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Swear and Shake

25 Nov

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The first time I wrote about Swear and Shake was in May of 2011. I remember they contacted me, sending over a video performance of their song, The Light. It took less than a minute to become enthralled by their music. There are many things I love about this band, a big one being the harmonies shared between Kari Spieler and Adam McHeffey. Over the years, Swear and Shake have become a staple in my music collection. I love uniqueness in music, and S&S defines uniqueness. Their ability to perform a song so effortlessly has made me a lifelong fan. Are you intrigued yet?

Sounds That Matter has started the new format and that means Monday brings Short & Sweet Questionnaires. Get to know Adam and Kari better and jump on the Swear and Shake bandwagon.

The song I’d love to cover is:
Adam: “Nick of Time” by Bonnie Raitt

One of the things that connects me to a song is:
Kari: The first thing I connect to when listening to music is the vocals, but I feel most connected to a song when the story is something really interesting. For instance, The Last Bison’s song “Switzerland” seems like an amazing adventure through the freezing cold to find warmth and hospitality. I love that and it transports me somewhere else.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is:
Adam: When you see people singing a long to your song. There’s no feeling like it, especially when you’re a thousand miles from home.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be:
Kari: I would love to be the kind of songwriter that writes outside of their own personal experience. I often write about heartache and friendship, things that really happened to me, sometimes with a twist. I’d love to be a “craft” writer—not just an emotional one.

Today’s top 40 music lacks:
Adam: I’d have to listen.
Kari: More music that takes a risk and uses more creativity. I’ll tell you who’s doing great: Sam Smith! I think he’s killing it. And I’m also extremely proud of Meghan Trainor. I think her song “All About That Bass” is unique and special and she deserves all the credit in the world.

Speaking of cover songs, S&S recently released a video covering “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure. Prepare to fall in love.

Barely Blind

6 Jan

There are certain days where all I want to listen to is upbeat music that will instantly perk me right up. Growing up, all I used to listen to was Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, Punchline, and so many more of those types of bands. Still to this day, I find myself searching for their music to rock out to and all of the memories flood back into my mind. Some of the bands that come out with their version of pop/punk music these days, aren’t at all worth listening to. Barely Blind is a complete different story. Their music reminds me of the wonderful old days. They create the pop/punk music that I completely loved growing up, but it’s also new and fresh. If you have yet to hear them, take a moment and listen to their stuff. Right now, you can download their complete album, Wilder Child and a Thousands Suns, for free (click link here). Get to know Barely Blind’s drummer, Will Smith, a bit better with this edition of the Short and Sweet Questionnaire.

The song I’d love to cover is, Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. We will cover this song!

Today’s music is very original and exciting. Every day a new artist pushes music even farther. It makes being an artist/musician much harder but it also makes music even better! The only thing we lack these days is optimism throughout the industry.

One of the things that connects me to a song is the song. Its not something I am capable of putting into words but when a good song comes through me I love it. Genres have nothing to do with it.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is the connection and the energy shared. When it really starts to happen its the best feeling in the entire world for everyone in the building.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be learning more and slowing down. I find my self so anxious and so obsessed that I cant even let my thoughts come through.

Here is, Silver Lake, a song off of the free album.

SPELLS

29 Dec

Sometimes you just need music to sway to, and I’ve got just the thing. Trevor Tillery aka SPELLS is creating music that is so refreshing, it’s better than a cold beer on a hot day. To be honest, I’m not usually a fan of the electro-pop genre, but when I heard SPELLS, it changed the way I thought about the type of music and it had be tapping my feet in no time. I recently had Trevor fill out the STM questionnaire to get a better idea of who this man is that’s stirring up the listening hearts of many (including myself).

The song I’d love to cover is Bittersweet Symphony. But it would have to be a completely different version or exactly like the record with a full string section. 

Today’s music doesn’t have enough focus and intention.

One of the things that connects me to a song is meaningful lyrics, an interesting/beautiful melody, and sonically pleasing.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is forgetting about everything else in life for 30-90 minutes and living in the music and the moment.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be everything. Any musician who thinks they have nothing to improve on is lying. One of the reasons to keep creating and playing is to improve.

Here is “City On A Hill” off of his recent EP, Escapist. For more information on SPELLS and to purchase his music, click here.

Tellison

1 Dec

I have so many people around me telling me what’s great in music, which is fantastic because I am constantly hearing new tunes. Recently, Family Records, an absolutely wonderful music company based in New York, contacted me about a band that they’ve worked with named Tellison. To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous because some of the recommendations that are given to me are not my cup of tea, but alas, I listened to the single that was attached to the e-mail. Tellison is most definitely a band I could fall in love with. Witty lyrics, fantastic melodies, and the vocals are all the rage. I instantly forwarded the single on to a few friends, exchanged e-mails with Family Records, and from that point on, I became a Tellison Fan. If I’ve grabbed your interest, read a quick survey lead singer, Stephen H. Davidson, answered for Sounds That Matter to learn a bit more about the man behind Tellison.

The song I’d love to cover is “It’s Okay” by Land Of Talk.

Today’s music doesn’t have enough freakin’ heart.

One of the things that connects me to a song is the way the words are sung.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is the constant impending disaster.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be singing. When some people sing you can’t not listen. I wish I could
have a voice like that instead of plain drone of a lonesome hobo.

Here is the song that won over my heart, “Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart.” Since I know you’ll love it, purchase it here.

Blood and Water

10 Nov

Growing up, I was so into Alternative/Rock music…it’s all I ever listened to. Here lately, it seems like I listen to a lot more Folk/Indie type stuff that when I come across some really great Alternative bands, my ears remember how much it adores that sound. When I listened to Blood and Water for the first time, the likeness was instantaneous. The five-piece is currently living in San Francisco, California and just released their second album, In Character. Here is the short questionnaire that singer, Brad Hagmann answered for Sounds That Matter.

The song I’d love to cover is “Amateur” by Nada Surf. I’ve dreamt of one day covering “Africa” by Toto, but it seems Matt Thiessen beat me to the punch.

Today’s music doesn’t have enough originality.

One of the things that connects me to a song is the honesty of the lyrical content. If a song feels contrived to me, I instantly disconnect. I need honesty, no matter how jarring or upsetting.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is the fact that each song takes on a new identity and meaning with each performance. It’s a chance to communicate exactly how I’m feeling with the audience each night, regardless of the actual set-list.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be to play the guitar better, while doing backflips. That would be rad.

Here is “Secondhand” off of their latest.

For more information on Blood and Water, click here to be directed to their site.

The BGP

3 Nov

Sometimes artists hit the jackpot. They know someone in the music business that gets them ahead of the long never-ending line, they work for years and years and finally get discovered, or they go on national television and enter a contest (not to mention the many other ways of becoming a world-wide success). The BGP entered America’s Got Talent, blew the judges away, and gained many admiring fans along the way. Their newest release, Love and Rent, has captured my attention and I cannot get enough of this fantastic three-piece. Take a dash of The Fray add a bit of Hall & Oates and toss in unbelievable vocals and melodies and you’ve got The BGP. If you’re curious about the front man of The BGP, here is Brandon Ghorley answering this weeks edition of Short and Sweet Questionnaire.

The song I’d love to cover is “Bell Bottom Blues” by Derek and the Dominos

Today’s music doesn’t have enough wit.

One of the things that connects me to a song is the beat.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is someone could literally show up to the show that night, with the intent to commit suicide the next day, and because of the power of the music being performed, their mind could be changed, and their legacy forever altered. One show. One performance. I believe the power is real. I love that.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be: I took a listen to the last BGP record recently (“Love and Rent”) and asked myself some hard questions about the songwriting. While I’m proud of the record, I believe that I can be better as a lyricist; more raw and provocative. I think maybe I went through a faze where I was a little happy-go-lucky.

Enjoy the official video for “Heartbreak Heartbreak.”

Koji

27 Oct

One of my favorites, Koji, is a fantastic artist, activist, and world traveler. Born in Philadelphia, Koji is currently touring the country and making new friends along the way. Being so busy on tour, I had Koji answer a few fun questions below. Read on and enjoy.

The song I’d love to cover is any prelude or nocturne by Frédéric François Chopin.

Today’s music doesn’t have enough real sugar, enough with the corn syrup.

One of the things that connects me to a song is soul.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is quiet.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be guitaring.

Here is Koji covering “Wagon Wheel” originally done by Old Crow Medicine Show.

Matt Hires

20 Oct

Matt Hires has an incredible way of making you forget all of your worries while listening to his music. From Tampa, Florida, he released his album, Take Us to the Start, in 2009 and has been on an endless journey of success since. Matt took a few minutes out of his schedule to take part in the Short & Sweet Questionnaire. Read a few fun facts about the the artist who has everyone singing his lyrics.

The song I’d love to cover is: Well, one of my favorite songs to cover is “(I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes”. But I think I would like to try to cover “Losers” by The Belle Brigade.

Today’s music doesn’t have enough banjo.

One of the things that connects me to a song is melody and lyrics, but mostly melody. If a song has a great melody, then I’m all in.  And it doesn’t have to be a big, over the top, pop melody, but just something that really pulls you into it.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is being able to do what I love to do and (hopefully) having it move people. If the audience is having a good time, then I’m having a good time.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, it would be to learn to play the banjo.

Here is Matt performing one of my favorites, Honey Let Me Sing You A Song, off of his debut album.

Jared Foldy

13 Oct

A new favorite of mine, Jared Foldy, took a few minutes and filled in the blanks of the very first artist inquiry.

The song I’d love to cover is “Holocene” by Bon Iver.

Today’s music doesn’t have enough:

a) Excitement


b) Originality


c) Talent


d) other: All of the above

One of the things that connects me to a song is how a melody pulls me in and how it’s able to change the way I’m feeling.

One of the most exciting things about being on stage is having a chance to show what’s really on my heart through my songwriting.

If I could better myself at one thing, musically, I would like to be a better pianist.

Here’s a fantastic video performance of Jared performing The Fire Started Without You.

For more information on Jared and his music, click here.