel room setup was ideal.

Before this, the last time I had seen my Mom was right before Christmas, and none of us knew if it would ever happen again. When I came through the hotel room doors, I got to see a smile that I’ll never be able to forget. This woman had been bedridden since a brain tumor removal on Christmas eve, she needed help with everything from eating to restroom. When she got the news that I was on my way, she managed to get propped up in the main living room in a recliner facing the door. A little extra context about this woman, my Dad left us when I was 9, you’re looking at a career Mom here.

I arrived the morning of March 11th, by midday March 12th she left with me holding her hand.

We all had these extravagant plans to get her back home that afternoon with or without power at the house. Everybody was getting ready to come over the next day to celebrate. Her birthday is March 13th.

This song was written in an instant.

Media Driven Sheep
I don’t think I have been able to actually watch news programs in over a decade. Anyone that makes money to tell you a story is trying to sell something, and these people profit off tragedy.

We live in an age where weekly outrage is the norm and no one has a trusted source for the truth. To pour salt on that wound, this song was written about 2 years ago, before the whole “fake news” term started conquering the discussion. So long as you have a social media profile, it evidently makes you an expert on any given topic that arouses you. It’s fascinating to see how quickly groups of people can turn on each other just by finding a polarizing topic. We have a broken relationship between society and its media.

It’s important to be informed, but in a generation of instant information, it’s often the first account that people internalize. When your first source is in any way biased, it affects your perception. Since it only takes 140 some characters or less to tell people how you feel in that moment, you yourself help spread the visceral ignorance. The point of this song is to think for yourself and to listen more than speak.

The Rule of 3’s
This one’s written about being kept in the dark by everyone that I had trusted at one time. The lyrics for the song are pointed to a particular moment of reflection. Remembering all the little moves that you didn’t really notice before. All the little clues that we’re right in front of your face. These words are written in retrospect and describe a natural disposition to handle trauma. We had another death in the family around the time when this was first being written.

“Trust when I say I’ve heard it all, I’ve heard it all.”

There’s something about the percussive nature of this music, combined with the switching between common and half time, that stirs up these emotions. It definitely makes for a good live performance.

The Money Game
You learn a lot about a person when you get to see it all play out in a courtroom. I’ve never heard the phrase “a burdensome amount of cash” before. I highly doubt I’ll ever hear it again. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, and it has a long and ugly history of ruining lives.
I don’t think we have time to get into specific detail, if only to protect the names of the guilty.

Of course this track comes directly after the previous one, as the inspiration is directly related. In some parallel universe, things went differently, and I do not have the liberty to speak about it. Thankfully, I’m here singing about this twisted web of fraud, betrayal and putting people at risk for personal gain. There’s an art kid trapped somewhere inside of me that is so giddy about the verses of this song (hint* it has everything to do with the amount of chords).

Everything Is More Fun In the Dark
Scratches, biting, whips, tie downs to bedposts. I don’t necessarily think this one needs spelling out. Just make sure to put a necktie on the doorknob or something.

Bye Bye
The title says it, the lyrics elaborate. This is not a long-sad goodbye. This is a “I hope the door hits you” type of farewell. Don’t sit here and give me the big eyed, teary face drama show, GTFO. If I have a bigger break up than this one, it’ll end in someone dying, so it’s important this one gets the send off it deserves.

It’s way more of a celebration than anything else, it’s a big driving slide guitar jam. This is absolutely a song I would order a bourbon for. I do like this being the last track, because it’s a wonderful anthem of leaving the past behind and prepping for the future.

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