Month: February 2015

Indulging

Everything about this song, everything about this music video is RICH, delicious, and the perfect indulgence. After a night of indulging myself, fancy dinner, drinks and dessert, this song came on and everything was right. A fast-moving car, stallions, a man (wait, no, at second glance it’s a woman!) completely covered in body paint…dark hooded figures, floating crystals, a QUEST! What more could you ask for when indulging in a song. I have been will always be “obsessed” with this song:

This Swedish electric duo has been making music for nearly a decade. They haven’t released an album since 2011 but I don’t care. I’m just glad they exist because without them, there’d be no “Conquest.”

How did this one sneak by?

There is SO MUCH MUSIC OUT THERE? Has anyone else realized that? Well, I’m constantly reminded and it’s truly an overwhelmingly beautiful thing. There will never be a day in the future that there won’t be new music to hear and new artists to uncover, from past or present! This tune crossed my path yesterday evening and I had never heard of song or artist before about 7pm last night:

Black Books is a “southern dream pop” quintet based out of Austin Texas. With one EP and one self-titled full length album out, I don’t know how I haven’t heard them before but better late than never! I can’t wait to explore. “The Big Idea” is off of their self-titled full length album that was released in 2013.

Here is their cover of the classic “Love Fool” which you can download for free! What an excellent musical gift:

Screaming guitars, synth and brass, OH MY!

That’s just to name a few of the instruments in Roadkill Ghost Choir’s arsenal and doesn’t scratch the surface of lead vocalist, Andrew Shepard’s voice and it’s wide range of pitch and tone….AND I can’t forget to mention their hair. Shepard and others in the band can boast for having nearly butt-length locks, something even I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to claim!

The synth quality is more pronounced in their newest album, ‘In Tongues’, whereas their EP, ‘Quiet Light’, is more on the heavy rock side with hints of bluegrass hidden in the raging banjo riffs. Regardless, their music will make you question whether you are truly listening to rock and roll, bluegrass, folk or maybe even a touch of pop or country twang sometimes, depending on what track you’re tasting.

Roadkill Ghost Choir is Andrew Shepard, brothers Zach and Maxx Shepard, Stephen Garza and Kiffy Myers. This quintet of Florida-originating rockers can put on one heck of a show. They passed through Bozeman last summer as headliners. Hollow Wood, whom I’ve mentioned many times before on Music For Lunch, opened for them as the groups were touring together for a bit. Despite the fact that quite a bit of the crowd had hit the sack (yes, I’m saying that most people at the show went home to go to bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t understand) before Roadkill Ghost Choir made it on stage, the Roadkill boys played as if they were playing for a packed house, which, means the world to me as a music fan. AND, they still claimed that they had a blast at the show, playing for small crowds is part of being a musician and part of touring but I still believed they deserved the Filling Station to be packed wall to wall with screaming fans. Maybe next time they come to Bozeman, which I really hope they do.

OK, I’m done blabbing, I promise. Time to get to some music. I’ll start with a favorite of mine off of their new album, which they played in Bozeman last year before the release of ‘In Tongues.’ This track is called “No Enemy”:

One of their biggest hits, which they played on the Letterman show, is “Beggars’ Guild.”

“Beggars’ Guild” is off of ‘Quiet Light’ as is my favorite track of theirs, “Devout”:

If you like what you hear, start hoping they come back! Or show them some love and send them a message!

Greetings from Québec musicians, Maybelleen!

Pierre-Louise Camiré and brother, Charles-Emile Camiré are Maybelleen, a Québec-originating brother duo producing psych-pop-dream-rock. Here, check out this photo they sent me of their top tracks, genre classification included, jotted down on some old fashioned, spiral bound notebook paper:

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These two fellows were kind enough to answer some of my questions about their musical adventures AND send me some photographs from their most recent shoot! Check out the photos below by clicking on one, which will take you to the short gallery:

It’s clear from the interview below that Pierre-Louise and Charles-Emile have a passion for creating new, unique and catchy music for all types of listeners. Their EPs vary greatly from song to song and I can’t wait to see what else this gentleman come up with. My conversations with them and their answers to my interview questions bleed with genuine excitement and true commitment to their mission to travel the world, sharing their sound. Check out what they had to say:

Q: ‘Gold in Our Hands’ came out about a year ago, yes? And now, you’ve just released ‘Stereotypes.’ Where do you see yourselves in another year? Or at least where do you hope to see yourselves?

A: In planes, tour vans, festivals, exciting venues… We want to move and play as much as possible.

Q: Along those lines, it seems like you come up with material rather quickly! Releasing two excellent EPS in a year nearly…Do you feel like you sometimes can’t keep up with your own creativity?

A: Actually, ‘Gold In Our Hands’ became an album through some songs we were putting online and so we started to play them live. ‘Stereotypes EP’ is for us, a closer sound to what Maybelleen really is and it’s only 6 songs out of… 30 others we could pick! We can say that we’re just really surprised of our own creativity!

Q:. Has becoming touring musicians been a dream for you both? If so, when did that dream become something that HAD to become a reality?

A: Some years ago, when our music started to sound like something interesting, we’ve been told by our dad to keep up with that in the most serious way and make it our only reason we wake up in the morning. We realized it was what we had to do in our lives, like anyone who have a career choice. You got to work for this only and it’ll start to grow.

Q: Do you feel your musical influences/inspirations have changed as you’ve started to develop your own sound? Or do you always turn to those same artists who inspired you initially?

A: Our sound is quite like our personality… You develop it as you’re growing up. Even as babies, our lifestyle at this age had an impact on our music today and when it was time to pick up an instrument, it just evoked in a physical way. We certainly have favorite bands which we love but it doesn’t really have an important impact on our sound.

Q: Can you pick two of the most exciting moments you’ve experienced in the last year since the release of your first EP?

A: Our UK tour for sure which inspired us to make ‘Stereotypes’ and the entire song-writing, recording thing of this album. Exciting projects always leads you to another!

Q: Finally, my favorite part of all of this (well, I shouldn’t say “favorite” because I love everything about music so I don’t know if I have a favorite part). If you have the time, could you make a 5 to 10 song playlist that captures your current (within the last few years) favorite songs? Here is Pierre-Louise and his brother, Charles-Emile’s, self-procured playlist! This is your chance to have a listen to what they’re listening to. It starts with Rush and finishes with a track by their very own father, Jean-Francois Camiré :

Q: Oh, one more thing. When do we get to see where you’ll be touring in the US?

A: Things will get more concrete about tour dates soon. We would say in mid-March, we’ll put out more details and exciting news concerning gigs.
Alright musicforlunchers, keep your ears and eyes peeled for Maybelleen in the coming years and don’t forget to check out their two EPs, ‘Stereotypes’ and ‘Gold in Our Hands’, both available for sampling on their soundcloud page:

and their newest EP is available for purchase at their website:

http://www.maybelleen.com/music

Thanks for your time, Maybelleen and thank you to all of you for reading and listening!

Dreams, free socks and some laughter for breakfast

This morning I fell back asleep after being mostly awake which, for me, means I’ll have strange and vivid dreams. This particular time the dream was more on the strange and pointless end of the dream spectrum but despite that, it left me with a sort of sinking feeling. The only good part about this particular dream was that my friend was giving away some of her clothes and she was giving me a bunch of great free socks. This likely entered my dream world this morning due to the fact that yesterday I did end up with some excellent free socks, generously given to me by a lovely friend. I never really woke up this morning and was kind of in a funk but what did finally wake me up was telling my buddy who’s a cashier at the grocery store about my free socks dream. This struck him funny, we’re talking fits of laughter, which of course made me laugh, pleasantly nudging me out of my confusing dream state.

Anyway, what inspired me to mush the dream, the socks and the laughing together for this post was this remix of a wonderful song by Hundred Waters:

It sounds like dreaming, don’t you think? Hype Machine is premiering a remixed version of their latest album, ‘The Moon Rang Like a Bell’ and the “Out Alee” track really stood out to me considering me dreamy morning. Check out the whole album here:

http://hypem.com/premiere/hundred+waters

Hundred Waters has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now. They have a sound that is not like anyone else. A lot of their music is fantastical and ethereal; Nicole Miglis’ vocals dancing up and down, side to side. Their first self-titled album is a must-listen. Here’s a favorite of mine from that album…it sort of makes me feel like I’m dreaming, too:

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This is a screen shot of what greets me everyday I turn on my lap top (click it! you can read the quotes and see all the music listed):

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There are four sticky notes: two with quotes that I need to see everyday and two that are PACKED with albums/songs by various musicians that I CAN’T under any circumstance neglect to purchase at some point. The list gets longer and longer every day but a few artists/albums/songs get knocked off the list every so often; usually around pay day!

Anyway, I knocked a few off this morning on a whim, one of which was Amen Dune’s new album, ‘Love’, released May of last year. The more I listen to it, the more I fall for every song. This was the first track I heard on the Hype Machine back in December when they did their annual Zeitgeist:

This song has big furry, warm, safe arms that wrap around me. Without even thinking, the second this song starts, I find myself with eyes closed, swaying back and forth. That’s just me, though…hopefully that big, furry, warm, safe arms comment wasn’t too much….

Anyway, Damon McMahon, originator of Amen Dunes has been releasing music since 2006 but it wasn’t until after he released his solo album, ‘Mansions’ in 2006, that he became Amen Dunes. Now based out of Brooklyn and incorporating a wide variety musically-talented collaborators and friends, McMahon’s ‘Love’ is a masterpiece. Damon McMahon is pictured below. I wonder if he has big, furry, warm, safe arms….? Maybe that was too far now.

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Check out “I Can’t Dig It”, a slightly louder track from the album:

Well, here’s to knockin’ some more off of my never-ending musical checklist!

Thanks, Friends!

Sometimes I just have to take a step back and reflect on how gosh darn fortunate I am to have some of the greatest friends in the entire world. This playlist is for all of my new friends, old friends, current friends, friends I haven’t made yet, friends who don’t even know they’re my friend but they are, friends who I unfortunately don’t keep in touch with as well as I want, friends….friends, friends, FRIENDS! I adore you all and a lot of you either directly recommended a song on this playlist, wrote a song on this playlist (that’s you, Mr. Leimer!), or somehow inspired me to add it to this playlist. And, hold onto your hats because this is a wild one…

Thank you to you all!

A very special post: Cheers, Connor Leimer!

This is my first interview with a musician and it’s pretty much a dream come true. Nothing makes me happier than getting inside their brains…trying to understand how they work, why they work, where the magical tunes they create come from AND getting a peak into their daily lives! Musicians are humans, too. Who would have thought?! I have some other really exciting interviews in the works (which I can hardly wait to share with all of you!) but this is the first reach its completeness so that I can share it in its entirety with you. I hope you all appreciate how exciting this is for me. Thank you Connor for your time and music. Cheers to you and all of those who love having “music for lunch” and cheers to the others I’ve touched base with. I can’t wait to share your stories with everyone else! Anyway….here goes:

Connor Leimer, a wildly talented, life-loving, open, music-making human from Kansas City, MO willingly (more than willingly, he volunteered with enthusiasm) let me send him a few rudimentary questions I had about his music and his musical experiences.

The interview is below with my questions/comments in bold and Mr. Leimer’s answers in italics.

According to the bio on your website, you were a junior in high school February of 2014. That leads me to believe you’re currently a senior in high school this year. Is that true?

Yes this is my senior year of High School. I’m the class of 2015 from Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, KS

If so (feel free to ignore this question because when I was a senior in high school, I dreaded this question), what do your post-graduation summer and following years have in store for you? At least what do you have planned.

After graduation I am planning on going to college in Nashville. There’s an awesome amount of talented musicians going to this school called Belmont University so I may end up there. This summer I will also release my first ever full-length album which is exciting because I’ve only done two 5 song EP’s so far. I’m working with an up and coming producer named Max Griffith who is transforming my songs and helping each song reach its full potential. This will be the first record that I’ve taken my time in producing and recording to make sure it’s the best it can be. We just released “6 Days Ago” on January 1st, 2015 at Midnight to commemorate the New Year and it’s gotten an amazing response. I’m hoping to make this record my best work yet.

 I saw you were part of the Folk Alliance International Conference about a year ago AND that you were one of the youngest participants. The FAI Conference is a one of the largest folk gatherings in the world! I’d love to hear about how you were able to get involved in this conference and two (I’m sure it’s difficult to limit the highlights to two!) highlights from that experience.

Folk Alliance was an amazing experience for me not just because it was in my hometown of Kansas City but also because I had the opportunity to perform on two stages rather than just one. The first was with a local label called “Money Wolf Music” of which I had submitted a few songs into their “Young Songwriters Contest” and somehow came out victorious by winning the contest (I think I submitted my songs “doorbell” and “driving”). The reward for winning was a spot on their Folk Alliance Stage- which was actually a stripped down, acoustic performance in a hotel room so it was a very unique experience- unlike anything I’d ever done. Everyone who had a pass to the rooms upstairs rode the elevators from floor to floor wandering from room to room (it took place in The Westin Hotel). Playing in a hotel room before a live audience was super intimate. Like the most intimate show I’ve ever played probably. Almost like a living room set- dimmed lights, candles, people sitting shoulder to shoulder on beds as if they were on a sofa, very casual, and homey. The shows upstairs in the hotel rooms were my favorite. I also played the KC Radio Live stage in one of the conference rooms on the main floor that had a PA and sound system. So I had a taste of both.

 The highlight for me was the hotel room shows and seeing the Kansas City community and music scene come together for a weekend of music- I’m a huge fan of some of the local bands here.

What was the very first song you wrote (that’s present on one of your two EPs)?

The first song that was good enough to put on an EP was “The Wanderer” which is the second song on “Like it’s June EP (2013)”. I actually recorded it in my friend’s basement in the dead of winter- 2012 I think… so sophomore year of High School. I played all the instruments on the track and my friend Ben Kaster who recorded it sang some backup harmonies. It’s still one of my favorites to this day.

 If you were to align this “first song” with one of your most recent songs (whether it be your newest single, “6 Days Ago”, or something from ‘Coast to Sea’), what kinds of differences in sound, texture, mood would you notice? I suppose I’m wondering if looking back on your music, you can see some stark evolution in your sound! I apologize; I’ve been reading a plethora of journal articles about proteins, viruses, evolution etc for school so I feel like I’m putting music in a “science” box right now! Ha!

 Haha science rocks! My sister is a bio major so I hear ya…

 There has definitely been an evolution to my sound. I make a point of it to write in various genres- like with “Coast To Sea” I wanted to make a folk record, something circa 1960’s. Almost emulating Dylan or Neil Young. So it was a record heavily influenced by that early songwriter stage I felt I was in and the modesty of folk music. (Other influences were John Mayer’s “Born & Raised”, the whole Mumford & Son craze, The Head & the Heart- & all that new age acoustic folk music that came out for a while)

 I think the biggest difference between old songs and new songs is the recording process – now everything I do is in a professional studio, it’s mixed to our liking and then mastered to be highest quality. Good production goes a long way.  

It’s quite obvious from the long list of band members that you work with a large group of people to create your sound. I’m extremely fascinated with the music-writing process (as I can’t really read music…or write it). How do you take so many people with so many talents, including yourself, and come up with something so cohesive and easy on the ears, like “Thinking About You”, for example? That little guitar riff twirled through my head all night last night! That is so amazing to hear! So glad you like that hook! Fantastic.

 I like to write in all different styles/genres- without boundaries. For instance, sometimes the songs call for a banjo part like in “Thinking About You” and other times the songs call for a blasting horn section like in “6 Days Ago”. I simply try to find good players who can bring that instrumentation into the studio and contribute to the feel of the song. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be friends with most of these musicians so it’s always a good time and never like this weird scenario where you’re in a studio and you don’t know the musicians in the booth playing your songs. It’s been awesome to include all sorts of my friends in the recording process and to give them opportunities to contribute to an original work. It’s also a product of living in a place like Kansas City, which has a robust music scene, great talent, and tons of players to collaborate with.

Middle of the Map Fest: What a line up! Not only are there some truly fantastic musicians on there, it’s incredibly diverse and congratulations on being part of it! What are you anticipating the most in this festival?

 I’m really looking forward to getting out there and meeting a bunch of the bands and watching their sets. I’m really just a huge fan of music before anything else, so it should be a great time to connect with all sorts of musicians from around the country and discover some great new music. I’ll be playing in a quaint little record store called Mills Record Company so I’m hoping to fill the place up and play some tunes that people can hum along to. Some of my favorites on the lineup are Iron & Wine, She’s A Keeper, Gracie Schram & Hembree.

Clearly music has been part of your life for a long time. Tell me about your first experiences with music and when you fell for it. Are your first memories of playing or listening to music? Feel free to be as vague or specific as you please!

 Initially I was a drummer and I did that for quite a while actually, say about 7 years or so (ages 7-14). Then I started listening to this indie band from the East Coast called “Dispatch” and all I wanted to do was play guitar and write songs. So as the story typically goes, I picked up my dad’s old 1970’s Guild acoustic and started writing. By my freshmen year of high school I’d say I had about ten original songs that I had recorded on my iphone 4 and released online with the title “The Telephone Takes”. They have thus since been removed from the Internet to save my dignity, pride and reputation (haha).

Okay, I’m winding down here, I promise! Can you give me a synopsis of your inspirations (past, present or both) and influences? It’d be cool if you could create a short 5 to 10 song playlist on Soundcloud or by some other means or simply giving a list is fine as well! I’m always curious about what’s bouncing between the ears of music-makers, like yourself, I enjoy.

 Here’s some links of bands I listen to! Hope you dig!

I created a small playlist of his favorites. Here it is (I didn’t alter it in any way):

 Alright, Connor! I think that’s all for now. If there is anything you want to add or talk about that I didn’t touch on OR anything you don’t want me to include, just let me know! This is very casual and I just want to learn more about you and your music so I can share with whoever out there is perusing musicforlunch.

 Thank you again for your time! I can’t wait to see (hear!) what you have to say!

 We have a new song called “A Girl Named June” coming out on Valentines Day 2015 (this Saturday) so be on the look out for that. Much more to come in 2015! Can’t thank you enough for your time on this interview. Best of luck to the blog! I will be sharing it. xoxo -connor

OK, everyone! You heard him: keep an ear out for his new single coming out this Valentine’s Day. Yep, that’s right: February 14th, tune in. 

For more of Mr. Leimer’s music, go here: A – F I have links to his Soundcloud, Facebook, and Website under the letter “C” for Connor Leimer of course!

An old favorite

This song always seems to find me at just the right time and it is an old favorite.It doesn’t matter if I’m in a good mood or a bad mood, if it’s day or night, if it’s a gloomy or bluebird day; this song always applies. Short and simple post today to go along with the short and simple things that are happening in my brain.

This is Washed Out. “A Dedication” is off of their 2011 album ‘Within and Without.”