Category Archives: +++ mixed vocals (female & male)

KaiserCartel

kaisercartel

On their last.fm bio page, it says “Warm up by the fire with KaiserCartel.”

After reading this, I had to listen to them almost non-stop this month. I’m freezing my ass off, miserable (winter does this to me.. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder), and this music helps greatly. I hate  February. Despise it. It brings back a lot of horrible memories. Namely on 2/7/11, when I lost my higher-range singing voice for almost three years.

Anyway, back to KaiserCartel…. I first discovered them after seeing the great indie film “Liberal Arts”… their masterpiece “Favorite Song” is the last song in the film.

Here’s a Spotify playlist with the album containing “Favorite Song”… enjoy this lovely, simple music.

Angus and Julia Stone (repost)

I’m seeing them TONIGHT (October 29th, 2014) in Philly!
(repost)

I’m listening to a lot of Angus and Julia Stone today. It just calms me down, so perfectly. Their music is incredibly, incredibly simple…. gorgeous male/female vocals (harmonies and separate leads)… the production on all of their albums is pristine, full, warm… it just hits me in the heart and fills my soul in every possible way. Plus, Julia’s hot! (And the same can be said for her bro, too).

They are Australian, and they have countless albums and EPs… you can find nearly all of them on Spotify.

Take a listen to just a few of my favorite songs of theirs:

Mmm…. sigh. There’s actually a Tumblr blog called “fuckyeahangusandjuliastone”…. it makes me chuckle.

Fuck yeah, Angus and Julia Stone, indeed.

Porches

porches-live

Aaron Maine is the voice (and main songwriter) of the band “Porches”, from Brooklyn, NYC. The music of Porches has been described as “bummer-pop”, “sad rock”, etc…… but I feel whatever category they might fit into is largely irrelevant (even though it does help to describe the brilliant music). It’s catchy as hell, but it’s also heavy on the melancholy.

Let’s stick with the word “heavy” for a bit….  Aaron’s voice, to me, sounds incredibly “heavy”, and what I mean by that is… there’s a LOT of emotion/depth/pain in his tone and overall vocal sound (not to mention the great lyrics which are loaded with heart-on-sleeve honesty and soul). I think that’s one of the things I love most about Porches. They just have a heavy and thick sound…. no other words to describe it.

Aaron’s arrangements and chord progressions also are far from garden-variety…. chosen instruments, well-placed dynamics, and liberal use of “space” (and drastically slower tempos, to emphasize certain lyrics) in the songs cannot be understated…. few artists can pull this off effortlessly without sounding contrived.

 

Important side note— Several members of Porches also perform and tour as Frankie Cosmos (Porches bassist/vocalist Greta Kline is the main songwriter/singer/guitarist in Frankie Cosmos). It’s hard to write about Porches without mentioning the music of Frankie Cosmos, and likewise, it’s impossible to write about Frankie Cosmos, without mentioning Porches (Aaron is the drummer and occasional backing vocalist in Frankie Cosmos). You’ll be reading about Frankie Cosmos in my next entry here (most likely in the next few hours).

frankie cosmos01

 

Without babbling any more… enjoy the wonderful “bummer-pop” of Porches:

 

the video below is one of my all-time favorite live performances of them:

Wheatus

Yep, that band who did “Teenage Dirtbag” from the 2000 movie “Loser”, with Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari.

But oh man, you’re missing out if you haven’t dug through their discography…. ESPECIALLY the “Suck Fony” record, which of course, is a play on words that really means “Fuck Sony” because they were kicked off their label shortly after the immense success of “Teenage Dirtbag” (and the other single, a wonderful cover of Erasure’s 80s hit “A Little Respect”).

Take a listen to “Lemonade” from “Suck Fony” (the lyric video has some inaccuracies, but oh man it’s one of the best songs about cheating ever made) and “The Song That I Wrote When You Dissed Me.”

And, for extra fun… I’ve included “Teenage Dirtbag” (sadly, it’s censored in the second verse… “her boyfriend’s a dick, he brings a gun to school…”). The song was released about a year after the Columbine shootings, so when you hear it on the radio, oftentimes the “dick” and the “gun” will be removed and replaced with turntable scratching).

Wheatus has been through a lot of hardships and have always come out with their pop songwriting genius, and perverted sense of humor intact. Two thumbs way the fuck up.

Minor Alps (Juliana Hatfield & Matthew Caws from Nada Surf)

 

There are a few major musical influences of mine… that I’ve always cited as my main, main musical influences. I would say the main list is always: Juliana Hatfield, Nada Surf, Ida, The Album Leaf, Azure Ray, The Smiths…. and a few others.

The fact that fate brought Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws together to make music is just a beautiful, beautiful thing. Juliana Hatfield has been a huge musical influence of mine for over 20 years. And I loved Nada Surf when they first came out, but when I realized that Nada Surf was becoming better & better with every single album… they quickly became one of my favorite bands.

These two were just destined to make music together. They are both indie rock legends. And I think they’re about the same age (mid-4os).

I love when the DJ says “I feel like I’m witnessing magic!” right after their first song. I feel exactly the same.

A few days ago I picked up a Minor Alps t-shirt, and their debut album (yes, people still actually do buy CDs). 🙂

Enjoy!

 

 

The Weepies

weepiesCould this not be the most adorable band photo, ever? Yes. Considering the fact that the Weepies are husband-and-wife, it makes perfect sense.

I love how this band came about… two singer/songwriters doing the solo thing, and largely, people couldn’t care less about their solo music. They both got a hold of the other’s CD, and couldn’t stop listening to it. They jammed a few times, fell in love, had some kids… and made (and still make) some killer, KILLER albums.

So, you know how this works… I’m not gonna tell you every single detail of the Weepies. You’re going to listen to the tunes, and chances are, you’re gonna love ’em.

 

So, here they are….

 

 

 

 

 

 

—–

And for extra kicks, here’s my cover of “World Spins Madly On”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer

zolof

I think this is another one of those “I wrote about them here, but WordPress ate it” entries…. if that’s the case, then here goes again…

If I can think of one band who just doesn’t get enough love at all, it would be Philadelphia-based Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer. When I first heard them, shortly after I moved to PA in 2004, I immediately fell in love with their sound and songs. I have compared them to a mix of Blondie, Metric, Green Day, and the best of the best, of pop music. The songs just have this fire… this fun, heartfelt fire that so very few bands have.

Eight years ago, I interviewed Rach, the singer/keyboardist for a website I used to run called http://www.femalevocals.com, which I never really did anything with, because it was simply too much work. Rach was really cool, fun and funny, in the interview. I asked her serious questions about her songwriting and she would basically explain her process, goofily…. it made me laugh while reading the email. I wish I still had the interview. If I could find it again, I will, and I will post it here in an “interviews” section at Underrated Music.

Without further ado…. yummy tunes:

 

Of note: Anthony Green (now of Circa Survive) used to be in this band. He’s done vocals on their “Popsicle” EP, and Rach did vocals on a recent Circa Survive recording.

No one knows if there will be more music by the band… Rach and Vince (guitars/vocals) got married a while back. I’d love to hear some new tunes, though. Last album was 2007’s “Schematics.”

 

Rilo Kiley

rilokiley

Rilo Kiley is probably one of the single most underrated American bands.

Backstory: Jenny Lewis was on a Nickelodeon kids show way back when (early 90s or so). Blake Sennett (guitars) played Frankie, the short bully-type with the huge, big-hearted (but intimidating) best friend, on one of my all-time favorite shows, Boy Meets World (1993-2000).

I won’t bore you to death with details of their backstory, but I just found that interesting…

Let’s talk about

RILO KILEY’s lyrics:

brilliant, sarcastic, poetic, and cute-angry

 

RILO KILEY’s music:

extremely well-written, spanning new wave, alt-country, and whatever they hell else they wanted to write.

 

RILO KILEY’s name:

Best band name, ever. Apparently it came to one of the band members, in a dream.

 

LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN (all three of these songs are from their record “The Execution Of All Things”).

 

Ida

The band with the simple, short name… but vast, complex, and utterly GORGEOUS music.

This is a repost (a year and a half later).

Formed in NYC in 1992 (yes, twenty years!), Ida has constantly cranked out incredibly beautiful music with RICH harmonies and guitar layers and everything else you can possibly think of. Their music is so friggin’ gorgeous sometimes it is hard for me to listen to it, because it makes me want to give up writing songs altogether. Yeah, they’re THAT good. It’s such a shame that so many people have never heard of them….. it’s cruel and criminal, really.

Let these perfect songs speak for themselves:

Princess Chelsea

Princess Chelsea

All I have to say is… how can you NOT like the first two songs below, from their first and only album “Lil’ Golden Book” (and yes, the album artwork and booklet actually reads LIKE a “Lil Golden Book”, those awesome children’s storybooks we loved as kids in the 70s and 80s)…

Interestingly, the first songs here feel like public-service announcements… as they’re pretty obviously anti-smoking and anti-drinking. The videos are pure genius AND funny…… not to mention how good the songs are.

My heart just gets gooey when I hear 50s/60s-influenced lo-fi/reverby pop stuff with female vocals. Perfect music. Perfect band. MANY thanks to my good friend Kira H. for introducing me to this brilliance.